Eugene Cho

an update on our global poverty initiative

Thank you for your support and interest in our vision to engage the fight against extreme global poverty.  While we’re not ready to publicly release the name of our initiative and organization, this is our attempt to keep folks updated on the progress of our initiative and organization.

I have some both good and bad news to share during this Feb/March update.   As I shared in the December ’08 update, this has been one of the most humbling seasons of our life. When we went public with our vision to give our year’s salary to start this poverty initiative, we had absolutely no idea what was in store with the financial crisis and meltdown. Our convictions have been tested but each time we think about how “bad” we have it, we’re reminded of the grave situation for the poorest of the poor – those affected by “extreme global poverty” – some of whom I saw with my own eyes during a recent trip to South Africa.

Here’s 6 Updates on our Progress:

  • VISION TRIP TO SOUTH AFRICA. I had a chance to visit South Africa recently.  Through the generosity of an anonymous benefactor from New York, I went to visit the Kwazulu Natal area of South Africa for research, relationship building, and visioning.  The Kwazulu Natal area is marked by much poverty and nearly 40% of its residents are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus.  There are some pictures below and I also shot this video of some observations during my visit to SA.  We hope to partner with couple NGOs there for the great work that they are doing to empower people to lift themselves out of poverty.  While I am a Christian pastor, our vision seeks to change global issues of injustice effecting millions of people regardless of race, culture, sex, age, or religion.

  • FACEBOOK. On Saturday, February 14, our Facebook Group – which can be accessed at http://fightglobalpoverty.com – surpassed 300,000 members. It’s pretty amazing considering we started the group on May 15, 2008.  If we’re able to launch our initiative by this summer, we’ll likely have about 500,000 people via Facebook thtat we contact and invite to a) visit our website, 2) consider joining our cause, and 3) asking to help spread the word.  While there are no guarantees if folks will ultimately support our organization, it confirms our aspiration for our initiative in helping change the world:

Human Relationships + Technology + [Vision] =

possibility of a global viral movement

  • IRS. Some bad news.  We finally received a letter that our application was denied – but currently have 90 days to appeal.  What was complexing was that it shared that they sent out two previous letters asking for more information and because we didn’t contact them, they were saying ‘No.’   What’s upsetting?  We never received those letters.  Regardless, because this is so important, we have decided to work with a Seattle lawyer specializing in non-profit law and hope to report some progress in the upcoming months as we appeal the decision and get the IRS the additional information they need.
  • THE HOUSE. As some of you may have read before, our plan was to sell our rental home in order to make this pledge of donating a year’s salary to the cause + some additional funds.  We had the home on the market for six months and were unsuccessful.   Because we were taking a financial hit, we had to resume renting the home this past month.  This has been a pretty frustrating aspect since we need to sell the home to honor our personal pledge and will need to be open and creative in the upcoming year.
  • VOLUNTEERS. Because we’re on ‘hibernation mode,’ we currently don’t have a regular staffperson but are using some limited funds to receive help for the building of the website and some limited administrative help.  When we hear from the IRS, we’ll consider the possibilities of bringing on a regular staffperson.
  • WEBSITE. A local and gifted web designer and friend, Joseph Robert Lee,  is doing some work to build out our website.  We’re not yet ready to publicly release the name and website but here’s a mini glimpse of what it looks like now.  We hope to have the homepage out by next month.

download

How You Can Help?

  • Join our Facebook Group and invite as many people as possible. We’ve started this group to raise awareness and mobilize people when we launch the group. Please share the group on your status, posted items, etc.
  • Please keep us in prayer. It’s been a tough and humbling time. For several months, Minhee and I were feeling pretty down but we know it’s going to work out but I needed to get over things not working out the way I wanted. Specifically, keep the 501(c)(3) process and our home situation in prayer.  We’re currently renting out our home but it would be great if our current renters wanted to purchase the home.
  • Consider making a donation. I have no qualms inviting and challenging people to join us. We’ve pledged our year’s salary – $68K in 2009 – and additional funds over the next few years to total $100K. And we invite you to join us in seeding this vision. We’re hoping to raise a minimum of an additional $100,000.  Thus far, we’ve received donations and pledges totaling around $44,000  While some have expressed the possible inability to honor their pledges [in light of the financial crisis], we’re still very thankful for the women and men that have chosen to believe in us and join the vision.  If you’re interested in receiving our Vision & Support letter, send me an email at seattlejediknight@gmail.com.  The vision letter will explain why we believe it has the capacity to make an impact. You can also make secure online donation here.

Here’s some photos from my recent trip to South Africa:

Filed under:

7 Responses

  1. Joseph Lee says:

    Oh snap, looks like I’ve got some work to do. 🙂

  2. Tom says:

    I feel for you. It’s sort of the perfect storm right now for folks trying to start new and important work. All things pass but it’s hard when you’ve got the passion and have to wait.

    I’m sure the IRS thing will work out with some tweaking.

  3. CoachMickey says:

    Hi EC and Joseph,
    I share your pain but let’s see what we can do this weekend at The Idea Camp. I just arrived in Irvine and looking forward to seeing you again later on today.
    Got some ideas that I can share with you regarding some projects underway for my native land, The Philippines.
    Let’s start off the weekend with some prayers and lots of positive interaction. Carpe Diem.
    mickey

  4. […] No one I know is more committed to this fight than our friend Eugene Cho who has started the Global Poverty initiative as a way to reach out to those in extreme poverty.  Eugene has committed far more than a week’s savings on groceries to the cause of overcoming poverty and his story seemed a very appropriate one to share as we look towards this coming week. I have some both good and bad news to share during this Feb/March update.   As I shared in the December ‘08 update, this has been one of the most humbling seasons of our life. When we went public with our vision to give our year’s salary to start this poverty initiative, we had absolutely no idea what was in store with the financial crisis and meltdown. Our convictions have been tested but each time we think about how “bad” we have it, we’re reminded of the grave situation for the poorest of the poor – those affected by “extreme global poverty” – some of whom I saw with my own eyes during a recent trip to South Africa.  Read more […]

  5. Tracy says:

    wow just look at all those beautiful people in those pictures. The pictures are beautiful as well. What a blessing to add South Africa in the Kwazulu Natal area to my prayer list. Thanks for sharing.

  6. […] Do About It? March 16, 2009 at 8:00 am | In asian american, church, communication, justice | Eugene Cho, at The Idea Camp, described the origin of his conviction to start One Day’s Wages. While the […]

  7. Taylor says:

    This is an incredible vision and I applaud you for all the work you have done. I too, have seen poverty and there is nothing more I would love than to see these people, whom I befriended and lived with, exist in better conditions. But this brings me to my question, how will you end global poverty when it is all around us, and has existed since the beginning of human time? There are people, such as the Karen Hill Tribe people living in Burma, who are literally isolated from the rest of the world. The junta controlling Burma don’t allow Westerners to travel within their boarders for more than a week, let alone Westerners bringing aid to say the Karen people. So when you advertise that you are trying to bring an end to global poverty, I am curious how far you have honestly thought this mission through. Do you mean just in South Africa? Or perhaps just the civilizations that are equipped with certain necessities allowing your plans to work better? I do think what you are doing is very encouraging and wonderful, but I don’t think it is entirely wise. Listening to your video, you gave no actual examples of how you would help these people and I am curious what your plans are? I too have been looking for ways to help people around the globe, however we must remember that the there are billions of people, and that their cultures are vital parts of them; many cultures are drawn to American culture, and we must be weary not to influence them to the point they begin to loose their own.
    Thank you.

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 1 day ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 1 day ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 4 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago