"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." (Luke 12:48)
What is “ChooseAneed”?
Several of you have requested that we place the "Why ChooseAneed" article that was in our first newsletter here on the website. Below is the original article that explains the development of ChooseAneed. We hope this helps.
We are often asked why we started ChooseAneed and what we hope to accomplish.
Mary and I have been on several trips overseas for different purposes, some medical, some church related, and some related to college. On each of these trips our eyes were opened to the vast differences in the way we live in the developed world and the way others must live in the developing world. On each of these trips we saw many problems that I call “needs”. Many of these problems, or needs, were small things that I thought to myself “I could help with that”, “We could meet that need”.
A Church Story.
On one of our first trips, the group we were with must have been feeling the same thing as they were personally confronted by the richness of our lives. We had gone to a very rural Church service in Africa, an area so rural that we just drove over grasslands without a road to reach the Church. At the end of this service, the offering plate was passed and without any prior planning everyone in the group did their usual thing and placed money in the offering plate. I think many of us gave 10 or 20 dollars. We unwittingly gave a relative fortune to that Church and it was a huge deal. The typical offering may have totaled one US dollar but we had just given over 200 US dollars. To put this in perspective, consider a Church in the US that typically collects 250,000 dollars in a year. Our donation was the equivalent of a small group of strangers stopping by one morning and dropping a check for 500,000 dollars in the offering plate. The Church was so excited and many in the group felt great but I was somewhat conflicted for many reasons. We had given from our excess while the usual members had given sacrificially. The local members were giving up food or education or medicine when they gave money to the Church. I was maybe giving up a soda or a coffee. The donation was not bad and I think I learned later that the Church used it to build a new building and to help the surrounding community, but it opened my eyes to the fact that my excess was their riches. The children who would swarm me for my used water bottle made me realize my castoffs were their treasures. It was very overwhelming and years later I am still processing these trips. It was experiences like this one and many others equally as powerful that brought Mary and I to the point of considering starting ChooseAneed.
A few Cows?
On our last trip to Africa, Uganda, we were again confronted with many needs and a desire to help. We did not want to just hand out money or simply enrich one person with our gifts. We wanted the funds we had raised to be distributed fairly, to help the community, to be used in a way that would save or impact the most lives. It was through this kind of searching that we came across a “cow project”. We learned that the community we were staying in had worked for over two years on an idea for a community cow project. They had drawn up papers, had meetings, identified needs, identified responsibilities, and created a budget and five year plan for the cattle and how they would be used. They were only lacking the money to buy the cattle. Here was the answer to our desire to give responsibly and in a way that did not make us the rich Americans and them the poor beggars. They knew about cattle and they knew how to use them to better their community and they had a plan in place. We simply provided the capital to make the project a reality. We have since learned that the herd has almost doubled in size.
On a Napkin.
Shortly after making the decision to donate to this project we were in a cafe in Uganda and on a napkin we sketched out the concept of ChooseAneed as a way to bring these kinds of giving opportunities back home. We believed that if others at home knew of the need and knew of a way to make a difference, knew that they could help many people by meeting this need, that they would choose to give from their excess. We believed that it was important that 100% of the donation go to the project. We believed that it was important for the donor to see the results of their donation. We believed that there were plenty of small needs like the cow project that would never be funded by large funding agencies and that ChooseAneed could meet this need. ChooseAneed could serve as a network bringing together those with the needs, those with the knowledge to meet the needs, those with the power, and finally those with the funds to meet these needs. This was how and why ChooseAneed was born and I am thankful for your support this year. I truly feel like we are making a difference and saving lives as we carry out this work. I believe that working together we are saving more lives with this work than I am in my pursuit of medicine, and not just saving lives but improving lives. We are helping other humans who were simply born into a different set of circumstances and we are doing so in a way that does not reduce their humanity or deny them their dignity. It’s not simple charity work, it’s not a handout, it’s not an entitlement, but rather it’s a team effort to empower others to help meet their own needs and the needs that surround them. Let’s help those who want to help themselves. Let’s make the world a more just place together.
When I share ChooseAneed with others I often remind them that this is not just about raising money. There are many ways to help us and there are many ways to help others. If you are already involved in some form of charitable work, if you are already giving some portion of your time to improve the world then we applaud you and pray that you continue. We hope you will keep us in mind when you meet someone who might connect with this project. We do not simply need donors. We need people who find the needs, people who screen the needs, people who have been on the mission trips and know of a need we should put on the web site. We need people with the knowledge and skills to meet those needs. Yes, every monetary donation will help improve and save lives but we also know that there are many other worthy groups doing a similar work. If ChooseAneed is where you want to invest your time or your charitable donations we welcome you and thank you for choosing to join us in this project. We will promise to give 100% of your donation to the need you choose and we will post the results of your donation on our website when the need is completed. Thank you for a great year, I am looking forward to what we will accomplish together in 2008.
With Hope - Brian
As we look around the world we have seen people dying for lack of clean water, food, or basic healthcare. It is our belief that the barriers involved with foreign aid do not excuse us from a human, societal, or religious obligation to do something, no matter how small. We believe that what we CAN do is choose a specific need that we see, or someone else shows us, and then work to meet that need in some small way, financially or otherwise, through our knowledge or gifts. The goal of ChooseAneed is to help make those of us who can do something more aware of these specific needs, and then to help facilitate the meeting of those needs.
The needs that we feature are collected from around the world and are brought to our attention by our board members, ChooseAneed members, and our partner organizations. Typically we feature up to 25 needs at a time on the website.
You can always see the details and the postneeds report of previous projects by looking at our completed needs section of the website. All funds raised for the project go to the project. The board personally funds the administration and maintenance of this website.
This website is actively updated and we ask that you return frequently to see our progress and find new ways you may want to be involved.
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ChooseAneed Mission Statement
Identifying, Defining, Publicizing, and Meeting the lifesaving needs of others - one need at a time.
Vision and Goals
It is our vision that ChooseAneed will slowly grow to become a well run, efficient, non-profit that is well known and trusted for the needs it meets in individual lives around the world. ChooseAneed will outlast the founders and continue to meet the specific needs of individuals and groups long into the future.
ChooseAneed will choose needs, publicize them, solicit donations for those needs, provide receipts for these donations, fund the selected needs, and publicize the result of the funding of each need.
ChooseAneed will fulfill its mission and vision by choosing very specific attainable needs that accomplish one or all of the following broad ideals:
1. The promotion of social justice.
2. The provision of relief for the poor, distressed, or under-privliged as determined by ChooseAneed members.
3. The elimination of prejudice and discrimination in the world.
4. The support of the human and civil rights of individuals as created by their respective governments.
5. The support of the pursuit and development of individuals personal and spiritual growth around the world.