by Jenn Tarbell and Lance Wood
I (Jenn) worked in development for several years, raising money for a Christ-centered microfinance organization. Because the target demographic for these programs is typically adults who take out loans or join savings groups, people often asked me, “But what about the kids?”
In Scripture, we see that God has a special place in His heart for children: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” Jesus says in Mark 10:14-15.
In a world where we constantly hear about the vulnerability, exploitation, and oppression of children, many people feel passionate about supporting the next generation. And rightly so! UNICEF reports that approximately 385 million children live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.90 per day.1
Hundreds of organizations provide exceptional support to children through food programs, housing, education, sponsorship, orphan care, and more. These groups step in when and where parents cannot.
But what if parents could provide enough food for their kids? What if they could afford schooling? What if they could improve their housing? What if parents received a hand up—not a handout—so they could, in turn, care for the needs of their children without requiring the help of a program?
Microfinance has a powerful impact on kids. In our view, it’s the most compelling part of the story. Microfinance empowers parents to provide for their kids in ways they couldn’t before. In fact, VisionFund research shows that when a parent gets involved in Christ-centered microfinance, their child’s life improves 99 percent of the time.2 When parents are equipped with opportunity, kids win.
Thus our formula: Parent(s) + Opportunity = Kids Win.
We all have a role to play in helping to make sure that kids win! And we believe one way to help is with an investment of $4.83—enough to impact the life of a child for a year.
Why $4.83? HOPE International, a Christ-centered microenterprise development organization, reports that it costs $19.37 to serve one person in its microfinance or church-based savings program for one year.3 According to the United Nations, an average of 4.01 people live in each household in the countries where HOPE operates.4 When we divide $19.37 by 4.01, we learn it costs $4.83 to help one child for a year—an amazing impact on families and kids per giving dollar!
With $4.83, you could buy a large coffee, grab a medium-sized movie theater popcorn, or even pay for 30 minutes of big city downtown parking. But with that same $4.83, through Christ-centered microfinance, you could change the life of a child for a year—maybe forever. Four dollars and eighty-three cents!
While a pound of feathers may weigh the same as a pound of gold, their relative values differ enormously. Similarly, while $4.83 is $4.83 no matter how it gets spent, $4.83 spent in microfinance has much more value than $4.83 spent on something ordinary.
For ordering information or to learn more about $4.83, visit kids-win.com. This excerpt was used by permission.
Jenn Tarbell has spent over 10 years working directly for and with Christ-centered microfinance organizations as an employee, executive team member, consultant, and board member. She devoted significant time on the ground internationally with clients, workers, and donors seeing and evaluating these efforts in operation. She is also an entrepreneur and has spent the last three years working on various technology startups. Jenn’s deep passion is seeing lives transformed through business—especially microfinance.
Lance Wood is a businessman and a numbers guy. He’s a CPA and has spent 38 years in public accounting. He is currently a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PwC). In 2008 Lance discovered the magic of microfinance. He has concluded that Christ-centered microfinance is holistic, has the highest impact, and is the most cost-effective way to help kids. Period. He will tell you it still blows his mind.
1UNICEF and World Bank Group, Ending Extreme Poverty: A Focus on Children, Oct. 2016, p. 2, from UNICEF website, https://www.unicef. org/publications/files/Ending_Extreme_Poverty_A_Focus_on_Children_ Oct_2016.pdf, accessed October 11, 2019.
2VisionFund International, “Annual Report 2018,” from VisionFund website, https://www.visionfund.org/sites/default/fi les/2019-10/ VisionFund%20Annual%20Report%20FY18-Audit%20Report.pdf, p. 13, accessed October 11, 2019.
3HOPE International, Annual Report 2018, from HOPE International website, https://www.hopeinternational.org/about-us/financials, accessed October 11, 2019.
4The United Nations, “Household: Size & Composition, 2018,” The United Nations website, https://population.un.org/Household/index. html#/countries/840, accessed October 11, 2019.