Archives For giving

by Alisa Hoober, Recruitment and Retention Manager

I used to think I was generous. Now I know I have a lot to learn.

I recently had an opportunity to visit HOPE’s savings program in Malawi. We traveled a windy dirt road for several hours to visit a savings celebration in a small village. After meeting for a year and a half, today was the day they were to celebrate the end of their latest savings cycle and receive back the money they had saved. Today was a day to celebrate their hard work. And they were ready to celebrate! We were greeted with singing, dancing, and hugs.

I learned a few things about generosity that day.

There is a difference between giving our leftovers and giving our first fruits.
Shortly after we arrived, we were told that the group had prepared a lunch for us. This was unexpected, but we accepted this as an incredible act of hospitality. We were so grateful. We sat down to a feast of rice, beans, nsima, and chicken. We later learned that this village ate chicken every six months. And they chose to share with us—visitors that they didn’t know. We enjoyed the meal and felt so blessed, knowing that this was an incredible gift we had been given.

This group gave from their first fruits, sharing their best with guests they hardly knew.

Continue Reading…

by Phil Smith, Director of Savings and Credit Association Programs

When you think about it, in our common vernacular, we use the word “hands” in so many different ways to describe the everyday events of our lives.

  • Ownership or responsibility: “I’ll leave it in your capable hands.”
  • Busy schedule: “My hands are full.”
  • Act of giving (sometimes with negative connotations): “We don’t want to just give a hand out.”
  • Protection from danger: “They didn’t lay a hand on them.”
  • Request for (or offer to) help “Could you give me a hand? I’ll give you a hand.”

Over the years, we’ve built up quite a vocabulary on our hands to communicate so much of, well, life! And looking to Scripture, there is the same—if not more—use of the word “hands” as a symbolic and literal descriptor of life.  Continue Reading…

You can never be poor, as long as you give.

Congolese proverb

This #GivingTuesday, across the U.S. and around the world, people are celebrating generosity. Often, when we think of giving, we might think of financial giving, which is much needed as we seek to equip families to break the cycle of poverty. But if we look to the Greatest Commandment—to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves—generosity takes on a deeper, much more relational meaning.

At HOPE, it is our greatest joy to walk alongside hard-working families as they put what they have in their hands—their skills, talents, and passions—to work, providing for their families and giving generously to their churches and communities.

Recently, after a community bank meeting in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, we asked a few HOPE clients to share what generosity means to them. Their words capture the loving heart of generosity we pray that each HOPE-network client lives out in their families and communities. Continue Reading…

by Ben Lewis, HOPE Supporter

One of the things that I love about HOPE International is how they give people the opportunity to work.

For many of us, the difficulty or monotony of work can sometimes make us feel more like Job in the Bible rather than blessed with vocation. But all it takes is a story like this one in The Wall Street Journal to be reminded of the blessing of work. In it, the journalist describes how people with autism, who once were deemed unemployable, are finding meaningful work at corporations like SAP and Freddie Mac. Patrick Brophy, a 29-year-old man with Asperger’s (a milder form of autism spectrum disorder), said, “Four weeks before joining, I was steadily more and more nervous. Within a month, [the work] was second nature. I had found myself.” This is indeed a beautiful and noble thing—Mr. Brophy is experiencing the blessing and dignity of work. Continue Reading…

Last year, nearly 4,000 individuals, families, churches, foundations, and businesses gave over $10 million dollars to support HOPE’s work in 16 countries around the world. At HOPE, we deeply value the partnership and trust of each donor, and we are committed to wise stewardship of the resources God has entrusted to us (1 Peter 4:10). As evidence of this commitment, HOPE received Charity Navigator’s highest rating for the sixth consecutive year, placing us among the top 3 percent of nonprofits nationwide.

As one of HOPE’s grant writers, I prepare proposals and reports for hundreds of HOPE’s donors. I know many of our donors by name, though I remain anonymous to all but a few. I know about their families, their businesses. I read about them in newspapers and pray for them with colleagues. And I am deeply touched by their sacrificial giving to HOPE’s mission.

But I have favorites…

My favorite donors are not the ones who give the biggest grants. They’re not the ones who give without asking questions or digging into the facts of where their money is going. My favorite donors are those who thoughtfully choose to give unrestricted funding to HOPE.

Unrestricted gifts—donations that aren’t earmarked for specific programs or countries—are the most generous because they give HOPE the flexibility to use resources in the current areas of greatest need. That could mean providing loans to empower entrepreneurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that continues to rank as one of the most difficult places to run a business in the World Bank’s Doing Business report. That could mean HOPE can recruit, hire, and train more fantastic staff like the savings facilitators serving more than 17,000 clients across the Philippines. It could even mean keeping the lights on in Lancaster, PA, where everyone from accountants to web designers to volunteers to microfinance advisors work hard to help HOPE achieve its core objectives. All these areas are vital (I can’t write in the dark) to HOPE’s mission of proclaiming the Gospel to entrepreneurs living in poverty.

Of course, we love receiving all kinds of donations—earmarked or not. HOPE uses each donation, whether $5 or $500,000, to further the Kingdom through Christ-centered microenterprise development, but unrestricted gifts provide the most leveraged impact. As we continue in our work with HOPE, my prayer is that each of us will be able to see how God uses our contributions and pieces them together into a greater vision.