Eugene Cho

we need your help to get to 1 million people

shoes

Let me begin by saying that generosity and fighting injustices & poverty should not be abdicated to celebrities, millionaires, rockstars, and A-listers.  We should all care. We have the capacity to make a difference. Don’t mistake what I’m saying:  I appreciate their voices but we can’t hide behind our excuses. I’m no celebrity and no Ashton Kutcher – who recently made more headline news for being the first person on Twitter to amass over 1 million “followers.” The last time I checked, he now has over 1.35 million followers.  Well, we’re not that far behind with our viral vision.

It’s not going to make any news but I am very excited that we have 647,888 people (and counting) in our Facebook Group for our Poverty Organization.  When we started this group on May 15, 2008, I thought we wouldn’t even come close to gathering 100,000 people which is why the group is entitled, “We will donate $1 for every person that joins this group to fight global poverty.”

As some of you know (and some have strongly criticized), we’ve gone public (for these reasons) with our pledge in hopes of starting this grassroots organization.  We are giving up this year’s salary + some additional funds (over the next few years) and donating a total of $100k for this vision.

But with nearly 700,000 people, will we be able to honor donating $1 for each person? If the vision catches on, we’ll be able to do that and more. We hope to raise and give beyond 1 million dollars over the next couple years.  For the time being, we’re not really asking for public donations because we haven’t publicly released our name and vision letter.  Once we get the green light from our lawyer, I’ll be sharing it soon (and eventually, the beta website).

But there are some ways you can help.  While it wasn’t a goal initially, I’d love to get our group to 1 million members.  So, could you help by taking 3 minutes to partner with us in the following ways:

1.  If you haven’t, simply join our poverty group on Facebook.

2.  Please share this group on your Facebook status or on your Posted Items.’ And whenever you think of the group or our vision, share it again…. To help share about the group, you can simply say something like:

Check out the vision of this group:  http://fightglobalpoverty.com

To make it easy, just click HERE to share it on your FACEBOOK profile (you need to be logged into your FB account).

3.  Share this on Twitter or retweet the occasional news you might receive from my Twitter account about the poverty org.  A simple suggestion for a Tweet:

“Check out the vision of a new grassroots poverty organization:  http://fightglobalpoverty.com”

And if you can, share it on FB or Twitter every few weeks. Why is the Facebook group important?

Because we want to leverage the group to help us start our grassroots viral movement to join others in helping eradicate extreme global poverty.  We will demonstrate integrity, transparency, and efficiency and believe that we can make a difference.  It’s important for folks to realize that we have no interest in re-inventing the wheel but rather, partnering and collaborating with women, men, and children (and orgs) that are already doing some amazing work.  We also want to remind people that generosity and philanthropy shouldn’t just be reserved for Hollywood A-listers, millionaires, and rockstars.  We all need to get involved…and get make a difference.

* On one more exciting note, I’m excited that the I’ll get to spend some time with the good folks at ONE.ORG. We’ve received our share of criticism and borderline hate emails so it feels good to receive some affirmation as well.  I’m very excited and humbled that they’ll be flying me out next week to Washington DC to allow me to attend the Mobilization to End Poverty Conference and spend some time with their staff at their ONE headquarters.  Asides from the possibility of having President Obama speak at the conference, I am super humbled and excited to meet and learn from the folks at ONE.  I hope Bono shows up…

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11 Responses

  1. queermergent says:

    Eugene,

    i think what you are doing is fantastic. Thank you!

    BTW, i am an Ashton Kutcher fan but was really disappointed in how he went about amassing 1 million followers. It shows the narcissistic side of Twitter i think. He certainly has not returned all those followers who helped him amass that great number. i unfollowed him because of it. Then he goes on Oprah to help her set up a Twitter account. Now that she is Twittering, it has gotten even more people on Twitter, slowing it way down. Sometimes i think Oprah plays into our consumeristic culture. Is it a bad thing more people are signing up for twitter. Not necessarily, but i think Facebook is perfect for that. i like some things to stay smaller and not over-popular. Just my persoanlity i guess!

  2. Like the previous commenter, I certainly agree what you are doing is fantastic, but I think if you’re teaming up with Bono, then you have to be careful. Bono hasn’t done anything to challenge the affluence in the church (unlike Claiborne, who’s challenge I find painful but seek to follow).

    If we are to “Make Poverty History” we must also “Make Affluence History” too. Also, a lot of very respected NGO’s in the UK are still annoyed at the way Bono intervened in the UK’s Make Poverty History campaign in 2005.

  3. queermergent says:

    Graham,

    i would have to disagree with your comment, ‘If we are to “Make Poverty History” we must also “Make Affluence History” too.’ AFFLUENCE IS NOT THE PROBLEM IT IS THE CONDITION OF THE HEART! There is nothing wrong with having money. Much gets done with resources. Also, i do not believe G-D expects us all to be poor and not enjoy life. We just need to remember the least amongst us. Not all affluent people are bad and greedy. Many do great things. Look at Bill Gates and Bono. No, they are not perfect, but none of us are perfect the last i checked!

    Also, didn’t Jesus say something like we will always have the poor among us? So, how does ridding the world of poverty jive with this? i really struggle with this and how to interpret Jesus on this. What are your thoughts?

    Pax and Warmest Regards,

    EP

  4. Randall says:

    @queermergent

    I too agree that affluence is not the problem. It’s what people do and how they steward their money that matters.

    As to Jesus’ statement that “the poor you will always have with you. . .” I’m not sure if I entirely buy his reading of it but Shane Claiborne suggests that perhaps that phrase can be read this way: “the poor you will always have with you because you should always be around them, helping them, serving them, advocating for them, loving them.” <- that’s not a direct quote, that’s me paraphrasing what I remember from his book.

    @PE Congrats on getting the attention of one.org!

  5. queermergent says:

    @Randall,

    Thanks for your thoughts on Jesus’ statement re the poor. So, according to Claiborn, we will always have poor people amongst us. Maybe Jesus meant that as a way of keeping us humble and to know what our priorities should be? If we don’t always have the poor amongst us, then we become even more self-focused i guess.

    Warmest Regards,

    EP

  6. Dan Hauge says:

    While it may not be that we all need to “be poor”, it seems to me inescapable that the issue of poverty is directly connected to the excessive wealth that we enjoy and take for granted in our culture. Jesus’ call to remember the poor most often came along with calls to give, and give signficantly, to the point where our lifestyle would significantly change. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor”: it’s pretty straightforward.

    I think there are two important things to emphasize: 1) much of the poverty in our country and in our world is because we have very unequal distribution of wealth and resources, and we have that inequality largely because the people who have are not content with a little, but need to have a Lot. Our whole economic system is based not on making a reasonable profit, but on profit maximization. There’s no room for ‘contentment with a little’ in our system. (It’s also because of how we value our individual freedom over what is more beneficial for the community as a whole–but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.)

    2) I believe Jesus encourages us to be free from our attachment to wealth, that we just don’t need so much to have a truly vital life. I believe our culture as a whole is pretty deceived as to how much stuff we need to have personally in order to have a fulfilling life. This has a lot to do with our heart condition, to be sure, but our heart condition is directly tied to our actions. If I say “I have plenty of wealth for myself, but it’s OK because my heart isn’t tied to it,” well, that may be great, but giving more of our wealth to help the poor, and being willing to live on less so that others may have a decent life–those help even more. And if I’m really not willing to live on less, doesn’t that say something about what my heart is really tied to?

    Here’s the point where I admit that I am completely hypocritical when it comes to this stuff–yet I have a strong desire to keep a radical standard in front of my face–it is something I must always be challenged by and always keep reaching toward.

  7. queermergent says:

    @Dan,

    Your words are true, convicting and challenging, but it all needed to be said. i struggle to, but my desire is also ‘to keep a radical standard in front of my face–it is something I must always be challenged by and always keep reaching toward.’ Thankfully, by G-D’s grace and transformation and willingness to co-create with us, we have our entire lives before us to work out our ‘salvation in fear and trembling’. We need to be convicted but the entire world’s problems can be overwhelming and daunting. We must do our part but not walk in condemnation. So, THANK YOU, Dan!

    Pax and Warmest Regards,

    EP

  8. eugenecho says:

    @randall: the one.org thing is no big deal. if anything, i think they’re just trying to encourage us in the journey which is pretty cool in itself.

  9. lauren e says:

    My prayer and encouragement is with you Eugene.

  10. anne says:

    See you at M2EP! Woot!

  11. atif shayneeel says:

    Hello sir ,
    My name is Atif shayneel , and i am running and NGo. My Ngo name “End poverty”.
    I am sending u prayer request for me and my Ngo.My Ngo base on the needy persons , who are very needy and poor. Are some of Christian did not have any jobs to do, did not have the money for survive, our Christians houses are full of poverty. I have a vision to do something for these people.But i don’t have to much resources to do this job. therefore i am sending u a prayer request to pray us and help us me at any other king of things. Always people thinks that some one must be came to us and hold our hand with love, i am trying to do something for these people. Will u please help us and pray us .
    For any response its my Email address: atif_shayneel23@yahoo.com
    And also i am sending u some pictures of the poverty please look at these pictures and pray us.
    thank you and God bless you .

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One Day’s Wages

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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. I love all the free amazing views in our Evergreen State. #RattlesnakeLedge

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