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Media Contact: Emily Sollie, 410-230-2802, 443-220-3269 cell, esollie@lwr.org

Concordia Invitational Tournament to benefit
Lutheran Malaria Initiative

Baltimore, January 24, 2012 — The Concordia Invitational Tournament set for Jan. 27-28 at Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill., will benefit the work of the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI).

Proceeds raised during tournament activities will support LMI programming to end malaria deaths in Africa.

The 61st annual tournament involves both men’s and women’s basketball teams from Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon; Concordia University Chicago; Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Concordia University Nebraska, Seward. The tournament is one of the longest continuously running basketball tournaments in the country, and it is a highlight of the athletic year among the participating Concordia schools, which operate under the auspices of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).

Game tickets and player shirts will feature the LMI logo. Tournament attendees also will learn about LMI during a student-led carnival on campus, half-time announcements, and opening and closing worship services.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to bring LMI to college students through this long-running basketball tournament,” said Kurt Buchholz, vice president for special initiatives at Lutheran World Relief. “Malaria is a devastating disease, but it is completely preventable and treatable. Working together, we can have a real impact.”

The weekend’s events will begin with a chapel service at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 27, featuring guest preacher the Rev. Matt Hoehner. Michael Pajonk, director of organizational partnerships with the United Nations Foundation, will speak about LMI during the chapel service. The opening worship service will be simulcast to all participating Concordia schools.

The first game of the tournament will begin at 1 p.m. Friday. The women’s championship game will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday and the men’s championship game will be held at 7:15 p.m. Saturday. A worship service with guest preacher the Rev. Tom Faszholz at 10 a.m. Sunday will conclude the tournament.

The Lutheran Malaria Initiative is a partnership of Lutheran World Relief and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to mobilize U.S. Lutherans in the global effort to eliminate malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. LMI is made possible through support from the United Nations Foundation.

So far, Lutheran donors have contributed more than $2.5 million toward a $45 million goal to fight malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that continues to devastate communities and perpetuate a cycle of poverty. According to the World Health Organization, about 700,000 people die of malaria each year, and every 60 seconds a child dies of the disease in sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information about the Concordia tournament and related events, visit www.cuchicago.edu/cit.

WHO IS LWR? Lutheran World Relief works to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and people experiencing poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, both in times of emergencies and for the long term. With the financial support of US Lutherans and other donors, LWR strengthens communities through programs in agriculture, climate, and emergency support. LWR works with partners, supporters and technical assistance providers to achieve lasting results. For more information, visit lwr.org.

Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of U.S. Lutherans, serving communities living in poverty overseas.

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