It’s so easy to fall in love with the vision of something than to do the hard work to move towards bringing life and fruition to that vision. This has been the case for Minhee and I with the humanitarian organization for several years. While we know we’ll face some scrutiny, questions, and criticism, we are ready to move forward – even if we know we’ll make some mistakes along the way.
However, I’d love [and need] to hear some feedback from you about some elements that we hope will shape the humanitarian organization. If you’re new to the blog, you may want to read Loudly Fighting Poverty and A Vision of Compassion & Redistribution.
OVERVIEW: Our vision is to start a global organization to fight global poverty and are planning to launch the beta website in the coming months. We hope to do three main things: 1] raise awareness of human suffering and global poverty; 2] invite people to donate and create a global community via the website, and 3] redistribute those funds. As I’ve shared before, our goal is to raise $2 million by 2010, $10 million within 5 years, and $50 million over the next 20+ years. We’ll share in eventual weeks how we hope to raise those funds by [attempting] creating a grassroots viral movement.
But for now, give me some feedback on these random thoughts/ideas:
1. This organization is a non-profit and non-religious organization. Couple pastors I’ve spoken to have pushed back and shared honestly [which I appreciate] that they couldn’t support our endeavor because it is not a Christian organization. Minhee and I love Christ. I am a pastor. But this will not be a Christian organization. While we know we’ll partner and support many Christian organizations, the fight against global poverty is not just a Christian issue – it is a humanity issue. We care about preaching the gospel but we care equally if not more about demonstrating the gospel. We don’t care who you are. If you care about human suffering and are involved in the fight against global poverty, we want to collaborate with you.
2. There is nothing new with our organization. We don’t want to be righteous. We are newbies and need to learn. We are neophytes but our hearts ache for what we know is taking place in our world. We want and need to do something and want to invite and inspire others. We can’t afford to do nothing. And we know that we are simply joining what is already going on around the world. When people ask, “Why do you need to start another organization?”, our response is:
There needs to be thousands more…because the problem of global poverty is so dramatic and vast.
As we raise funds, we will distribute [via an application/discernment process] to groups and organizations around the world. While there will always be a need for more people and organizations to be engaged in fighting poverty, there are amazing people and groups that are already doing great and substantive work – but no one knows about them. It is inspiring.
Our hope and conviction is to focus mainly [not exclusively] on organizations with budgets under $100,000 with the reality that many will have budgets far lower. Why? They are small. They are survivors. They are underdogs. Not many people know about them. They know how to stretch $1.00 to $1.75 because they have had to learn to be resourceful. Amongst several things, we hope to partner with orgs that are raising up and empowering indigenous leaders who better understand the context of their culture to foster change. In addition we hope to use some of our funds to collaborate with others to engage in larger scale microloans seeking to impact larger groups.
3. While huge organizations such as World Vision, Mercy Corps, Catholic Relief Services and others are doing wonderful work, our hope is to create a different model – not necessarily a better model. We will establish two funds in our organization. The MAIN fund will give away 100% of every donation to the cause of fighting global poverty. We will give our year’s salary [$66k] to this fund to help jumpstart the collaboration. We are scouting and reviewing organizations to support – right now. It is through this Fund that we hope to eventually raise $50 million dollars [while simultaneously giving it away] to fight global poverty.
The second FUND is called the OPERATION Fund. We will raise funds separately via fundraisers and donations so that we have modest funds to cover our operations to run the organization. While numerous have already offered to volunteer their time, we hope to hire two employees in the next several months to assume certain vital roles to carry out our implementation plan. Minhee and I will volunteer our time as members of the Advisory Board/Board of Directors and I will lead the organization as the Exec. Director. We will give an additional $34K to help jumpstart this Fund and will be sending out letters in the coming weeks in hopes of raising an additional [minimum] $66K and totaling at least $100K – which we believe will sustain us for at least 1.5-2 years to build the this movement. Our goal is to create this organization with minimal expenses from the OPERATION Fund. Most major organizations are fortunate to give away 60 cents/dollar after covering overhead costs. In fact, I’d be shocked if these organizations are able to give that much away.
4. There are numerous ways to fight global poverty. One thing is clear: there are no easy solutions. However, most will agree that it is, nevertheless, within our human capacity to eradicate extreme poverty if governments, leaders, non-government organizations, religious organizations, and individuals worked together on the major issues that impact global poverty: food and nutrition, water, diseases & medicine, maternal and child health, housing, education, slavery and orphans, and education.
Governments must do their part in four major areas: debt cancellation, fair trade, decrease corruption, and increase aid to respective countries and regions around the world. Equally as important in my opinion, is the role of the individual. You and I should not be given a free pass.
5. We hope to create an Advisory Board [larger group] comprised of people with layers of expertise relevant to our organization that can assist us in our Implementation Plan and a Board of Directors to help shape vision, infrastructure, and accountability. The BOD [smaller group] are people that care passionately about justice, compassion, and global poverty.
There’s more I can share but for now, I’ll stop because it’s late. What do you think? Give me your thoughts, questions, and additional ideas. Next week, I will share how people can help and pray in these early stages.