It's Gene Rayburn Time! (Did I Just Date Myself?)
A truly sizeable chunk of coolness happened this week. Not like Kanye and Kim coolness or anything. More like Gene Rayburn coolness, if there is such a thing. In a minute I’m going to tell you about what happened. (Of course you can always just skip the tease and click on this link if you want to... but I hope you keep reading).
So, first a little story that's only about Gene Rayburn in a cursory kind of way. (Who is Gene Rayburn for gosh sakes?)
A friend of mine recently told me about a phone call she had “been on.” First off, “been on” doesn’t seem like a phrase I’d like associated with my phone time. And well, it wasn’t an association she liked much either.
“I called to figure out my insurance options and must have hit thirty buttons before I even got to the button that got me to the human.”
There’s another phrase that is haunting. “Got me to the human.”
Now, for the sake of this blog, take a moment and imagine that everyone treated you like you were on hold. Think for a moment what it would be like to have your life on hold and in the hands of faceless, amoral, amorphous, robo-responders. And what if I told you that the tools you possessed to “get to the human” were exhausted. What if all you had left was that dread sense of utter helplessness? What would you do?
I mean, we’ve all kind of been there so let’s not make it conditional. What have you done?
My guess is that the first thing you’ve done is get yourself to a real person. “To the human!” I mean, that’s the go to move, right? That’s the move an entrepreneur, a problem solver, makes. You go through the back door to where “that one dude lives.” You take your life off of hold by getting a hold of good people. Or at least the right people.
You’d be smart to do this. You’d be an entrepreneur.
But you’d also be fortunate. See, most folks who get stuck on hold in life don’t have the tools or the connections to fix their situation. This is especially true in oppressive cultures unlike our own. And many folks, even when they might have the connections, aren’t sure how to use them properly. They get scared, tight, unsure of themselves. And so they sit on hold. And they suffer. And that would be okay if that suffering was for their salvation. But for many they suffer without any hope. They suffer quietly.
Deep, abiding poverty is like this.
For many of the extreme poor, those who make less than 2 dollars a day, the world is closed off, shut down, on hold. There is an inchoate and relentless chaos where there should be order. The super poor are exhausted, literally. They know neither who to call, nor what to say. But trust this; they know what ails them. They are acutely aware of just how crappy the phone system is and they know how to make it better. Some even know how to make it great, to turn it all in their favor.
First Things Foundation wants to help these brilliant, poverty stricken problem solvers “get to the human.” And believe us, these home grown entrepreneurs are out there! From the slums of Sierra Leone to the rural wastelands of middle America they are out there. We aim to give them access to answers and to people who can turn their dream for a better community, a better life, into reality. That is what we do. And guess what, some people like what we do. In fact, one person likes it enough to have made a pledge for $50,000.
Yep. That’s the big coolness I told you about earlier.
But she is teasing us, and you. She won’t pay out unless we can get others to pay in. I think that makes it Gene Rayburn time!
Let’s do a match game! This donor will turn every dollar you give into two. He’ll turn 30 into 60. 100 into 200. And she'll keep doing it until she taps out at $50,000. Let’s tap her out! But what will a match of 50k actually do?
Check out what your money will do this Christmas season when invested in FTF:
Create 160 new full time jobs in some of the world's most destitute neighborhoods (based on methodology and evaluations already done by our friends at the Sirolli Institute).
Train and finance 60+ local entrepreneurs and their ideas
Increase disposable income thresholds by 2-3% for local women and their families. Studies show when this happens kids go back to school, especially in agrarian societies like Guatemala, Sierra Leone and Immokalee USA.
Finance all costs associated with placing four FTF entrepreneurs in some of the world’s toughest neighborhoods working 24/7 for 20+ months.
Reduce dependence on bad governments and foreign handouts while increasing community health and well being
Increase sense of self worth in individuals while providing economic stability for hundreds of extended family members.
A match will create four “immersionships” for our partners including teachers for 2 orphanages, a teachers college and a hospice
Fund FTF to participate in the PPI program, (Progress out of Poverty Index). This program will help us identify those most vulnerable to poverty, integrating objective poverty data into our assessments and strategic decision-making.
With God’s help (in the form of giant dollops of humility) these things are possible. Probable even. But we need you to help us match our donor and her kindness. We can do this. In truth, you’ve already been doing it. Many of you give even when you are stuck on hold. Our donors are beautiful. Many of you give monthly. Some of you have dropped serious sums to get us overseas. You’ve reached out to give to others. We are trying to be like you! May we all do it together this holiday season. Click here and begin our Match Game! What an opportunity for FTF and for all of us to band together. Peace and love to all of you this Christmas season.