Philanthropy Feed

Feeding Syrian Refugees at the Syrian Border

From the main blog

A little update from me.

We arrived at the Serbian border a few days ago and started cooking immediately, both for the team and for the stream of Syrian refugees. Most of them were in too much of a hurry to stop and chat – they were at the finish line of their long trip to enter Schengan Europe and aware, as we were, that the border could close at any time. Fair enough.

So we decided to go south about 30 kilometers and meet them there. The last few days we have been in a small town, camped out at a lake with about 20 people on the team in two vehicles and lots of tents.

But now the border has closed, as the Hungarians told us it would when we were there last week, and we expect a huge swell of refugees (do we have to call them that? – sounds soooo inhumane when talking about real people who we, as fellow-nomads and travellers, feel a special bond with?) to grow around the border area.

So . . . we are heading back up again today and will set up base at Subotica where there is already a growing presence of refugees. There is an abandoned brick factory called Ciglana (see Sima Diab) which has become a camping ground (reminds me of the tent village we set up in NZ), and we hope to be a presence there.

Many people are on their way to join us right now from all over Europe and our little team of crazy hippies could possibly double in size this week to 40.

The truck is running great and its awesome having a mobile kitchen that can chase down the refugees and set up wherever we need to be at a moments notice. Damn I love my job!!!!!!!

These are our needs right now:

We need this week to learn some Arabic phrases and some Syrian recipes so they can have some good homecooked food. The best food in I ate in Cairo during the Arab Spring was a Syrian dish that I would love to recreate here.

A van has been donated from Austria that we hope to fix up to accommodate and transport team members. Its a bit crap and not licensed but we are happy to receive it. We need someone to pick it up and drive it to us here at the Serbian border.

The Rainbow Snowball Caravan, of which are are a part, has managed to raise 550 Euros and this will really help us with the food costs. Awesome. When we arrived a few days ago, our food was depleted and we didn’t have enough diesel money to drive south. Some of you have sent gifts through SAMS  to our family for expenses and this should be processed in due time and eventually reach us. THANKS!!!

Having said that, our greatest need is not money but rather love and compassion and perspective, wise choices, courage, a good team spirit. And for these things we covet your prayers.

I think we need a few Syrians on our team. Could you pray that we pick the right ones this week?

A friend is setting up another fundraiser for expenses connected to our truck and diesel and other things that will not be covered by the Rainbow Caravan. Thanks. Details here really soon, including the cheesy name that I chose for it.

The team is feeling good. We are in the right place at the right time. Last night we had a talking circle until 11pm. Some of the team want to go to Syria to bring peace and love. All of us are glad to be here, hoping to make a difference, willing to use whatever resources we have.

One of the greatest challenges of ministry, as I shared with the team last night, is just turning up and being present.

Well, we turned up.

Keep praying for us.

 Read more.

Go to The Skinny on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Help fund our project here.

I support syrious love



12 Resources for Christian Generosity

My friend Sas Conradie from the Global Generosity Movement has just released 12 Resources for Christian Generosity:

E.G. “Jay” Link’s latest book ‘Who’s In Charge Here?’ is now available. The pdf and Kindle versions of the book are free - just go to this webpage


 The Money Revolution is a website linked to a book that helps Christians apply Christian principles to handling money. The book is one of the best practical books on how Christians should engage with money.

The Generous Business is an electronic booklet with stories of companies leading the way in giving. It also includes practical suggestions on why and how to become a Generous Business. 

Spanish articles on generosity related issues and on mission resource mobilisation.

Brian Kluth’s sermon ‘Journey to Generosity: Why Become a Generous Christian?’ gives reasons to become a generous Christian

‘Biblical Principles of Financial Giving’ is a Bible study outline from Xenos Christian Fellowship in the US that explores how to cultivate a godly manner of dealing with money and material possessions.

The journey from an emerging giver who gives primarily because of relationships, tax savings, public recognition, or a feeling of obligation to a giving champion is explained in Journey of Generosity: Emergent to Generous Giving’ 

The MBA in Biblical Stewardship and Christian Management has information on the MBA in Christian Management and other courses taught through the Center for Biblical Stewardship at the Asian Theological seminary in the Philippines. The goal of this program is to equip leaders and managers of Christian non-profit organizations in the areas of strategic thinking, good governance, management and effective resource development.


The Future World Giving report examines the potential for emerging economies to transform their societies through philanthropic action. I also posted an article on the report and a progress report on the international Giving Pledge. 

How America Gives’ has a link to a fascinating report on giving in America. One of the most interesting tables is a generosity ranking of US cities. If you are living in the US, see where your city is ranked. How encouraging would it be to see the percentages increase as you encourage generosity in your community!"

The UK Giving 2012 report is not as extensive as the ‘How America Gives’ report but provides a picture on giving in the UK.

The Generosity Spiral of Giving and Receiving is an illustration of the growing interaction between giving and receiving - starting with giving to impose (values, ideas and beliefs) and receiving to manipulate through various phases to ultimate giving (giving of your life) and spiritual receiving.

Overhead on non-profits

Summary of study from GreyMatter: New research shows the average American believes it is reasonable for non-profit organizations to spend 23 cents out of every dollar on overhead expenses such as fundraising or administration.  However, 62% believe non-profits typically spend more than is reasonable for overhead, and the average American estimates spending on overhead at 37 cents on the dollar for the typical non-profit organization.  Over a third of Americans believe non-profits typically spend at least half of their money on overhead. More


Hybridrization Movement: integrating social and financial enterprises

In Search of the Hybrid Ideal is a good article based on some research by Stanford and Echoing Green on the emergence of "hybrid" social enterprises, early stage projects that focus on both social impact and financial sustainability. This integration is something we have both worked towards for many years. All of the social and mission projects we sponsor, for example, have an economic strategy that enables them to move from dependence to sustainability and actually, we hope, creates strong organizations that can give generously to the next cycle of social enterprise launches.

Chart hybridization movement 427x358

They give an example of Hot Bread Kitchen

Hot Bread Kitchen exemplifies a larger trend among social innovators toward creating hybrid organizations that primarily pursue a social mission but rely significantly on commercial revenue to sustain operations. Such hybrids have long existed in certain sectors, such as job training, health care, and microcredit—but in recent years they have begun to appear in new sectors, including environmental services, consulting, retail, consumer products, catering, and information technology.  In Search of the Hybrid Ideal
 Finding a balance is important.

Hybrids also must strike a delicate balance between social and economic objectives, to avoid “mission drift”—in this case, a focus on profits to the detriment of the social good. In Search of the Hybrid Idea

I recommend reading the article and if you have time, check out what I wrote on the subject of 4th sector enterprises in early mission experiments.

Also on TSK: Resourcing Missional Entrepreneurs {without creating charity cases).

Are you successfully launching "hybrid" models of missional enterprise? Let me know.

Emerging Philanthropy: NOW Funding, not SOON Funding

Sometimes, you need NOW funding to assist an emergency situation. When an earthquake hits, people need resources immediately. They have no house and only the clothes on their back. If its cold, their families will freeze. Rescue workers need to be fed or they will stop shifting bricks and more people will die.

Fundraising takes time and you need the funds NOW and not SOON, not even THEN, and forget about LATER.

$1000 in the first week of an earthquake is like $10,000 in the second week.

In Turkey this month, we badly needed NOW funding to assist the earthquake relief in the first week.

Earthquake zone arriving philanthropy

But unfortunately, most foundations and trusts cannot act that fast. There is paperwork and permissions and the presentation of proposals and the estimate of expenses and the signing of papers, etc.  Most foundations can help with SOON funding but very few can help with NOW funding.

Continue reading "Emerging Philanthropy: NOW Funding, not SOON Funding" »

Resourcing Missional Entrepreneurs (without creating charity cases)

Prague. Yesterday I spoke to a group of Christian business professionals and Foundation leaders from USA about how to resource missional entrepreneurs in Europe in a sustainable way, ie, without creating eternal charity cases. These people, all of them very friendly,  are part of a European tour organized by Fred Smith of and Lee Behar of The Maclellan Foundation.

image for the gathering presentation

I talked a little about what we have been doing in the past ten years in Europe and some of the best practices we have observed from our collaborators. In hindsight, I thought the presentation was a little too heavy on the strategic side and lacked some warm human stories. . . . Oh well. After I spoke, my good friend Sasa Flek shared about the Bible21 project which was excellent.

But here is my presentation. And if you happened to be in the audience, then please accept my humblest apologies.

Philanthropists and the Reformation

This week we visited Bethleham Chapel in Prague, where Jan Hus pastored and preached. Sasa Flek gave us a great historical overview of the Reformation from the Czech perspective.

800px Betlémská kaple interior

Normally, when theologians tell the story, they focus on the doctrinal changes of the Reformation and honor the theologians like Wyclif, Hus, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc. But the story would not be the same without the businessmen and philanthropists who made it happen.

For example,

- The businessman who sponsored a few Czech students to go to Oxford and hear John Wyclif. These students returned to Prague with the documents and writings that would inspire Jan Hus.

- The businessman who paid for a "preaching station" in Prague where preachers, including Jan Hus in 1402, could articulate their thoughts on the Bible. It was here, at Bethlehem Chapel, that thousands of people came to hear and respond and ignite the Czech Reformation that would influence the rest of Europe.

- As a result of the Czech Reformation, and the negative Catholic reaction to it, the gospel was spread globally through the Moravian missionaries who would not have had a place to live or study or work had it not been for the wealthy philanthropic aristocrat Count Zinzendorf.

The reformation that followed Hus was massive and a hundred years later, Luther's admission that Hus might not be as heretical as previously thought would be a turning point for the Lutheran Reformation. And from Germany to the world.

Now thats a HUGE return on investment, no matter how you measure it. Thanks to God and thanks to some nameless businessmen, who had the foresight to see what could be, and the faith to put their money into it.

Social enterprise and mission-shaped mission

"Mission-shaped mission" is a phrase that came to mind a few weeks ago. If mission shaped churches no longer resemble traditional churches then mission-shaped mission also will be hard to recognize, since it takes its shape from factors other than the modern missions movement (1791 - 1991).

Some of the most exciting mission projects I have seen [and supported] recently have stayed under the radar. Like the new social enterprises that are run from a Christian base. A good example is the viable social enterprise that my dear friends Shannon Hopkins and Jessica Stricker have been working on and the Boaz Project has been pleased to sponsor in a small way. I won't pimp it again here because I have raved on and on about Sweet Notions and the way they are creating value out of recycled fashion to help vulnerable women. But I will put up their new video because its just DANG GOOD and fun to watch. Even if you don't like pink.

Sweet Notions from ilovepinatas on Vimeo.

And you might be interested in the Sweet Notions Boutique Event in London Sep 16th. Ask Shannon for more details.

Mark Driscoll goes to Haiti

My old friend Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church went to Haiti with James MacDonald. They recorded some footage that I look forward to seeing. Well done Mark! The first video is here on YouTube but I expect much more to come. He also got interviewed by USA Today where he speaks out against the sex-trade.

If you remember back 4 years ago, Chris Seay and Travis Reed put out a deeply moving video a few days after Hurricane Katrina called "Please Dont Make us Sing This Song" and it went viral, stirring up prayer and support around the world for that catastrophe. Hopefully, with all the media folk at Mark's church, they can do the same thing. Hurry up, dammit!

BTW - I dont think a lot of pastors should fly down to Haiti for a look-ee-loo. But some of them should and they should tell the story well when they come back. Otherwise, they are just taking up space and money.

Also - an email from Emily of International Medical Corps who are doing a great job in Haiti right now. They have a widget that lets you donate $10 really easily.