International Charities Say Donations Could Drop by 15% a Year

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that charities that provide aid overseas could lose as much as $1-billion in donations per year as a result of the economic collapse.

Samuel A. Worthington, president of InterAction a coalition that represents international organizations, said that private donations to international-aid groups, which now total just shy of $6-billion annually, could drop from 5 to 15 percent annually during the downturn. “And those billions of dollars would translate into significant hardship,” he said.

If the crisis persists beyond the next 16 months, said Charlie MacCormack, president of Save the Children, in Westport, Conn., that could spell disaster for many international charities. “If jobs are still going away, and equity is still going away, and people say I don’t have a lifeline myself any longer, then it will be tough,” he said.

That said, the charity leaders expressed optimism that the long-term outlook for international-development fund raising was bright, as more Americans are showing an interest in the plight of people outside of the United States.

“People are much more aware of how interconnected we are and how our well-being depends on that of others,” said Mr. MacCormack. “The long-term trends are positive for our cause.”


Donating business skills to end the poverty cycle

Jon Ven Johnson is a Texan working in Laos, where he helps disadvantaged young people build a career. But Ven Johnson isn't an aid worker. He's an MBA with a background in management consultancy and what he's offering isn't charity -- it's years of business experience.

Ven Johnson works with a non-profit, MBAs Without Borders, that trains disadvantaged youths in Cambodia and Laos and gives them jobs carrying out IT services for international clients. The idea is that MBAs can help small businesses and not-for-profits by providing the know-how and experience needed to help them grow.

Founder Tal Dehtiar says, "I really believe that business might be the one way we can alleviate poverty. I don't believe the answer is handouts, but in developing and supporting businesses that can grow and hire 100 or 500 people. Think about all the families they affect."

Ven Johnson adds, "I bring the knowledge of how a business should run according to Western standards -- specifically, how finance departments are structured, the typical financial reports that should be produced each month and what measurements they should be watching to help them gauge their success."

After years of working as a management consultant in Houston, Texas, Ven Johnson and his wife, who also works for DDD, decided to use their skills to give something back. "I loved being a management consultant but I asked myself, 'How am I making the world a better place?' I was putting money in shareholders pockets and helping a company create a good product -- that's alright, but I thought, 'What if I used the same skills to really make an impact on the lives of people who really need it?'"


Helping the Poor and Needy has Layers of Reward

Ruth checked her email and there was only one note. A dear friend who she hadn’t been in contact with for awhile had written:

I'm going to be in your neighborhood this evening and I'd like to stop by for a visit.

With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets. "Oh my goodness, I really don't have anything to offer. I'll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner." She reached for her purse and counted out its meager contents. "Well, I can get some bread and cheese, at least."

She threw on her coat and hurried out the door. A loaf of French bread, some cheese, and a bottle of wine, leaving Ruth with only some change to last her until Monday. Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm.

"Hey, can you help us?"

Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn't even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags. "Look lady, I ain't got a job, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it's getting cold and we're getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, we'd really appreciate it."

Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad and, frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to. "I'd like to help you, but I'm a poor student myself. All I have is some bread and cheese, and I'm having an old friend for dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to him."

"Well, okay, I understand. Thanks anyway." The man put his arm around the woman's shoulders, turned and headed back into the alley.

As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a twinge in her heart. "Wait! Look, why don't you take this food. I'll figure out something else to serve my guest." She handed the man her grocery bag.

"Thank you. Thank you very much!" echoed both the man and woman. Ruth could now see that the woman was shivering.

"You know, I've got another coat at home. Here, why don't you take this one." Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman's shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street, without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.

When she got home, she checked her email, and saw she’d gotten another note from her friend:

It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat.

Love always, Jesus


The Lord said, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The Lord will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'


Money clouds the mind and heart

"As a rule, people who have money don't know people in need," saId Tanya Davis, 40, a laid-off security guard and single mother.

"I believe that the more I give, the more I receive, and that God loves a cheerful giver," Davis said. "Plus I've been in their position, and someday I might be again."

Pastor Coletta Jones, who ministers to a largely low-income tithing congregation in southeast Washington thinks that poor people give more because they ask for less for themselves.

"When you have just a little, you're thankful for what you have," Jones said, "but with every step you take up the ladder of success, the money clouds your mind and gets you into a state of never being satisfied."

[Excerpt of an article by Frank Greve, McClatchy]