One of the first faith-related arguments that Brandon and I ever had was about tithing. We agreed that God asks that we give 10% of our earnings to the church but we argued about what “the church” actually meant. He insisted that it meant the physical church that you attend or a local church in your area so they can do local ministry. I know he means well and I see his point, but I disagree.
If we attended a church I’d agree that we should tithe 10% to the local church in support of them, but we don’t. Since we don’t I feel like “the church” is the total body of the Lord and we should give to anyone or anything that supports work that we believe in. I don’t go as far as to say they must be a Christian faith-based organization because I know that some people, charities, organizations, businesses, like to keep religion as a private and personal matter. Since we don’t attend a church, I was able to convince him to see things my way.
What we look for are organizations that do work that we can support and stand behind. If I’m ever questioned about it, I want to be able to state my support of them proudly and openly. We regularly support 4 main charities (I chose 2, he chose 2) and I wanted to share my two favorites with you today.
If you don’t actively support any charitable organizations I hope you take the time to look into these favorites of mine.
This is, hands down, one of my all-time favorite charities to support. You may know I have a career in software but what you may not know is that it is in the utility industry. In fact, I’ve worked in the water utility industry in one capacity or another since I was 24 years old. Charity: Water is rated 92.29 on Charity Navigator with a 100 in Accountability + Transparency. That’s important to me because I know I can trust them to spend the donations appropriately.
According to the Charity: Water website,
“In 2004, I (founder Scott Harrison) left the streets of New York City for the shores of West Africa. I’d made my living for years in the big Apple promoting top nightclubs and fashion events, for the most part living selfishly and arrogantly. Desperately unhappy, I needed to change. Faced with spiritual bankruptcy, I wanted desperately to revive a lost Christian faith with action and asked the question: What would the opposite of my life look like?” *Italics mine*
The answer was a tour with Mercy Ships and founding Charity: Water. The purpose behind Charity: Water is to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Private donors cover their operating expenses so all donations go toward water projects. Their financials are an open book and you’re welcome to view them. They even GPS their projects when completed and share photos so you can confirm the work for yourself if you choose. They are fabulous.
Room to Read
Room to Read is another favorite of mine. I’ve supported this organization since 2009. They have a 91.33 Charity Navigator rating and they also have a 100 in Accountability + Transparency. They do so much incredible work to promote worldwide education and literacy. Room to Read even print books in the native language of diminishing cultures to try to help revive the language and keep the local culture alive. It’s amazing. I find them absolutely remarkable.
John Wood, the founder, wrote a book called “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World“. I read it years ago and it truly inspired me to do what I can to support those making change. John was so affected by a trip to Nepal that he returned to the USA, quit his job at Microsoft, and founded Room to Read. He tells a sweet story about his visit to Nepal. He met a local Headmaster that ran a school without books. He promised the Headmaster that one day he would return with books for his school. The Headmaster was kind but appeared to not believe John’s promise. After resigning from Microsoft, John did return to that village in Nepal and arrived with donkey’s carrying bags and bags of books. The Headmaster was so surprised! Many of Room to Read’s early projects were in Nepal.
They work to build schools, train teachers, publish native language books in dying languages, and promote worldwide literacy.
I’ve been a proud supporter of these two organizations for years. I love the work they do to move the world ahead and provide for those that need it. I can’t recommend them highly enough and if you’re looking for a way to make a difference in the world, supporting these two charities is a great place to get started.