Featured Generosity Blog
Anonymity in giving is not only an issue to Christians and Christian organisations but also to secular charities and nonprofits. In a very interesting article in the New York Times on the recognition donors seek for gifts, Mark Oppenheimer argues that anonymity might get in the way of building relationships between donors and giving recipients. The danger is that anonymous giving might become just a matter of writing checks. It can also be done in a spirit of pride when the giver tells him/herself ‘See how virtuous I am!’
We received several stories of generosity in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo from Harvest Foundation, where churches are being mobilized to provide for their own through acts of generosity.
“Reverend Michel Mubobo is the senior pastor of Glory Assemblies of God in Idiofa and a Harvest/Samaritan Strategy partner. In 1995, they started a ministry called ‘Gospel and assistance to paupers.’ Today, they serve about 115 paupers. Each month they distribute foodstuffs like cassava bread, maize, palm oil, soya and other necessary items like fire wood and soaps. Church members and people of good will contribute and they spend about $ 527 per month to show God`s love to poor people in need- Here we invite people to join our ministry with even $10 per month.”
“From 6 January to 3 February, at Selembao Grace Baptist Community Church in Kinshasa, we focused on the theme “love your neighbor as yourself”. We learned about 5 lessons using Harvest discipleship materials and our aim was:
-To explore the way we serve each other in our church.
-For each one, to carry out a practical act of loving service towards any brother and sister in our church, on 3rd February 2013.
At the end, on 3rd February, as sign of application, each member brought a gift to be given to someone else-unknown to him. We numbered the gifts and each person could receive a gift which matches with the number he picked-up previously.”
It is always a joy to share with God’s people how they are using the resources He has entrusted to them for His Kingdom! Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story you would like to share.
Dr. Sas Conradie Coordinator, Global Generosity Network
According to a new report of the Center for Effective Philanthropy entitled Foundation Transparency: What Nonprofits Want foundations should be clear, open, and honest about their processes and decisions that have implications for the work of charities or nonprofits. The report also indicates that there are key areas where nonprofits desire greater foundation transparency:
- What foundations are learning through their work;
- How foundations assess performance and the impact they are having;
- Foundations’ selection processes and funding decisions.
These issues are as important to the development of organizations. Foundations that are more transparent are more helpful to the ability of nonprofits/charities to work effectively, easier to develop good relationships with, and more credible.Dr. Sas Conradie Coordinator, Global Generosity Network
A recent report from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy suggests the majority of US charitable gifts of $1 million or more come from donors who live in the same area as the recipient organization. This seems to show how much high capacity givers value the strengthening of their own communities. The report offers an in-depth analysis of publicly announced charitable donations of $1 million and above given to 12 different types of recipient organizations from 2000 to 2011.
For each type of organization, the report also explores trends in these gifts over time by donor type, and how economic changes impact giving at this level. Health, arts, culture, humanitarian and higher education institutions, organisations, foundations and government agencies all received more than half of their million-dollar-plus gifts from donors in the same US state. Million-dollar gifts from individuals were affected more by economic changes than were gifts from foundations and corporations, suggesting that even at this high level of giving, feeling financially secure is an important factor in the individual donors’ decision to give. I posted the full report, executive summary and infographic at http://community.
A church in San Diego decided instead of meeting together to worship in their building they would worship with their actions in the surrounding community. Over 7,000 members from North Coast Church took the weekend to work in the Libby Park neighborhood that has been plagued with recent violence.
It is not uncommon for many churches to be ‘commuter churches’, a building that fills with people on Sundays and Wednesdays but during the rest of the week has little activity because the members do not live in the neighborhood. What if even in these churches, congregations decided to love the neighborhood as if it were their own? Many of those who volunteered live in the Libby Park neighborhood, with one commenting that he wanted to ‘turn a negative thing into a positive thing’ by volunteering to serve. But even those who do not live in the neighborhood captured the vision to love their neighbor.
This kind of generosity is a testament to the vision of the Church. Every church should care for their physical neighbors and seek to better their community. What better way to do that then to make it part of our worship! North Coast Church spends about 12 months planning the event and schedules it every 18 months. May this be an encouragement to churches around the world to “seek the prosperity of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7).
We often speak about how God has ‘entrusted’ everything to us, that we are merely stewards of the time, talent and treasure we posses here on earth. Watch the video below to see how one film company articulates this message in a very humbling way as they reflect on a gift given that was given to them.
In a recent post from GenerousChurch, several unnerving statistics were mentioned that should make every church pause and evaluate their priorities:Unfortunately, many churches have forgotten the “rules of the road” when it comes to their community.They are so focused on their personal “picture” that they have failed to look out for the other guy. You can see this in the way their money is spent (about 85-90% of all church income is spent on internal operations) and in the time they invest in their communities. Did you know:
* US churches collectively spend 230% more on their buildings each year than they give toward missions.
* In contrast, the Bible contains almost twice as many verses on generosity (609) as it does on savings and debt combined (365).
Mission Increase Foundation (http://www.missionincrease.org), based in Portland, Oregon, and with chapters throughout the United States, has helped more than 1,700 Christian ministries in the U.S. improve their fundraising capacity and management skills since 1999. MIF has trained, provided on-going consulting—at no charge—to thousands of Christian leaders, awarded nearly 1,000 grants worth more than $24 million, and leveraged more than $110 million in matching funds to support the vital work of these ministries.
Tandon Institute™ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atul_Tandon), a global advisory firm, equips Christian ministries and social sector organizations with strategy, solutions and staffing enabling them to rapidly accelerate their impact, revenues, brand and organizational capacity. Two years old, it now serves some of the world’s leading NGOs’ and social enterprises across the U.S., Europe & Asia.
Tandon Institute™ and Mission Increase Foundation are joining forces to establish local capacity-building centers, staffed by trained nationals, to serve local Christian ministries in India and Mindanao, Philippines. Their vision is to provide world-class content, training and on-going coaching to enable these ministries to build their organizational, fund-raising, governance and leadership capabilities and enable them to fulfill their God-given visions.
The two organizations, in partnership with like-minded academic institutions, national associations, funders, donors and supporters, are planning to establish three pilot centers – in Delhi, Chennai and Mindanao – to test the concept and serve as models for a national network of similar centers.
For further information, please contact Atul Tandon, Founder|CEO, Tandon Institute™ at email@example.com.
How would the world respond if those in power started living generously? Jose Mujica, the President of Uruguay has been nicknamed the ‘poorest President in the world’ for his austere lifestyle choices. While many heads of state find no expense too large, Mujica has made extravagant choices in other ways.
Instead of the usual Presidential Palace he has chosen to live on his wife’s farmhouse outside of the city where they both live a simple existence farming flowers. The entrance to his presidential quarters is guarded only by a few policemen who pay their respects to the leader as he drives by in his 1987 VW Beetle. Mujica has chosen to live off of 10% of his salary, donating the other 90% (about $12,000 a month) to charity and small entrepreneurs in Uruguay! While his administration has received criticism for various liberal policies, one thing seems clear, President Mujica does not care for the lavish lifestyle he sees so many other wealthy statesmen living.
Here’s how Mujica described some of his decisions:
“I’m called ‘the poorest president’, but I don’t feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more.”
“This is a matter of freedom. If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself.”
“I can live well with what I have.”
Though his actions may not stem from a belief in God as the Author of Generosity (he has stated he holds no belief in ‘a god’), it is still incredible to see someone so readily make a choice to not raise their standard of living. There is no doubt that leaders in the free world have a very difficult job and should be compensated for their sacrifice and work. But what if they started living on less? What if they made a choice to live like many average citizens? How would that encourage others to live on less than they have to?
Click here to watch a short video on Jose Mujica’s life as the ‘poorest President in the world.’
Many of us have been taught and know that God owns everything, and because of that we are to live generously with all that we have been entrusted…but what does that look like in the context of our very bodies?
A Division I athlete has decided that it means giving up his athletic career to be generous. Cameron Lyle, a Senior track star for the University of New Hampshire, found out he was a perfect match to donate bone marrow for a young leukemia patient – something he was told had a 1 in 5 million chance of happening. His donation to this patient will likely save the young man’s life while confining Cameron to not being able to lift anything above 20 lbs over his head. For a track athlete that specializes in throwing heavy objects the choice was clear – this would be the end of a sport he loved.
When asked about his decision Cameron had this to say: “I knew right away I was definitely going to donate…he has six months to live and I have the possibility to buy him a couple more years.”