Sunday, December 13, 2015

Click Here To Get Rich Quick

If you are reading this and you live in the U.S. or Canada, I have good news for you.  You are already rich!  I know you don’t feel rich, but if you could just take a step back and see your life and your wealth on a global perspective, I am sure you would agree with me … you are rich.

As we head into the Christmas season, you will undoubtedly be inundated with letters, e-mails, advertisements asking you to give to any number of charities.  I am writing this blog post to implore you to consider giving and to consider giving generously.   I have heard people argue against the idea of giving to charity for several reasons:

“Charity does not make a difference” - I could tell you hundreds of stories of lives that were massively impacted by even small amounts of giving.  I could tell you stories of lives that were saved by even small amounts of giving.  Charity does make a difference.

“Charity does more harm than it does good” - Historically, there have been charities that no doubt did more harm than good.  Even 10 or 20 years ago, this was true.  Thankfully today, we stand on a mountain of research and experience which most charitable groups use to guide them in doing development and relief work that is both empowering and sustainable for the people they serve.

“I won’t give money to a group that is going to take out 10 or 20% ‘overhead’.  I want my entire donation to go toward the cause”. - Let me ask you a question.  Let’s say you want to donate $100 to the charity of your choice.  You have 2 options.  You can have the entire donation go directly toward the beneficiaries, and then your money ends.  Or you can allow the charity to take 20% of your money and invest it in hiring talented leadership, marketing and further fundraising, which will increase your $100 over the next 5 years to $1,000.  Which would you choose?  We would never buy stock in a company that paid their employees nothing, did nothing to market their product, and did nothing to grow their company, so why do we hold NGOs to this impossible standard?  For an excellent TED talk on this subject, click  HERE

So, in my attempt to help you wade through the mountain of letters, emails and ads you are going to receive this month, I would like to suggest, implore, beg you, to consider giving to one of the following three causes.  These are all groups which I have been directly involved with, which are having a massive impact in what they are doing, and which you will likely not receive a single solicitation for this month (aside from this one … from me).
1.  Lifebox is a UK based charity whose goal is to provide every hospital in the developing world with high quality, durable pulse oximeters.  These small hand-held devices are used all over the hospital, but are especially valuable in the O.R. where they give you continuous measurement of a patient’s heart rate and oxygen levels.  With very little effort on my part, Lifebox has provided me with a total of 8 pulse oximeters which I have distributed to Kibuye hospital as well as 2 other hospitals in Burundi which were greatly in need of these life-saving tools.  They are eager for me to identify and make contact with other hospitals in Burundi who are in need of these machines. They rely on donations to continue this. This is truly life-saving work.

2.  Yezelalam Minch was founded by Birtukan, who grew up a World Vision sponsor child.  This entirely Ethiopian-run NGO provides food, education and healthcare for 1500 orphans in and around Addis Ababa.  I have served for several years on the U.S. Advisory Board for YZM and have been able to follow the amazing work they are doing.  They rely heavily on families in the US or Canada who are willing to sponsor a child in need as well as one time donations to sustain their operations.  This is a project very dear to the hearts of Stephanie and I.

3.  Kibuye Hope Hospital - If you have been following our blog or our story for any length of time, you probably guessed that Kibuye Hope Hospital would make my “top 3” list of giving options this year.  This is an amazing hospital and an amazing ministry, which continues to have great financial needs, which you can help with.  Here is a link to their giving catalog.  Donations can be made through Paypal: