Monday, December 28, 2009

Causes I Believe In: One Day's Wages

Scripture teaches to be giving people. As followers of Jesus, we know that everything we have belongs to God, and we are called to be aware of how our resources can help further His purposes in the world. We are challenged to give sacrificially to make a difference in the world.

What charities, causes, non-profits, etc. do you support? Why?

I believe that as a member of Redeemer Covenant Church, I need to be committed to supporting my local church with my tithes and offerings. In addition, Luanne and I support some other causes. We can pray for them, we can raise awareness, we can encourage them... but sometimes we just need to put our money where our mouths are.

I've blogged about one cause that we support, The Marin Foundation. Today I want to talk about another exciting new way to make a difference.

Eugene Cho is a pastor I've admired for a long time. He is the founding & lead pastor of Quest Church (an Evangelical Covenant church) and the founder & executive director of Q Cafe. Born in Korea, he immigrated to the U.S. at age six and grew up in San Francisco.

Eugene blogs regularly at and is considered one of the most prominent bloggers on issues of Justice, Faith, Ministry, and utilizing social media for good. He also serves as one of the Contributing Editors of Sojourners Magazine.

Eugene is the co-founder (along with his wife, Minhee) and executive director of One Day’s Wages (ODW) – an international grassroots movement dedicated to ending extreme global poverty.

ODW promotes awareness, invites giving, and supports sustainable relief through partnerships, especially with smaller organizations in developing regions. Its vision is to change global issues of injustice affecting millions of people, regardless of race, culture, sex, age, or religion. Nearly half the world lives on less than us$2 per day; nearly 25,000 children die every day of poverty-related causes; 1 billion people do not have access to clean water.

Eugene and Minhee's story is compelling:

We're your average family. We live in Seattle. We fell in love and married in 1997 and have three young children. We're neither poor nor rich; simply a middle class family with privilege because we know that we have so many opportunities that many in the world do not have.

We've always known of the disparity in the world; Always knew the statistics. In fact, we've memorized them and know the numbers by heart. But it was traveling to a few places and seeing with our own eyes the faces, stories, children, and families behind the numbers that "wrecked" our lives. It was seeing organizations and women, men, and children do amazing work to uplift themselves out of poverty - if only given respect, dignity, and opportunities. It's by far more complex but it's also very simple:

It shouldn't be this way and doesn't have to be this way. We have the capacity to end extreme global poverty.

These are some of the reasons that compelled us take a step further, make some life decisions and start One Day's Wages. We made a decision to donate our 2009 income ($68,000) to the cause of fighting extreme global poverty. But we didn't want to stop there. We also wanted to invite our family, friends, and the rest of the world to consider donating just their "one day's wages" and be part of this international grassroots movement. And then to renew that pledge at least every year on their birthdays.

While we've received our share of questions and criticisms, we decided to make our donation public not because we wanted pats on our back but to let people know that

we are not asking others to do something we aren't willing to do ourselves.

Over the next five years, our pledge is to donate an additional one month's salary to organizations through ODW to honor our initial public pledge of $100,000.

Money isn't the solution - at least not by itself. The greatest resources are people. Our voices matters. Our donations do make an impact when invested properly through organizations that are transparent, efficient, and strategic in not creating dependency but rather, creating opportunities and empowerment. Your donation doesn't have to be through ODW...we don't care. We just want to remind you that you can make a difference.

Our goal is not to re-invent the wheel. There are some incredible organizations and individuals doing amazing work; Our goal is to partner and collaborate. We are certainly not the first and thankfully, we are not the last to care about these issues.

Thanks for inspiring us and joining the ODW movement.

With gratitude,

Eugene & Minhee Cho (+ our three children)

The statistics are difficult to comprehend, but imagine what we can accomplish together.

One Day’s Wages = 0.4% of one’s annual wages = Dramatic Impact for those living in extreme poverty.

Check out some recent coverage of One Day's Wages in the New York Times and the Seattle Times. Follow ODW on Twitter. Become a fan and promote the cause on Facebook.

See Eugene explain ODW here:

The Movement of One Day's Wages from One Day's Wages on Vimeo.

Most of all, please join Luanne and me in visiting the ODW website, creating a profile and donating one day's wages. A small amount could change a life forever.

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