Robert and Marion Bell Endowment

Africa University Scholarship Fund


Department of Business Sciences

College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance

Goal – $130,000


Congratulations! You raised $137,000!

What is the Robert and Marion Bell Endowment?

The Robert and Marion Bell Endowment will honor Bob’s commitment to Christ, The United Methodist Church, and Africa University (AU). Bob first answered God’s call to Africa in the 1960s, a call that he continued to answer through AU until his death on November 03, 2021.

Bob and Marion believed in the mission of AU; how lives were changed not only through knowledge and skills, but through spiritual growth and the development of sound morals and ethics. They loved the people of AU, and that love was evident in the giving of their time, talents, and money to further the mission of AU.

They made multiple trips to assist and teach at AU, including trips in 2014 and 2016 which Desert Spring United Methodist Church (DSUMC) supported financially. Marion taught Transformational Leadership, which is a key component of AU’s mission. Bob, being Bob, created his own projects while further developing ties with staff and students. This included a project to purchase the pastor a new truck, which he shared with his DSUMC family and in which the congregation participated.

At the time of his death, Bob was working on funding an endowment at AU.

Why Endow a Scholarship at Africa University?

Scholarships ensure access to higher education for students with limited personal and family resources. That is especially crucial in sub-Saharan, where nearly half of the population lives in extreme poverty, with incomes of less than $2 per day.

Almost 60 percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 25, making Africa the world’s youngest continent. Many of these young women and men have big dreams. They are highly motivated and socially engaged. Often, all they lack is the ability to pay for a college education.

Endowed scholarships are a sustainable response to this reality. Endowed scholarships are gifts that keep on giving—offering access to knowledge, skills, and leadership formation year after year as well as a legacy of profound impact, well beyond their lifetimes, for those who choose to invest in this way.

What is Africa University?

Africa University is a Pan-African higher education ministry of The United Methodist Church. The university opened in 1992 with 40 students from six African countries. AU’s main campus is located near Mutare, in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe, southern Africa.

Known as “The School of Dreams in the Valley of Hope”, Africa University (AU) attracts many first-generation college applicants. These prospective students’ circumstances and stories vary—some are orphaned, displaced by catastrophic weather events and conflict, or have parents in occupations that don’t pay well enough to fund a college education. An endowed scholarship award from Africa University begins the journey of turning dreams into reality for students coming from modest circumstances.

Scholarships are a high priority for AU. The institution’s primary consideration in making an award is need, followed by academic excellence, and demonstrated leadership potential. More than two-thirds of the students at Africa University require financial aid to complete their college education. An endowment of $130,000 is sufficient to provide a significant scholarship to one student attending AU each year.

AU currently enrolls around 3,000 students each year from as many as 30 of Africa’s 55 nations. Degree programs as well as short courses are offered in three colleges: Health, Agriculture & Natural Sciences; Business, Peace, Leadership & Governance; and Social Sciences, Humanities, Theology and Education. More than 90 percent of Africa University’s 10,000+ alumni have remained on the continent of Africa. Graduates are in leadership roles in more than 32 African countries.

To learn more about Africa University, visit: and

Why Desert Spring United Methodist Church?

We want to honor Bob and Marion and continue their work at AU by funding the endowment.

Bob got things done and so do we. God has called DSUMC in many ways and we have answered. We answer in ways that enable us to live into our purpose statement:
We welcome all people to discovery and live a life of purpose through Jesus Christ, as together we make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Desert Spring helps people discover and live a life of purpose through Jesus Christ. This endowment will help us fulfill our purpose by funding scholarships so that students can grow their lives through learning and through serving God. To find purpose where there was no hope.

Desert Spring looks to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. This we will do by providing the opportunity to attend AU to those who would otherwise not be able to do so. And through the students who we support, we will also make a meaningful difference in the lives of all those who are touched by the students we support.

Through the Robert and Marion Bell Endowment, we will make a meaningful difference in the lives of others for decades to come.

To learn more about Desert Spring Church, visit the Home page of our website and

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do we send our gift to the Robert and Marion Bell ESF?

To make a gift, make checks payable to Desert Spring Church and annotate “Africa University” in the memo line. Checks can be placed in the offering plate during worship services or mailed to the church office: Desert Spring United Methodist Church, 120 N. Pavilion Center Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89144.

To give online, visit: and select the “Robert and Marion Bell Endowment” to complete your contribution.

Is there a timeline for giving to the effort?

Gifts are gratefully accepted at any time.

Does the money remain at Desert Spring?

All funds raised will be sent to Africa University Development Office, located in Nashville, TN. The endowment will be invested in the United States, and a portion of the interest income on the funds will be given annually as student scholarships to Africa University.

Student Testimonials

In Appreciation – Chiedza Tseriwa, 2019 Graduate, Bsc. (Economics)

I am an economics major pursuing a career in international development.

I enrolled at AU, full of hope and with unlimited ideas on what my future would be. Then, the unfortunate happened. I lost my father. My future started to crumble before my eyes, and while on the verge of dropping out, I applied for financial assistance.

By awarding me a scholarship, AU lightened my financial burden and allowed me to focus on learning. This experience of your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community.

I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me. Thank you.