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:

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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

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In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove .
May we keep working 
on ourselves 
even as we seek 
to change the world. 
To be about the latter 
without the former 
is the great temptation 
of our times.

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