I raised $18,000 to work on Mercy Ships. I would not have been able to step one foot on the gangway if my friends, family, and anonymous donors hadn’t supported me.
Now I am working full-time and very happily receiving a salary! Hooray! It is a privilege to be in a position of prosperity. Remember that you are also in a position of prosperity. The following information from The Washington Post published in 2016 provides insight into how global wealth is distributed today:
Try visualizing the global wealth distribution like a pyramid:
The base comprises adults with less than $10,000 in wealth. This is the bulk of the global population — 71 percent, to be exact, who altogether own only 3 percent of global wealth, according to Credit Suisse data.
The next level up, with wealth of $10,000 to $100,000, contains 21 percent of the world’s population, but has 12.5 percent of its wealth.
The next level, from $100,000 to $1 million, has just 7.3 percent of the population and about 40 percent of the wealth.
And at the very top of the pyramid are those with over $1 million in wealth. This group contains only 0.7 percent of the world’s adults, but collectively they own 45 percent of the world’s assets, says Credit Suisse.
This information is astonishing. I used to fret over the privilege into which I was born and wonder, why me? Why is life so unfairly scaled? How did my family snag a place in the top 10%?
I will never find satisfactory answers to these questions because the truth is inequality is unsatisfying and unsettling. I must acknowledge the fact that I was born into affluence, take ownership of what I have been given, and do something with it. I encourage you to pause and ask yourself the following questions: can I walk? Have I received an education? Do I worry about having enough money for food? Do I have a place to call home? These are symptoms of financial wealth.
I want to use my personal position of power to better the world for other people. Financial generosity is a important to me and something I practice regularly. Please join me! Here are some of the organizations and causes to which I have given money and/or energy:
The Local Church (Grand Rapids, Michigan): this church is committed to loving its city. Church volunteers visit a local school called Ken-o-sha Elementary, which has a reputation of high staff turnover. TLC’s goal is “to love the teachers so well that no one ever wants to stop working there.” Healthy teachers foster healthy classrooms which grow healthy students. COOL! You can start by attending a service on Sundays at 10 am but don’t expect empty words: Pastor Toran has preached on topics such as white privilege, social justice, and porn–to name a few.
The Humanity and Hope United Foundation (El Progreso, Honduras): Riley Fuller started this non-profit after an upsetting trip where he felt like a tourist getting a poverty reality-check before returning again to affluence. This tension didn’t sit well with him so he set his mind to change the status quo. H&H adopts communities in Honduras and creates jobs and educational opportunities for locals. Want to be part of something small and familial? This organization is for you.
Mercy Ships (Lindale, Texas / Guinea 2018-2019): Mercy Ships is an international surgical ship that provides free surgeries for the world’s forgotten poor. The ship is 100% run by volunteers from over 40 countries. Approximately 1,500 surgeries are completed each year and thousands of people are affected by this vessel of hope. Yours truly volunteered there for 14 months and it changed my life. Google “the surgery ship” for an inside peek at National Geographic’s documentary about this organization. Want to be part of something big and global? Mercy Ships is for you.