Help Towards the Haiti Earthquake

Just reading about the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti yesterday. Awful blow to the country and we pray for the families involved. Its the largest earthquake there since 1770. Possibly thousands killed and the presidential palace flattened. I remember that palace from my last visit there. This is how I remember it, before it collapsed yesterday.

haiti presidential palace

Be careful who you give your money to. There is a lot of corruption in Haiti. I was shocked at all the huge mansions I saw on the hillsides, especially when they told me that many of them were owned by charity workers. If you give money to help Haiti, give to the larger groups with good accountability. World Vision is a good one and Haitian hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean has his own organization called Yele Haiti. In fact, you might have noticed @wyclef on Twitter this morning where it seems that thousands of twitterers are sending $5 donations to Haiti by textingYELE to 501 501

In case you are interested, as I am, Wyclef Jean is the son of a Nazarene pastor and briefly attended Eastern Nazarene College. Does anyone have some good stories or experiences about Yele that you could tell me about?

Related and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Haiti and that Pact with the Debil

Kiva and faith-based micro-finance

The Kiva Effect is a great article on micro-finance and faith based micro-credit unions. Thanks to CT for publishing it and Becky for the HT. Of course there are a lot of these initiatives that escape the media's eye. Check out my post on emerging philanthropy and the Indian Taxi Fund.

Related: I read a book from the 1960's on Christian cooperatives and the work of Roman Catholic missionary Father Topshee. He created micro-credit unions for Pacific Islanders to help them become sustainable. He figured out that it only takes 100 people to launch a successful cooperative.

One Day's Wages and Eugene Cho

Speaking of my Korean-American friends making the headlines, as I did in yesterdays post, another one is stirring things up in the USA.

eugene cho one day's wages Eugene Cho, whom I met at Tom and Christine Sine's house in Seattle, is part of a church called Quest and a regular blogger and speaker on all things emerging and missional.

Recently, Eugene started an initiative to end global poverty through tiny gifts. Its called One Day's Wages and its hitting the news big time right now. Which is pretty impressive considering it was launched only . . like . . . last month!  

Here's a snippet or two:

"He [Eugene] asked a village elder what it would take to retain teachers, and they said about $40 each. Not a week. Not a month. “I realized he meant per year,” said Mr. Cho. “It hit me: $40 can make a huge difference.” New York Times

"He wanted to do something. So he thought: Why not start his own global poverty initiative?" Seattle Times

BLOGGERS LISTEN UP. Eugene sent me an email this morning, suggesting that bloggers create a "FUND" via One Day's Wages and "decide collectively where to invest it" and even have ODW guys meet us halfway. Interested? Put some response down in the comments below.

The Feast kicks off with Matthew Bishop

Well the Feast has just started. About 400 people here which is a good number. The first speaker is now addressing us - Matthew Bishop, author of Philanthrocapitalism which is about the "head and the heart coming together" in a new model of capitalism. We should use the present financial crisis to build something worthwhile, said Matthew, a few minutes ago. More will be explored in Matthew's upcoming book The Road From Ruin, available early next year.

Actually, last night we went over to the Economist, where Matthew works, and had a chat. Lovely guy. I met him earlier this year at Greenbelt Festival in UK where he spoke on Bill Gates, Bono and You: How the Rich Can Save the World and Why We Should Let Them.


Despite being very English, Matthew prefers coffee to tea, as we noticed last night at the Economist HQ, which, btw, is an impressing and imposing building. Lots of marble . . .


When we were there, Matthew gave us a copy of his book Philanthrocapitalism which had the unfortunate subtitle: "How the Rich Can Save The World". Apparently the publishers put that in and Matthew had them change the subtitle to what it is today - "Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Change the World". Its a subtle change that represents the heart of what Matthew is saying: new forms of micro-philanthropy enable ordinary people to become philanthropists and giving becomes something that benefits everyone, not just the recipients. That means that anyone can change the world, not just rich people.

Right now Matthew is mentioning Warren Buffet, Bill Gates (I think Matthew has interviewed both of them), Rick Warren, and other high influence people are changing the world but, he stresses, the route to transformation is paved with ordinary people and accessible social media - facebook causes, kiva - that will increase everyone's ability to impact the world.

- Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of how we will solve the world's problems. Some of this collaboration is happening with social enterprise, non-profits, etc. Actually, this is what we were talking about yesterday.

- We have to do the boring stuff. Can we create a system that will measure social impact? Social accounting . . .Which is also what we talked about yesterday with Matthew.

Well done! A great start to the event!

You can follow Matthew at his blog.

100 Incredible Philanthropy Blogs

A list of 100 Incredible Philanthropy blogs has just been released. They kindly sent me an email to tell my that my blog was on the list. Thanks!!!! I am listed under the 'faith based philanthropy' section along with some other blogs that are worth checking out. A blog that should have been on that list, although it is not updated very often, is that of my friend Lee Behar which dedicated to philanthropy from a Christian faith perspective. Lots of helpful information from an insider on that one. Topping the 100 list is the great blog Tactical Philanthropy by Sean Stannard-Stockton with whom I have enjoyed a little email banter last year related to a big philanthropy event he is involved in called Council on Foundations.

Most of my blog posts on the subject are located under the category "Philanthropy". I just added about a dozen other posts, including "How to ask Foundations for Money" and "5 Ways for Ministries to Get Over the Recession" to that list because I noticed they were not tagged at all and were lost deep down in my blog.

It may not be a big surprise for you to hear that much our present journey all over Europe is connected with ministries that we have been helping to support financially as well as with leadership training and teaching. Nothing beats actually turning up in person to see the great things that these ministries are doing with the funds they have received. It means a lot of travel on our part but so much happens through trust relationships which can only be nurtured through personal visitation. And I am happy to report that all the ministries we recommended for funding have used the funds wisely and economically. Well done! I will be preparing some reports over the next week and it is a huge relief for me to have some good news to send back, esp. in these times when money has been tightened up for a while.

Money for Missions: The Big and the Small of it

This week I was on the phone with an Executive Director of a Foundation that gives millions of dollars to missions. Things are tight right now for them, as they are for many other faith-based Foundations, but they are doing their best to keep commitments to missionaries. Not easy during this recession when the returns on investments dont bring the kind of returns they had hoped for. Missionaries who depend on these kinds of gifts are struggling this year.


Immediately after hanging up the phone with this Foundation, I went out to dinner with a Portuguese house church pastor. His tiny church had put together a HUGE love package for our missionary family including 5 bottles of wine and all kinds of food. There was even an envelope with money as a thank you gift for our ministry in Portugal five years ago.One of the families who gave included a not-so-wealthy family with two children. One of the children, on hearing of our family's mission, donated the entire contents of his piggy bank to help the gift go further. This church leader wept when he received the gift and was really emotional when he told me the story.

The big and the small. Both important to God. Its weird being in the middle of these two disparate groups; Foundation leaders with large investments and little boys with piggy banks. The Kingdom of God moves forward on the resources of both groups. A verse leapt to mind that I should share. It speaks of contentment and the pleasantness of God's gifts, whether big or small. Psalm 16:5-6

LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Related: Christianity Today have a great article this month on how the church will probably give more this year, even though philanthropy in general has dropped during this recession. Check out Church Giving Outlook: You've Got Some Time. and there is lots more to read in their economic crisis section.

More on Tallskinnykiwi: Christian Conferences: The Carnival is Over
Top 5 Ways for Ministries to Get Over the Recession
Larry's Recession and the Debt Dependent Church

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Larry's Recession and the Debt-Dependent Church

LarryburkettLarry Burkett's videos were hugely popular when we watched them in the 1980's. He wore the same hideous brown suit for every video which we thought was funny but we also wondered if he only owned one suit to cut expenses. His teaching videos were about living debt-free and managing your money according to Biblical principles. He also said that our debt-based economy was shortsighted and would be short lived. A big recession was in the pipeline. And he was right. Larry referred to this coming recession as an earthquake. What we are experiencing now is not exactly the "earthquake" or meltdown that Larry predicted, but its not too far off either. You could say that this is Larry's recession. Larry Burkett died in 2003 but his legacy continues.


Larry is gone but there have been other influential teachers in my life such as Randy Alcorn and Ron Blue. More recently, a great online resource is the Generous Giving website which also has a page on what the Bible says about money.

For the past 25 years, I have tried to follow Larry's advice. Sometimes I slipped up and went my own way but I always came back. One of those principles was trying to live debt-free. Living with contentment rather than debt meant i had to drop out of Seminary when the money from selling our house ran out. I never did finish my degree. And I never owned a new car, or even a car newer than 6 years old. Most of the time, my cars have been between 12 and 20 years old but I owned them outright and didn't lose much depreciation from them, and I didn't have to waste money on interest. Thanks to Larry.

I am happy to say we have no debts (except a few household bills). We have no savings, either, however, and we own no property. But at least we are free to travel to wherever God is calling us to serve. Contentment with godliness is great gain. But the problem is deeper than overwhelming personal debt. It seems our whole society is dependent on debt to function which is sustainable only with easy credit - something no longer taken for granted when the banks are going down the toilet.

L 700001 WringerAnother reason I believe the traditional church will go through the wringer in this recession is because much of traditional church ministry and training is based on easy credit and the normalcy of managing long-term debt. If this subject interests you, keep reading.

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Continue reading "Larry's Recession and the Debt-Dependent Church" »

Recession Busting Ideas for Global Mission

Thanks everyone for your input. For those that were not here over the past week, here is a summary of the conversation about mission, church, and how we can get over the recession.
Top 5 Ways for Ministries to Get Over the Recession
Recession: The Carnival is Over
Recession: How Bad is it?

Other bloggers/writers worth reading:
Claire Cooper - Five Things to Do in a Recession
Anglican Mainstream - Recession could push some dioceses over the edge
Skyebox - Mission and Recession

[Original Post]

Sorry if the previous post on exorbitant Christian conferences in a time of crippling recession was a little gray (sorry David). But I do want to ask the question:
Where we gonna find the eyes to see a brighter day?
Where we gonna get the wisdom to find a more sustainable way?
Where we gonna invest our time, talent and money in the Great Commission so that it will . . . pay?

Ok - that last one was a little forced. I'm a blogger, not a songwriter. But if you have a good idea on how we can respond to this global financial crisis, leave a comment below. Maybe we should compile a top ten list or something . . . .?

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Environmental Impact and Our Philanthropic Footprint

Alex Steffen suggests 3 new rules of major philanthropy in his article Our Philanthropic Footprint:
1. Practice holistic assessment.
2. Seek transformative impact.
3. Offer utter transparency

Holistic assessment must deal with environmental impact of our investment and here is where I see a storm coming for Christian ministries and Foundations that have not given thought to the larger interconnected processes of what they do or how they go about doing it.

Bigfoot If we took account of the environmental impact of, say, a typical Christian conference, for example, of flying leaders in for a 2 day conference in a hotel and flying them all back again, the footprint would be almost Sasquatchian. It would force us to explore ways to do things differently [see my last post on festivals], to do things more lightly, more locally, more slowly, more relationally, more thoughtfully and to look at the big picture of our philanthropy and/or ministry.

For the coming year, we are being vigorous in determining and measuring how much energy we will use as a family and as a ministry. I see us living much lighter in 2008. Perhaps even chopping our energy bill in half, despite a busier travel schedule. I will let you know what solutions we come up with. Watch this space.

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World of Good on ebay

Worldofgood"4 billion people—often in developing nations—earn $1,500/year, and most businesses traditionally view these people as customers. wanted to inverse this fundamental approach. “We flipped it on its head,” said Chatwani. “Instead of bringing products into those markets, we are pulling out products from those areas with entrepreneurs.” TriplePundit

Ebay launches World of Good, a marketplace for socially responsible goods and companies. Looks pretty good to me. Any one have any products on it? Any stories?

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