Eugene Cho

strategically fighting poverty

Please take a few minutes to read this.  We can’t save the world but we can make a difference. 

It’s in the news all around us:  the situation in Darfur; the cyclone catastrophe in Burma/Myanmar; unfathomable hunger in North Korea; the food crisis in numerous places around the world, and the list can and do go on.  Over 3 billion people live on less than $2/day; About 1 billion live on less than $1/day; Nearly 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water; About 27,000-30,000 children die daily due to poverty.  Staggering and numbing statistics.

While it’s awkward to make a public appeal and broadcast of our vision, that is the decision that we’ve made – for better or worse.  We do care what others think which is why we didn’t want to be in this situation but we also realized that in order for us to pursue what we feel called to do, we simply can’t do it alone.

As some of you already know, we are birthing a non-profit & non-religious Humanitarian organization to fight global poverty.  It has begun and we’ll be using the next several months to ramp up to our offical launch.  While we’re not ready to yet reveal the name of our organization, this is our goal:

Our hope is to create a grassroots, global, and viral movement by integrating three key elements: human relationships, compassion & justice, and technology & creativity.

Our goal for the organization and website is to create a global community for the purposes of: 1) information and education, 2) collection and distribution, and 3) collaboration and innovation. Our goal is to give away 100% of all donations to small organizations and partners around the world that are already fighting extreme poverty. While not exclusive, our vision is to focus on small ngos (<$100k budget) around the world and engage in larger grants of microfinance, and granting seed money for future ventures. Our goal is to raise $1 million by 2010, $5 million in 5 years and $25 million+ in the next 20 years. Ideally, our goal is to raise as much money as possible and redistribute 100% of those funds around the world to the fight of global poverty.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  1. We are set to receive tax-deductible donations. If you are interested in making a donation, contact me to receive the support letter. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $66,000 to help with the operation expenses. We’re asking for folks to consider giving $250, $500, $1000, $5000, and what the heck, anything helps. As you know, we’ve personally committed $100,000 to get this started. You can click here to read more.
  2. Join this FACEBOOK GROUP and help spread the word.
  3. Join us for the upcoming INTRO MEETING. Date forthcoming.
  4. If this is your vibe, please keep us in PRAYER.

UPCOMING GOALS:

  1. Finish up the last leg of paperwork.  Thanks to one of our lawyer friends, this seems to be in good hands.
  2. Set up office in the next 2-3 weeks and get the beta website up by the end of this month.  We’ll need to go through multiple versions.
  3. Organize an INTRO MEETING for anyone interested in learning more and meet up with potential advisors, volunteer and paid staff, and board of directors.
  4. To work our asses off during our sabbatical which begins in about 5 weeks [3 months].  Before we head off to Asia, Minhee and I [likely myself] will be off to Haiti to make some connections and learn first hand about the global food crisis.

Our vision cannot eradicate poverty.  But our simple hope is to be moved and move others into action because while we can’t save the world, we can help one child, one family, one village…  We can make a difference.

And yes, as I shared before, we are simply joining in what is already going on around the world.  We are not the first and thankfully, we will not be the last.  Nevertheless, our hope and prayer is that our Foundation and NPO can provide a unique opportunity for many around the world to engage this fight.

Relevant Links:

Filed under: health, religion, , , ,

18 Responses

  1. Grace says:

    Go Eugene. Go Minhee. Go! Received the letter and honored to support this endeavor.

  2. dreamxchaser says:

    i wanna help too. this is a great cause. i had never really understood what was going on around the world, when i was living in the states. Now that i’ve seen more of the world, i see things need done.
    good luck.

  3. subra1221 says:

    Like Nike says “Just Do It”..Here is my prayer for a great start and a successful launch. You might like to visit some sites like http://www.akshayapatra.org which is an organization
    in the process of filling up stomachs for scholars in primary class. It is the single largest non government poor feeding done for 8.5 million (yes 8.5 million) kids EVERYDAY.

    May all the prayers of all the children join you in your efforts.

  4. emjay says:

    This is a magnificent vision, and I hope it is fulfilled beyond your wildest dreams for it.

    But there’s one fairly obvious question to ask here: namely, why isn’t anything explicit about the Gospel of Jesus and his Kingdom among the “key elements” of this plan? Why is it a good thing that this is a “non-religious” project? This seems like an odd selling point from the perspective of an ECC pastor.

  5. Brad says:

    Greetings from St. Louis! PLEASE let me know when this website kicks off, I’d love to help spread the news over the web-waves. And thanks for helping answer the question of “Who is your neighbor?” I’m flat broke myself, but would be happy to help in ways non-financial. Godspeed!

    (P.S. My favorite line: “To work our asses off during our sabbatical…” Ironic and incredibly biblical at the same time… love it)

  6. […] I really really feel for people in other countries who can’t afford to feed themselves, who have been devastated by Natural Disasters, military action or famine, we need to […]

  7. kay says:

    i can’t speak for PE, but i will say this in response to emjay’s question about not being a religious organization. the corporation i work for likes for its employees to participate in community building, non-profit work, etc… but will only participate in employer matching type programs for non-religious organizations. there are a lot of companies that have similar requirements/restrictions.

    anyway, i certainly don’t really have any answers, but it kinda reminds me of this passage in the old testament (hehehe, time to do some studying) somewhere that the people of Israel were all coming to their one leader for help to settle their disputes. his father in law who was not of the people of Israel advised him very wisely to delegate the responsibilities to other wise elders amongst the people. and in this way, the people were cared for.

    i guess i just don’t think things have to have the word Christian stamped on it to be doing God’s work. just my opinion, though…:)

    PE, i’m REALLY excited to read about this…. looking forward to hearing more as more details get ironed out.

  8. eugenecho says:

    @emjay: this is what i wrote in an earlier entry…

    “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 per se. 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.”

  9. Danny says:

    Eugene, This is very encouraging and inspiring. I look forward to helping spread the word and sent you an email asking for more info.

  10. Teresa says:

    I love your comments that “it’s a humanity” issue….and about “demonstrating the gospel.” Really look forward to hearing more and seeing how to support what you and Minhee are doing….love that it’s doing, not just talking about doing! Good news to the poor….sounds like something Jesus was into?

  11. […] Cho continues to blog about the upcoming launch of their organization to fight global poverty – Strategically. While I think it’s a great undertaking and very needed, I also enjoy reading about how […]

  12. […] I admire people like Eugene and Minhee Cho who are doing more than just writing a check. They’re dedicating their lives to tackle global poverty. […]

  13. […] sabbatical this summer to put our ideas into motion and we are scared and excited about starting a grassroots organization to help fight global poverty.  Again, we share this not to be boastful or righteous but to encourage folks to think, talk, […]

  14. Jon Miller says:

    I love your vision, being the hands and feet of the body of Christ……hearing the cry of the oppressed. We are blessed beyond measure and it’s time to bless others. I will put the word out and do what ever I can to help. peace be with you!

  15. […] I just assumed that with my vision and passion, a few letters, some of our connections, write a few local papers, send out a few emails and BAM – instant momentum and birth to a world class global grassroots organization that fights global poverty. […]

  16. […] to affect family life. Recently Eugene and his wife Minhee, began a non-profit/non-religious grassroots humanitarian organization with the vision of joining others to fight extreme global […]

  17. […] I admire people like Eugene and Minhee Cho who are doing more than just writing a check. They’re dedicating their lives to tackle global poverty. […]

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One Day’s Wages

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People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother.

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