By Vicki Biggs and Melanie Ave
Thanks to generous donors, the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) has met a $125,000 challenge grant offered by Angel Tear Ministries, a program of Cabot, Pa.-based Concordia Lutheran Ministries.
The matching grant applies to gifts raised for LMI beginning May 9. The total of $250,000 will be used for the initiative’s work in Africa, where nearly 700,000 people — mostly women and children — die annually from malaria.
“This challenge match has provided LMI and our LCMS churches and schools with an opportunity to help us finish strong in the fundraising we’re doing for LMI by doubling the amount of money raised, dollar for dollar,” said Dionne Lovstad-Jones, manager of LMI development outreach for the LCMS.
“Angel Tear Ministries challenged us to raise $125,000 and matched each dollar raised, to an amount of $125,000 — that’s $250,000 in total for programs in Africa that will help families learn how to avoid contracting malaria and get medical treatment when the disease strikes!”
Since early May, LCMS congregations and schools have raised $249,268.10 — almost double the challenge amount — for the LMI effort.
LMI is a partnership of Lutheran World Relief and the LCMS to mobilize U.S. Lutherans in the global fight to eliminate malaria deaths in Africa. Originally made possible by support from the United Nations Foundation, LMI seeks to raise $10 million for malaria prevention, education and treatment. The campaign has raised $7.6 million to date.
“Praise God for the faithful gifts of our members and school children from all over the United States who want to save lives from malaria in Africa,” Lovstad-Jones said.
Established in 2007 by Concordia Lutheran Ministries (CLM), Angel Tear Ministries is a fund dedicated to supporting people in need around the globe.
“Concordia Lutheran Ministries has been abundantly blessed and leadership felt compelled to remember our heritage and afford an opportunity to help orphans and those less fortunate,” said Keith Frndak, its president and CEO. “The Lutheran Malaria Initiative was a perfect match to our criteria. It captures the ‘sweet spot’ of our mission.”
CLM has previously worked with the LCMS in world-relief efforts in Asia, Africa and Latin America, including helping to provide for children in home-based or rescue care centers who have been orphaned as a result of the AIDS epidemic and to fund medical mobile clinics, seminary preparation and disaster response training.
For more information about the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, visit lutheranmalaria.org or lcms.org/lmi.
Vicki Biggs is director of Public Relations and Melanie Ave is senior writer and social media coordinator — both for LCMS Communications.