fighting global poverty f.a.q.

As most of my blog readers know, my wife and I [and our three children] are starting an organization for the purpose of joining the fight against global poverty.  We are not the first, and thankfully, we will not be the last.  People – acquaintances, strangers, blog readers and stalkers, Twitters, Facebookers, internet surfers, and our church folks have asked us questions and so this entry is our attempt to answer those questions – in hopes that it may intrigue and inspire you and also to excuse myself from answering countless personal emails.

Recent Updates: Dec. ’08 / March ’09

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions:

1. “Who the heck are you?”

My name is Eugene Cho. I’m 38. My wife’s name is Minhee and she’s 39. We’ve been married for over 12 years, have three children, and live in Seattle, Washington. After 10 years of being a stay-at-home mother, Minhee will be returning to grad school this fall to study Marriage and Family Therapy. I lead a Christian church called Quest Church, started an innovative non-profit café and music venue called Q Cafe. More of my personal story can be found here. For security reasons, we currently do not list the names and pics of our children.

2. “Why are you doing this?”

We’ve gone through some mid-life “reflection.” We’ve been convicted for some time about numerous local and global issues of justice and compassion. For example, 3 billion people live on less than $2/day; approximately 27K children die daily due to issues of poverty; 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water, and the disturbing but real numbers involving people go on and on. We felt the need to do something. We know we can’t fix the world but we can do our part to help a child, a family, village, a town, a city, etc.

Global poverty is a complex and brutal reality, but one thing is clear: no easy solutions exist. Many agree that it is within our capacity to eradicate extreme poverty if governments, leaders, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and individuals work together on the major barriers as cited by organizations like UNICEF: (1) food, (2) water, (3) sanitation, (4) health care, (5) shelter, (6) education, (7) information, and (8) access to services. Governments must do their part in four major areas: debt cancellation, fair trade, decreasing corruption, and increasing aid to affected countries.

Equally important is the role of individuals. We need to be burdened by the realities of a world where so many are suffering and dying. We don’t get a free pass. We need to examine our lifestyles, choices, priorities, and sense of compassion—and act. It’s too easy and convenient to be in love with the idea of compassion and justice but not to act.

3. What is the name of the organization?

Our official name is One Day’s Wages. We were incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of Washington and are now officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization by the United States IRS.

4. What is the hope of the organization?  How will you do this?

Our initiative’s purpose is to promote greater awareness about global extreme poverty, invite simple financial giving, and to strategically provide sustainable relief. Our vision seeks to change global issues of injustice effecting millions of people regardless of race, culture, sex, age, or religion.

Our strategy is simple: through the creation of a viral global movement and community, we invite each person to give  for the fight against global poverty.

Human Relationships + Technology + [Vision] = Movement

Our goal is to invest 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 [Non-Governmental Organizations] and CBOs [Community Based Organizations] (<$100k budget) around the world and to engage in larger grants of microfinance, and granting seed money for future ventures. Our firm convictions are that there are men, women, children, and organizations [official and unofficial] already on the ground that fully understand their local context and community. They are doing amazing work to not only fight global poverty but building infrastructures to ensure sustainability

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 and invest 100% of those funds around the world in the fight against global poverty.

5. What is your personal commitment?

We are committing to give our One Year’s Salary [$68,000] to the cause of Fighting Global Poverty.

6. Why are you making a big deal of giving away your money?

Honestly, we’re not trying to. We would rather have just given away our money if that had been our only conviction. But we believe we can make a greater impact by challenging others to join us in this fight against global poverty – even if in the slightest way.

How can we ask people to give if we don’t demonstrate our own commitment to this cause? We are not asking people to do anything we are not first willing to do ourselves. In short, we are putting our money where our mouth is. You can also read more HERE about why we’ve decided to make our decision public.

7. How can you afford to give away this kind of money?

Personally, we don’t really think it’s anyone else’s business, but because people keep asking this same question, we’ll do our best to be transparent. We are not wealthy. We are your average middle-class family, but nevertheless we are blessed to be able to make choices to help start this foundation. We are in the process of selling some of our possessions to release finances to make this contribution to start this organization.  While the current state of the national and global economy is making this extremely difficult, we are still trying to be creative to honor this goal.

8. How do we know you’ll really donate the money? How do we know this is legit?

You don’t. It’s our word—and our word and integrity are of the utmost importance to us. We’ve made our decision public so that we can be held accountable. We’ve told our families, friends, children, church community, and the world wide web… so it would be kind of detrimental to our character for us not to follow through on our word. We’re not legally bound but we are certainly morally bound.

9. Why did you start this group on Facebook?

Because our vision is to leverage technology and human relationships to start a global grassroots viral movement. Through blogging, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and other internet venues, we hope to invite people to consider the issues of global poverty and get involved.

We don’t want people to think that only celebrities, millionaires, and Hollywood A-listers can do something to fight global poverty. Each of us are capable of compassion and able to help – even in the slightest of ways.

We will give $100,000 to the fight against global poverty regardless of how many people join the Facebook group.

10. Why start a new organization when you can give your money to a current organization that is already making a global impact?

Great question. There are many wonderful organizations and we considered this option. But the issue of global poverty is, well, so vast and global that there need to be hundreds and thousands more efficient and transparent organizations engaged in this fight from many angles and perspectives.

We believe we have something new and unique to bring to the table and can engage more people in this pursuit of compassion and justice.

11. When and how will you give away your money? And to whom?

Our goal is to invest 100% of all donations to small organizations and partners [and some current large orgs] around the world that are already fighting extreme poverty. See #4 above for more details.

By the time our organization launches in mid-2009, we’ll have identified and funded several organizations. We will be asking people [hopefully you!] that partner with our organization to help identify hundreds of other organizations to consider funding and supporting.  We will conduct a thorough grant process.

12. Why do you think you can make a difference with global poverty?

Because people are already making a difference. We’re not really creating anything new. We simply want to come alongside the men, women, and children that are already taking steps to lift up their people out of poverty.

Here’s one example: The Karen ethnic people of Burma are undergoing atrocities that some find comparable to what is happening in the Darfur. Education is very important and an example not only of compassion but building sustainability for people to be lifted out of poverty. A schoolteacher’s salary? $40 per year. No, that was not a typo.

Another example: Water wells that provide clean water for a village can run from $2k-10k depending on its location around the world. We can work with people on the ground who have the technology, resources, and partners to help build these wells. Water is essential not only to survival but sustainability.

13. How do you intend to invest in sustainable projects?

Sustainability is key to the work of our organization. While compassion is what compels us to do what we envision, we also seek to invest in sustainable projects so that local leaders can help lift their communities out of poverty. We will strive hard to build long-lasting relationships and work with local community leaders to work towards that cause.

Our vision is to work with partners across the globe – both (1) those who give financially and (2) NGOs/CBOs that are doing amazing work that are not well-known. Finding efficient and effective non-profit partners on the ground is an important first step. Because keeping our administrative costs low is important, we’ll plan a few strategic site visits, but our primary strength will come from the thousands and millions of people who we hope will join our organization… and who may have made personal visits; have personal contacts; volunteered in countries, etc. Additionally, we will enlist the help of volunteers who pay their own way to various countries and relay stories, interviews, photos, videos, etc. from the field. There will also be a thorough application process for organizations to partner with our vision.

Currently, we have four volunteers in various places around the world conducting field reports on possible partnerships.

14. I’ve noticed that you’re a Christian pastor…so is this a religious organization?


Yes, we are Christians and I am a pastor. Our faith is very important to my wife and me and influences the values of our organization: hope, human dignity, integrity, compassion, justice, etc. But this is not a Christian organization. The fight against global poverty is not just a Christian issue – it is a human issue. It doesn’t matter to us what your particular confession is or is not. If you care about human suffering and are involved in the fight against global poverty, we want to partner and collaborate with you.

15. How can I get involved?

  1. You can join our Facebook group via and invite as many of your friends to join.  Help spread the word by sharing this group on your Facebook status or via your Twitter account.  Our goal is to have at least 1,000,000 people join this group.
  2. You can donate to the Operations Fund to help seed the organization. If you’re interested in helping seed the organization, you can send an email to me at  Your donations are tax-deductible.
  3. You can join our Launch Team. Because our goal is to create a grassroots global movement, we need women, men, and children – around the world – to join the Launch Team.  The purpose of the Launch Team is simply to help launch our organization and to build momentum so that it spreads virally around the world through many media of human communication.  Email to sign up for the Launch Team.

42 Replies to “fighting global poverty f.a.q.”

  1. Eugene, thanks for the info……and blessings as you follow that calling of God on your hearts. He gives us crazy dreams sometimes……but for His purposes!

  2. I have had the opportunity to eat a meal or more with Pastor and his lovely wife Minhee. And this is their character, they are truly good hearted and soulful people. What a legacy they will leave to their children and us. I will be praying for this selfless commitment. BRAVO.

  3. Eugene, thanks for speaking at Onnuri yesterday. It was powerful, convicting, and challenging. I appreciate the opportunity to more closely examine your vision through your blog and can sense the manner in you’ve prayed and thought through your vision. I look forward to supporting the work that you and your wife will start soon. Blessings to you.

  4. Eugene- have you read ‘Three Cups of Tea’ about the mountain climber who failed to summit K2 and, after getting lost in Pakistan- ended up developing schools for their children? I’m in the middle of it and it is phenomenal. This book would be a big encouragement for you if you find the time during your sabbat. I think it’ll speak to where you guys are at in this journey to make a global change.

    I’m gonna be writing about the book on my site both directly and indirectly over the next few weeks to months. I am proud to know you, and that you are ACTING for change and not just gabbing about it like so many others.

  5. Hey Eugene- two Qs:

    are smaller donations a nuisance at this point? Many newer orgs don’t have the infrastructure to efficiently handle loads of small donations (meaning those donations can be more work/bother than helpful). So do you have a minimum donation at this time or does any amount help? Clearly as things ramp up with your org you’ll be able to accept all donation amounts?

    Also- I feel a little stupid on this Q but if you’re donating 100% directly to the “field,” then what will donations to the operations fund go towards? Is your number 2 asking for separate contributions to help get the org off the ground, or will all monies eventually reach the field?

    I hope my Qs make sense. If not- blame Monday.


  6. ian:

    3 cups of tea =great book.reading it now.

    second question: yes, we’re accepting anything. i’ll send you a vision letter.

    i’ll add that question to the list. we have two funds: an operation fund and a giving fund. the operations fund will cover our administrative costs = office, staff, paper, stamps,etc. we’ll have private donors, sponsors,and fundraisers cover that. all donations to the giving fund – 100%[minus the usual bank and wire transactions costs] – will go towards projects.

  7. Thanks, Eugene, for clarifying things – the question I have had all along here is why you would use so many resources to start a new org. instead of using those resources to support some of the many organizations out there who are already set up and doing good work. Your answers to #4 and #13 sound to me like you are wanting to do just that, in ways that you are uniquely positioned to accomplish. That was an important distinction to me. I am fully willing to support you in that effort, so thank you!

  8. Eugene–this is awesome. You’re doing a heck of a thing with this effort, and I appreciate it. I’ll be praying for you in this; may God prosper the work of your hands!

  9. Eugene, you are giving many people a jump start toward “what you do for the least of these” thinking with your new organization. Jesus was always on a search and rescue when he was here. Where in the world did the western thought process come from that we live to have this nest egg, thats just enough to pass on to our children to anestitize them also. And we think the snake story in Genesis is hard to buy, wait till they read the one satan sold to us.

  10. I know this is selfish sounding, but I truly wonder if people consider this before helping the poor in Africa or elsewhere throughout the world. First, when growing up, I too had the desire to feed the poor & also solve poverty. I admire the many who do, but at the same time when resources are becoming more scarce (or at least appearing so in the media), I wonder if helping our fellow brethren in Africa actually create a situation where we will eventually want to fight with them for the same resources we want to give them now? When the people in Africa become prosperous and have the ability to compete, won’t we create another competitor for all the other goods like water, oil, food, etc?

    I’m definitely not saying you should stop your wishes to help the poverished. However, do you ever consider this? I remember hearing about you Eugene when I was in Seattle. I was even considering coming to the church. Many of my friends would say they admire and appreciate your words. Thank you for taking care of them at one time or another.

    Nevertheless, I still pose this to you since I wonder myself regularly if it’s worth helping others become the competitors of my children in the future. Selfishly, I want my children to NOT have to compete more or have more difficulty in life because I help their peers. It’s a very simple notion, but one that honestly I may end up creating.

  11. @therealsouthkorea:

    thanks for your honest comment.

    i honestly believe that one of the growing myths that are spreading is the idea that the world simply can’t sustain the growing population. i do not believe this. i am not suggesting that population “control” shouldn’t be a conversation or an issue. it definitely needs to be.

    but the problem isn’t just africa or asia [where 2/3 of the world’s malnourished live]. the problem is also us – you and me and the larger “developed” world. the world can’t sustain our consumption.

    lastly, it’s really a human dignity issue. we must help. for us not to help would make us less human…

  12. this is an awesome thing you guys are doing here
    i am greatly inspired by this :]
    we’re actually creating a club to help out with issues like these
    i will talk about your ideas and your hopes to them
    and share about this organization
    i think it will be very inspiring and cool
    and i pray that God’s will be with your family and your intentions and hopes
    God bless you all! ❤

  13. Love this, love what you are doing.

    Blessings as you inspire others to step out in faith and change the world. We all have legitimate needs including financial security, safety, comfort, shelter, etc. We can’t ignore that they are real However, sometimes when it comes to becoming a true follower of Christ, one might have to sacrifice those needs in order to answer the Call of discipleship.

    You are very inspiring.

  14. Please consider funding Floresta, a Christian nonprofit organization working to reverse deforestation and poverty in the world by transforming the lives of the rural poor.

    My husband and I adopted our two boys from Haiti. Floresta is doing important work there and elsewhere in the world. I think you’ll find it a worthy organization to support. Thanks for considering it!

  15. Hi Eugene,
    Just came across your site. Congratulations on launching your non-profit. I believe in the power of individuals to make a real difference.
    I am interested but have a couple of questions/suggestions:

    1) it seems like you may be reinventing the wheel – so what is really unique and different about your organization? – given that you hope to raise $ 25 million in 5 years. How are you going to make a real difference in the structural issues of poverty when your funding is so uncertain year to year? An NGO could not launch a long term program based on this lack of reliable funding. I am originally from Nepal and have worked with NGOs, large multilateral and bilateral agencies, INGOs, and small local NGOs.

    While I appreciate the desire and heart to make a difference, you must also be strategic and have a very powerful methodology.

    2) Given what you plan to raise, why not focus on a geography and fund a few programs that can demonstrate real impact over a period of years. A shotgun approach – given you funds – will have very limited impact.

    Finally, why not outsource most of your back-office work to a third world country and save on your admin costs. You could really cut down your admin expenses and be closer to the ground.



  16. Do you have a business plan? I would like to see how you plan on getting to your goal. While I understand there are separate funds I do think some of your proposition as 100% donation to the cause is a bit misleading. I would like to know what your operational costs will be.

    Also, the information mentions you will have your official certificate by the end of 2008/be up and running beginning of 2009. Can we have an update on where these items are?

  17. Much money is really needed to eradicate poverty.
    You probably heard the saying “do not give the poor a fush. Give him a fishing rod and teach him to fish.”
    What is your plan, after collecting the money, to really help tje poor?
    Did you hear of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s programm to eradicate poverty?

  18. @parasuraman: No. This is a human rights issue. Water, medicine, food, education should be accessible to all.

    @anon: from the FAQ above –

    9. Why did you start this group on Facebook?

    Because our vision is to leverage technology and human relationships to start a global grassroots viral movement. Through blogging, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and other internet venues, we hope to invite people to consider the issues of global poverty and get involved.

    We don’t want people to think that only celebrities, millionaires, and Hollywood A-listers can do something to fight global poverty. Each of us are capable of compassion and able to help – even in the slightest of ways.

    We will give $100,000 to the fight against global poverty regardless of how many people join the Facebook group.

  19. first of all, thank God for giving you this vision.

    may this become blessings for the children living in poverty. may God’s love touch everyone who are afford to give to them as all of us are God’s children..praise the Lord!

    and thanks for your inspiration and enthusiasm on this ministry. i do have such vision but i don’t know how to act. ^^ (still in prayer)

    God will bless you and your family..

  20. thanks for the good work.i hope my question would be relevant.we do have a CBO called Tumaini african Foundation in soweto kayole nairobi kenya, are we eligible to benefit from your donation?

  21. thanks for this wonderfull cause of wanting to help the less privaledged. how can my organisation benefit from your cause.hope you are doing fine, i have attached the profile and the constitution of our org, am writing to from a youth organisation known as youths in Action based in a shunt compound called Kalingalinga in lusaka Zambia, i want this organisation to pratner with your organisation so that through this partnership we can bring hope to the vulnerable in the society of Zambia. it’s a youth organisation, whose
    AIM is
    To empower youth and children with skills which will make them understand their Reproductive and Sexual Health as a primary prevention to HIV transmission among themselves.
    To give hope to the orphansw and vulnerable youths in the society and thse infected and affected by HIV/AIDS

    Equipping youths and children with strategies skills and approaches to capacitate them eradicate diseases, poverty and all forms of abuse.
    Youth Team envisions a society free from diseases, poverty and all forms of abuse with children and youths empowered with skills.

    • To provide information on Reproductive and Sexual Health to the children and youths to help them build life skills this will prevent HIV transmission.
    • To provide adherence counseling and adequate information on ART in the community.
    • To help youths in the community to understand their role and traditional norms in creating awareness on HIV and AIDS.
    • To discourage early marriages and child prostitution as a way of preventing HIV and AIDS.
    • To conduct activities on primary prevention of drug and substance abuse by the youths through networking with other organization.

    hope my request will be highly favoured,will be very much glad if you respond to our request thanking you in anticipation


  22. Hi ,

    i am Roseline,21years old, junior secondary drop out, i grow up not knowing my mother and never set my eyes on her.

    At the age of 13 my father died of stroke before my very eyes, few months later my father elder brother died of heart attack, life became miserable for a 13 years old girl, sleeping from one street to another i have don all kinds of odd jobs i have no home since my father could not build.

    I have a great dream of becoming a gospel music artist but i have no help, i shed tears each time i think about my family background, i shed tears every time cause no body believes in me, no one has seen that greatness in me only God.

    please i am seeking for help, please help wipe these tears of my face, help to heal these pain, please show me some love so that i don’t feel rejected, please help to make these dream com through, please i don’t want to leave a wasted life on earth.

    please help me in anyway you can to live a fulfilled life, may God help those who help the needy.

    If i lie may God punish me,

    Thanks and God bless you,

    Roseline Nkem.

  23. Hi Pastor,
    Just remember, you can feed them now and you can feed them later till all runs out. Teach them to harvest for themselves, to fish, to do a job and get paid, and they will feed themselves from then on. They just need to learn how to survive and teach each other the basics, the rest if up to them.

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