Eugene Cho

Invest in women and girls around the world as an affirmation of dignity that has already been given to them by God.

This is one of the reasons why my wife, kids, and I started One Day’s Wages. It’s because we believe in local heroes like Diana Keesiga who was  born in Western Uganda and at a very young age decided she wanted to be an engineer. She defies the dangerous stereotypes that we have about Africans being absolutely lost and helpless without Western saviors or only looking for handouts. Diana has a love and understanding of her Ugandan people and culture that we will never fully grasp – which is why its best for us to come alongside people like Diana but we should never take their place.

In doing the work of justice, one of the most fundamental questions we must ask is this:

“Who are we trying to elevate? The people we serve or ourselves?

I dare you to watch this short video (above) about Diana and the water partnership between One Day’s Wages and The Adventure Project - that is currently being featured on Upworthy. There are many but here are four reasons why I love this partnership:

1 in 3 water wells are broken in Africa

While there are few things in development as spectacular as seeing water gush out of the ground after a well is drilled, what happens in year 2, 5, and 10 is far more important and difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

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A story of courage and generosity: Youth Pastor donates half of his salary to fight human trafficking.

* UPDATE: Amazing. Not only because Joon donated half of his youth pastor salary ($10,000) but in his attempt to get that matched through family, friends, and strangers…a total anonymous stranger (after reading his story) made a donation of $8,085 to help him reach $20,000 for the Human Trafficking Fund.

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You have to read this email I recently received. Crazy, radical, and an amazing story of courage and generosity.

First, let me set the table:

We all love our stuff. All of us. We all consume. We all get sucked into the lifestyle of  upward mobility. This is most apparent during the festivities that surround Black Friday, Cyberspace Monday, and Christmas shopping.

This isn’t a guilt trip but to simply state that which is obvious. What I do want to state is the importance of us also growing a culture of generosity in our lives. Generosity isn’t just for others…but also for us:

Generosity isn’t just merely for the sake of blessing OTHERS. Even more so, it’s to rescue US from the abyss of our greed.

Generosity is what keeps the things I own from owning me.

Let me share a crazy story of generosity and a reminder – once more – that you don’t have to be a rock star, a billionaire, or a celebrity to make an impact.

Recently, I received an email from a youth pastor named Joon Park  from Florida. I’ve never met him, don’t know him, and never heard of him. In his blog, he describes himself as:

I am a former atheist/agnostic, fifth degree black belt, recovered porn addict, and currently a youth pastor at New Light Church in Tampa, FL. Like every other dude with a laptop, I blog regularly. I can eat five lbs. of steak in one sitting. I have a German shepherd named Rosco. Read the rest of this entry »

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We can’t do everything but we have to do something. Why I’m in the Horn of Africa.

Dear Friends, Supporters, Readers, and Encouragers:

I hope you’re doing well.

I’m writing to you from Kenya. Yes, you read that correctly. Kenya as in Kenya, Africa.

I just recently arrived and depending on circumstances, may also visit Somalia and South Sudan. Over the next week or so, I’m privileged to be a guest of World Concern (one of our main partners). We’re also joined by a representative from  ONE. Together, we’ll have the opportunity to personally assess the progress and the arduous work ahead. Just this week, I read reports that the current situation in Somalia - while it improved last year – may be entering into another dire situation.

The Context

In 2011, the Horn of Africa experienced the worst drought in its region in 60 years. This drought in combination with rising food prices, extreme insecurity, and violence led to famine conditions that affected over 13 million people in the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is the “horn” shaped portion of northeastern Africa that includes the countries of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

In fact, the UN declared famine in six regions in Somalia. Tragically, hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes in search of food, water, and safety. Many of them walked for weeks, trying to reach refugee camps in Kenya. And sadly, many died along the way, including more than 30,000 children.

When tragedy strikes – whether it be in Aurora, Colorado or through a famine or drought in the Horn of Africa (and another current one in the Sahel region of Africa)…we are reminded of our finitude.  Read the rest of this entry »

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thanks for believing in us…

These have have been tough but such meaningful years.

Minhee and I have been married nearly 15 years, have three incredible children, recently celebrated the 10 year anniversary of our church, pursued a dream to start a non-profit cafe and music venue, and recently celebrated Minhee’s graduation from grad school.

Today is also a very special day as we’re marking the 2nd anniversary of One Day’s Wages at our Annual Gala. It took us nearly 3 years to start ODW as that’s how long it took to save up the equivalent of our year’s wages. Numerous times, I kicked myself for going “public” with the vision here on my blog.

But here we are…

Since it’s launch, we’ve built a great following on Twitter and over 640,000 people on our Facebook Page. We’ve established some great partnerships with artists, musicians, small businesses, organizations, and with individuals. More specifically, we’ve had 7438 donors who have partnered with us to raise Read the rest of this entry »

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a birthday request

Hey friends:

This week (October 20), I’ll be turning…41-years-old. As I reflect on the 41 years of my life thus far, I am mindful of how blessed I am. So very blessed.

As I ‘celebrate’ my birthday this week, I know that all of you have been staying up for restless nights wondering what gift to get me. Sleepless nights. ;)

But let me make it easy.

In lieu of any gifts, drinks, cars, flowers, coffee beans, socks, ties, iPhone 4s, or whatever, I’d like to humbly invite you to consider giving to my ODW birthday campaign cause. Your donation – whatever amount – will help ODW continue to grow its movement.

Because one of my life philosophies is to never ask people to do something I’m not willing to do, my wife and I are donating $4,100 towards this campaign. There’s a lot of toys and stuff Read the rest of this entry »

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dear world: please wake up!

Numerous sources have stated that over 12 13 million people are being impacted by the worst drought & famine in the region of the Horn of Africa in 60 years. Most tragically the number of people on the very brink of death has soared to 750,000 (read ODW’s latest update & Nick Kristof’s update in the NY Times).

While it’s clear that the situation is complex (isn’t it always?) with political overtones and the Muslim militia called Shababs unwilling to let aid enter into regions of Somalia where people are dying, we are left with an epic humanitarian crisis impacting 13 million people.

12 13 million people.

How do you wrap your head around such a number?

13,000,000

You begin with one.

The World Food Programme, for example, has shared that they can provide a nutritious meal for one person for .17…

as in seventeen cents.

These statistics are overwhelming but while we may not be able to remedy, fix, or respond to the entire situation, we must respond. I’m often reminded of Mother Teresa’s wisdom and quote:

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.”

Over the years, I’ve grown very uncomfortable (and at times, angry) at what I consider to be borderline exploitation of images (and people) used by non-profit organizations to Read the rest of this entry »

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it’s not just a unicorn. it’s a movement.

Any unicorn lovers amongst my blog readers?

Several weeks ago, we launched our holiday campaign called One Less Gift. It’s a simple invitation – that in lieu of some of the random (or mindful) gifts we give to our friends and family- to instead, make a donation in their name and send them one of our comical e-cards and make a donation in their name.

One of the e-cards pokes fun at the unicorn.

I had no idea how popular the unicorns were in our larger pop culture. Advocates, unicorn lovers, groupies, and believers of the unicorn came out of nowhere to defend the magic of the unicorn.

Want evidence? Read the rest of this entry »

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are you coming?

We’ll soon be celebrating the one year anniversary of One Day’s Wages.

If you’re anywhere remotely around Seattle, please join me at the Inaugural One Day’s Wages Gala on Friday, November 5 at the 415Westlake venue (7-10pm).

We have an amazing evening of festitivities: Read the rest of this entry »

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new york times: do-it-yourself foreign aid

Got some really cool news to share with you. Literally…cool and inspiring news.

I had the most surreal phone call while I was fishing in Nebraska during my vacation. A guy named Nicholas Kristof called. For those that don’t know, Kristof is one of my favorite writers and he’s also a two time Pulitzer winning columnist for the New York Times. He and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, are also the authors of a phenomenal book called Half the Sky. Somehow he had heard about our story and of One Day’s Wages and wanted to chat – without any promises – of a possible inclusion in a special feature he was writing for the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

That article, The D.I.Y. Foreign Aid Revolution, was published in today’s New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Every time someone mentions or writes about our story, I feel the importance of trying to share how ODW was so much of a community thing. We are not an island to ourselves. So many have inspired, encouraged, and prayed for us.

And so, I again want to extend to my blog readers, friends, and larger community – sincere thanks for your prayers, support and encouragement.

Thank you.

Your prayers, belief, and generosity in helping “seed” the vision has allowed ODW to move forward. Amazingly, we were able to raise $71,797 (mostly through this blog) to help launch ODW. And as I’ve shared before, Minhee and I are Read the rest of this entry »

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can you help me celebrate my birthday?

Dear friends and blog readers,

If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, I’d like to ask you to consider contributing to my birthday campaign. As I turn 40 years old this Wednesday, I’m trying to raise $40,000 to empower those living in extreme poverty.

Even donating $10 would be very helpful.

One of my philosophies is to never ask people to do something that I’m not willing to do. For that reason, I’ll be donating my one month wages for my birthday ($5,666.67).  There’s a lot of toys and stuff I’d like to have and I can buy all of them with that money but I don’t really need them.

Generosity is what keeps the things I own from owning me.

You can give via my birthday campaign page. Thanks for considering this.

With deep gratitude,

eugene

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let’s not forget pakistan…

I’m really having a restful vacation with my family right now but felt this was too important and took a few hours today to help the ODW team in Seattle launch the Pakistan Flood Relief Fund.

Like many others, I’ve completely underestimated the severity of the flooding situation:

On July 21st, Pakistan began experiencing extreme flooding due to heavy rains and monsoons, causing rivers to breach capacity and entire villages to become submerged. Now, it’s estimated that nearly 1/5 of the entire country is underwater.

This natural disaster is affecting nearly 20 million people – more than the Haiti Earthquake AND 2004 Asia Tsunami combined…

Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General, after his visit shared these words:

“This has been a heart-wrenching day for me…I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today. In the past, I have witnessed many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this.”

The ODW team spent this entire week researching, analyzing, emailing, and vetting and we’ve chosen to partner with World Vision and KASHF (Pakistan based). We’ve set an initial goal of trying to raise $20,000 to aid in the relief efforts and we’re personally donating $5,000 in that effort.

It’s not much but my family and I also donated $65 to the campaign which is the amount of a relief package that includes food, water, medicine, etc. $65 will sustain a Pakistani family for an entire month…

Three ways you can help:

  1. Give.
  2. Spread the word. Can you share the Relief Fund on your FB or Twitter?
  3. Get your church involved.

[Pastors/Church leaders: Will you consider partnering with us this Sunday or an upcoming Sunday by donating 5% or 10% of your offering to ODW's Pakistan Relief Fund?]

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introducing my first album!

I wish I was good enough to be a musician – or a good musician but I have to be content with my shower singing and my G – C – D guitar progression.

But having said that, I have some very exciting news to share with everyone:

We’re releasing our first album today!

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epic album covers

I dig music. And wished I had more time to enjoy it. Regardless, I’m very excited about the first ODW compilation album we’re releasing later this month (and then a LIVE CD album for Q Cafe early next year).

I’m very encouraged by how the ODW compilation came together and how artists are beginning to partner with ODW as part of our artists for a cause.”  One example is Rocky Votolato who is donating 10% of the royalties of his new album, True Devotion, to the movement of ODW. Check out this video and song he created for us: Read the rest of this entry »

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we’re blessed. so let’s bless others.


If you have a birthday coming up at some point in the next 12 month and I really hope that you do, I’d like to share with you about a new ODW initiative called “Causes” which enables anyone to start their own personal cause campaign.

How?

Simply by donating your birthday, working one day for others, creating a group campaign, or even your creative ideas for a cause. [Learn more]

It takes 3 minutes to create your own page and if you don’t believe, this a 6-year-old girl donated her birthday campaign and shattered her personal goal.

Our pledge: 100% of all donations (minus credit card costs), you choose where to invest your campaign, and we’ll prove how these funds will be used.

As we’re blessed in so many ways, these are opportunities to bless others and make a dramatic and global impact.

Will you join us?

Also, we recently celebrated our 6 months anniversary at ODW.  Here are some highlights: Read the rest of this entry »

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my TEDx talk (video) – social technology, being over-rated, another F-word, and our story

Been having some brain and creativity freeze as of late and thus, having a hard time finding the motivation to blog regularly. So, for now, here’s my talk I’m entitling, Social Technology, Being Over-Rated, An Alternative F-Bomb, and the Story of One Day’s Wages, from the TEDx Seattle event couple weeks ago.

Some other stuff: Read the rest of this entry »

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and thus, it will change the world

I wanted to take a moment to thank my blog community for your support, prayers, and encouragement. You’ve journeyed with me for the past couple years. This blog helped raise over $70,000 to help launch One Day’s Wages.

Today, we reached a first. The first of what I believe, hope, and pray will be thousands. Through the ODW movement, we fully funded our 1st project to build a border outpost between Nepal and India (via our partnership with the Not For Sale Campaign). It won’t change the entire world but these outposts will dramatically impact and rescue hundreds of Nepalese girls from sex slavery…

And thus…

it will change the world.

and the best thing about helping change the world is that Read the rest of this entry »

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only haitians can rebuild haiti

First of all, I have several pictures below I’d love to share with you from my recent trip to Haiti. It’s surreal to me that a week ago, I was in Haiti – hosted by the good folks at World Concern. The primary reason was to assess the work that they’ve done and grasp a glimpse of the strategy ahead – for them and other organizations. Consider partnering with us via our Haiti Relief and Rebuild Fund.

There really is much to share but I just don’t have the bandwidth so I’ll just share couple brief reflections: Read the rest of this entry »

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stories of haiti: collective grief and hope

I was intending to blog more during my time here in Haiti but to be honest, I’m having information and emotional overload. I’m just taking everything in as I listen to people, drive around, meet relief workers, spending the nights on the roof and soaking in the sounds of the neighborhood, and hear the numerous stories of the Haitians we’re meeting.

There are so many stories from Haiti – a collective grief and hope.

Here’s one story from a gentleman named James who is working as a translator for World Concern. I’ve really enjoyed meeting him and hearing a glimpse of his story.

James is fortunate to be alive. On the day of the earthquake, he was Read the rest of this entry »

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stuff, connect, info

one day’s wages | video

My Instagram

Don't rush too soon to the empty tomb. Reflect on the cross. Thank you, Jesus, for your life & love. Thank you, Jesus, for you have redeemed this day of injustice and violence to be "good." You are truly the Light of the world. #GoodFriday Layover. San Francisco. Having grown up here, my heart still flutters. No other city like it. A quick, busy, & meaningful 26 hrs in Wash DC but managed to go for an hour walk for this view. One of the greatest monuments in the world. A true American hero. #AbrahamLincoln I may stand on different sides on several issues with this man but I'm committed to praying for my President.

Honored to be joining Christian pastors and leaders today for the White House Prayer Breakfast. The great wheel of Seattle. Cloudy on top. Sunny on the bottom. Such is life sometimes.

my tweets

  • Seattle: You're invited to Quest Church for Easter Sunday. Come hear the Good News + Gospel Choir + Communion Feast. http://t.co/fo3vpo4RD5 || 1 hour ago
  • Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? 1 Cor. 15:55 || 8 hours ago
  • "It is finished." - Jesus http://t.co/s4hHROxhf0 || 20 hours ago
  • Jesus, thank you for you have redeemed this day of death, darkness, injustice, & violence as "good". You are truly the Light of the world. || 21 hours ago
  • Don't rush too soon to the empty tomb. Reflect on the cross. Thank you, Jesus, for your life & love.… instagram.com/p/m8_UMXyWcy/ || 23 hours ago
  • In his last days, Jesus washed dirty feet, ate with misfits (incl. a man who He knew would betray him), & forgave his enemies. #AmazingGrace || 1 day ago
  • RT @seattlequest: Join us tonight for Good Friday at 6pm & 8pm. Easter Sunday celebrations at 7am, 9am,11am. - seattlequest.org http:… || 1 day ago
  • There is no Resurrection without the Crucifixion. Before we move swiftly to the celebration of the risen Christ, may we sit at the cross... || 1 day ago

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