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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: