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Evangel University and Convoy of Hope develop Center for Compassion

Published on Apr 18, 2018 by Paul K. Logsdon

Teaming with relief organization for rigorous academic effort

SPRINGFIELD, MO — Evangel University is excited to announce a new partnership with Springfield-based world relief organization Convoy of Hope to create a Center for Compassion.  (April 18, 2018)

The center will serve to expand the learning and service opportunities available to Evangel students.

It will also develop training and for-credit learning opportunities for people involved in compassion ministries through churches and various global initiatives.

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Evangel University has a long history of partnering with Convoy of Hope on community service and disaster relief projects. // (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“There is a pressing need for graduates trained in all academic disciplines who have a heart for service,” said Dr. Carol Taylor, president of Evangel.

“In this new partnership with Convoy, the Center for Compassion will include an expanded internship program, curriculum plan, and online training programs for badges, certificates and academic programs,” she said.

The boards of Evangel University and Convoy of Hope authorized the creation of a proposal for this new, significant Convoy-Evangel partnership last fall. The program was approved at their respective board meetings in late March and early April, 2018.

The educational components of the Center for Compassion will find their home on the Evangel campus, with the pilot serving as a model for additional campuses in the future.

The new endeavor is consistent with EU’s mission in educating and equipping students to impact society globally. The agreement is also consistent with Convoy of Hope’s mission to provide help and hope to those who are impoverished, hungry and hurting.

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Evangel University students working with Convoy of Hope in Haiti. // (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

The agreement involves student exchanges between EU and Convoy of Hope projects for the purpose of education, training, community service, international development service and experience.

Additional opportunities for further collaboration will be explored over time.

Convoy of Hope, a faith-­based organization founded in 1994, has a driving passion to feed the world. With a long history as an early responder in times of natural disasters, Convoy of Hope has been a Four-Star Charity as recognized by Charity Navigator for 14 consecutive years. Since 1994, Convoy of Hope has served more than 100 million people.

Program Chair Named

Donna Washburn, Ph.D., LCSW, a third-generation “missionary kid” and long-term Evangel educator, will be transitioning to lead this new endeavor, starting this summer. She will serve as academic chair of the Center for Compassion.

Washburn, Dr. Donna ’17
Dr. Donna Washburn has been name academic chair of the newly launched Center for Compassion at Evangel University. // (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Dr. Washburn was born in Zimbabwe and spent her first seven years there and in South Africa. Her heart for service grew as she was raised in a pastor’s home in Maine and New York, before enrolling at Evangel in the social work program.

“My life and my training have been in social work and counseling,” said Dr. Washburn. “I am excited to work with the Center for Compassion.

“This program is designed to produce graduates across every academic discipline who live and emulate the compassion of Christ, who have career opportunities with organizations such as Convoy of Hope, and who are equipped to help develop service-minded communities across the U.S. and around the world.”

Washburn graduated from Evangel in 1998. She earned her master’s in social work from Missouri State University and completed her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Regent University in 2015.

She has taught upper-level social work classes at Evangel since 2000, and has served as the chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences there since 2009. Washburn also teaches graduate-level counseling courses.

Active in the community, Dr. Washburn was named one of the 2017 “Most Influential Women” by the Springfield Business Journal last October.

Donna’s husband, Bruce Washburn, is a school police officer with the Springfield Public Schools. Together they have three children.

For more information on Convoy of Hope, please visit