Kevin and Karen Goodwin have been untiring, enthusiastic drum majors for Africa University since 1997 when they first learned through their local church about the denomination's establishment of the "new United Methodist-related, pan-African university." Upon learning more, their first successful fund-raising effort on behalf of the new university resulted in their annual conference, the Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference, endowing a scholarship at Africa University. Kevin reports annually to the Annual Conference on the continuing development of Africa University and encourages the local churches to celebrate "AU Sunday" in the Annual Conference in support of the endowed scholarship fund.
The Goodwins' second major campaign on behalf of the university was a serendipitous event. Kevin has a number of AU tee shirts which he often wears to public events because they are conversation starters. He was wearing one of his AU tee shirts at a church event held in Rehoboth Beach (DE)in 2003 when he encountered a Virginia estate attorney attending the same event. Unbeknownst to Kevin, the attorney represented the estate of a woman who had a love for Africa and African wildlife and had directed the attorney through her trust to make grants to African schools, colleges, and universities. As a result of Kevin's conversation with the attorney and follow-up by the AU development office, Africa University received a substantial gift from the woman's estate to endow scholarships in the Department of Agriculture for students studying wildlife management.
As a delegate to the 2004 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference, Kevin challenged the leadership of every annual conference to endow a scholarship at Africa University. Kevin's campaign resulted in all of the annual conferences except one endowing scholarships.
The Goodwins have been successful in their cultivation of new friends for Africa University not only because of their infectious enthusiasm, but also because they are faithful and generous supporters. Among their many efforts undertaken on behalf of Africa University, they give annually to the endowment; they have included the university in their estate plans; they have endowed a scholarship in memory of Karen's father; and they recently endowed a scholarship in honor of Kevin's parents.
Kevin and Karen grew up in The United Methodist Church. Kevin was born in New York and reared in South Jersey. He earned his BS degree in Finance from Virginia Tech in 1977 and his MBA from the University of Georgia in 1979. Karen was born and reared in Rahway, NJ. She earned both her BA (1974) and MA (1981) degrees in Speech and Hearing from Kean University (NJ). Kevin and Karen were married in 1988 and now reside in Delaware.
For Kevin and Karen, education is the passport to the future, and Africa University is crucial as it educates and trains new leaders for the nations of Africa. "Establishing Africa University is one of the best things the denomination has done in the past 31 years," Karen said.
Elaine Jenkins, director of planned giving, Africa University Development Office
A World Service Special Gift is a designated financial contribution made by an individual, local church, organization, district or annual conference to a project authorized as such by the Connectional Table. Current World Service Special Gifts projects include the Africa University Endowment Fund, the Leonard Perryman Communications Scholarship for Ethnic Minority Students, the Methodist Global Education Fund, the National Anti-Gambling Project and the Lay Missionary Planting Network.