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Stewardship – What is in our Hands? | by Jonathan A. Moody

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“Every single person on the face on the planet is created in God’s image.  Everybody has capacity, talent, and ability…  Everybody has stewardship responsibility.”
– Rudy Carrasco, Effective Stewardship

I love this quote from Rudy Carrasco.  It reminds me God has gifted us with his image.  And innate in that privilege is a responsibility to bear it well – to use it the same way He does.  It’s true that each of us is in a different season of life.  Each has enjoyed, or endured, different experiences.  Each has been entrusted with a unique combination of time, talent and treasure.  But, essentially, we are all stewards – overseers of a great gift.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines stewardship as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”  However, we often underestimate the value of the life and influence God entrusts to our care.  Ultimately, the gift-giver will want to know what we did with His generous present.  With that in mind I ask, do we see everything in our hands as a seeds of hope and potential?  If so, are we planting those seeds in expectation of a fruitful life?

Not that it is always easy.  For instance, my current season of life includes stewarding my two young children: David, 4, and Ruby, who isn’t quite 2 years old.  They’re undoubtedly amazing – easily my favorite people.  However, they are still normal kids.  And, of course, in many ways I’m a normal parent.  So, amid the shrillest screams and most piercing cries I need to remind myself of the unfathomable promise that lays in their young lives.  I have to see beyond their temporary normalcy, past my own even, and remember that I’m a steward called to take care of their childhood in a manner that bears fruit for their adulthood.

A stewardship approach to life requires a shift in perspective.  A steward focuses on what he or she has rather than what they don’t have.  As a dad I could focus on not having two grown children who have great jobs and bring me chocolates on the weekend.  Ironically, if I did so, the two children I actual have would have a smaller chance of growing into those future adults.  If I want to see growth, I have to focus on David and Ruby exactly where they are, as they are.

This concept is deeply rooted in the Judeo-Christian worldview. Exodus 4 gives us a clear example of the concept.  Moses was on the lam, hiding in the desert while the children of Israel toiled as slaves to Pharaoh.  Though God could have acted on his own in the situation, He chose to partner with his steward, Moses.  And God started the process of Isreal’s rescue with a simple question: “Then the Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ (Exodus 4:2, NIV)”

This is the basic concept of “asset based development,” a philosophy that encourages us to when we approach development with a focus on the assets rather than the needs of a community.  The essence of the PovertyCure message is that when an individual is free to steward what he or she has in their hands, they will see it grow.  As our statement of principles puts it,

We are stewards of creation with freedom and responsibility.  The earth is a gift to be developed responsibly.  The stewardship approach to creation encourages holistic and sustainable development.  Stewardship theology cautions us against crass and hedonistic exploitation of the natural realm.  Likewise, it warns us away from viewing nature as divine, or the earth as a sanctuary to be left undeveloped.

Pastor Erissa Mutabazi, the Rwanda Country Director for Hope International, makes this point succinctly in a video devotional entitled “What’s in Your Hands?”.  In it, Pastor Mutabazi states, “We can’t help but ask, what will happen if, instead of focusing on what we don’t have, we consider what God has already given us… our talents, our dreams, our motivations, and offer them back to him as an act of worship.”

God has called us to be stewards of his creation and to not underestimate what we have in our hands.   In an effort to apply that truth more deliberately, I recently went through the exercise of writing a life plan based off the book, Living Forward, by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy.  I cant’ recommend it highly enough.

Another excellent resource is Effective StewardshipIn this five-session video study, hosted by Dave Stotts, you will learn how to think critically and biblically about the areas of responsibility that God has entrusted to you.

Again, as Pastor Mutabazi says, “God has given each one of us gifts and he invites us to use them, no matter how small they may seem.  We serve a God who fed thousands on five loaves and two fish, … imagine what might happen if a movement of Christ followers use the gifts God has given to bring healing into a broken world.”

So, what do you have in your hands that you will accept the challenge to be a better steward of?  Let us know in the comments to be entered to win this week’s prize!

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Jonathan A. Moody is the Managing Director of PovertyCure, an Acton Institute Initiative.  

The Heroes in the Middle | by Jonathan A. Moody

Winglow Clothes and Textiles Limited

PovertyCure has historically encouraged individuals to move from asking, “what ends poverty?” to, “what creates wealth?”  So, as a matter of course, our mission begs the question, “what does wealth look like?”

Last month I traveled to the beautiful country of Ghana, where I saw the answer to that question with my own eyes.  I witnessed men and women put in hard work to build their own businesses.  Those businesses, in turn, created jobs that release individuals to use their gifts and talents.  The money that is earned is spread through the community as the employers and employed use their income for that most human of activities – taking care of their families’ needs and desires.  Value is created, God is honored and wealth is understood.

My host on this economic tour was Fanny Atta-Peters, founder of The Hopeline Institute.  Hopeline fosters more than 10,000 entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout the nation of Ghana.  They receive training, mentorship and/or access to capital.  It’s a fantastic program that is bearing fantastic fruit.

Small to Medium Enterprise – Demystified

In today’s global economic landscape the word, “business” conjures multiple, often contradictory mental images.  One person imagines a lone entrepreneur building their humble native-crafts business through microfinance loans.  Another envisions a large multinational conglomeration with their corporate fingers in everything from natural gas extraction to the sale of custom ordered socks.

Developing countries, like Ghana, often exhibit both extremes.  The local people are incredibly driven, entrepreneurial and hard working.  High numbers of individuals engage in commerce through very small businesses.  This phenomenon is most visible in large cities where one can readily see thousands of entrepreneurs hustle to sell trinkets to tourist and small household goods to each other.

In those same environments it’s easy to spot the second extreme: a much smaller number of very large, dominant corporations.  It may be the near ubiquitous presence of brands such Coca-Cola, the abundance of Western hotel chains and even financial institutions.

However, what you are unlikely to see is the middle ground – healthy “mom & pop shops” that act to boost locals into the middle class and serve as a means of handing down wealth from one generation to the next.

But, the reality is that successful economies thrive on what are known as small to medium enterprises (SMEs).  These are businesses that grow and employ others, create value and spur broader economic growth. The PovertyCure Documentary Series broadly defines SMEs as businesses with 5-500 employees.  In fact, the majority of developed economies are comprised of businesses in the middle.  Many developing economies suffer from a lack of these economic powerhouses.  Economist and development experts refer to this lack as “the missing middle.”

Increasing numbers of people accept that traditional forms or charity and/or aid do not solve the complex problems surround poverty.  There is also growing buy-in of the notion that local economies need businesses to truly thrive.  Still, the question remains, “how do we grow the missing middle?”

Fanny Atta-Peters, Executive Director, Hopeline Institute  with Beatrice, her training manager and  Betty, the business development coordinator.

Fanny Atta-Peters (middle), Executive Director of Hopeline Institute with Beatrice, her training manager and Betty, the business development coordinator.

The Hopeline Institute is truly important because they provide a working answer to this great dilemma.  And it’s not mere academics.  They give an ongoing example.

As I mentioned above, Hopeline has partnered with more than 10,000 entrepreneurs and business leaders across Ghana.  They are registered as a Financial Non Governmental Organization (FNGO).  As such they offer both microfinance solutions for budding entrepreneurs and larger loans for functioning SMEs.

Mrs. Atta-Peters conceived of Hopeline during her graduate work.   She officially formed Hopeline in 2007 with $4,900 as seed capital for loans.  Hopeline’s goals were simple – to empower women and connect women entrepreneurs with the training and tools they needed in order to professionalize and grow their businesses.  They wanted to share basic business principles in order to enhance the day-to-day work of these entrepreneurs.  They provided training in areas such as bookkeeping, customer service, value of personal health, and the wellbeing of the family.  However, they also added a Christian component, letting the Bible speak on business and our well-being.   They started with 60+ women and graduated 43 women from their first four-week training program.

As if that isn’t impressive enough, Mrs. Atta-Peters gave birth to twins that same year!

The training required two hours each week for four weeks – valuable time to give up.  However, there was an enticing incentive… access to capital.  After successfully completing the four-week training program, graduates were then eligible to apply for financing to start or grow their businesses.  This element is a key to their success in creating the missing middle.  It’s easy to take for granted that training and relationships are as vital to long-term growth as access to capital.  But, Hopeline prioritizes this truth in their four pillars:

Four Pillars of the Hopeline Institute:

  1. Mentoring
  2. Training
  3. Access to capital
  4. Advocacy

In 2012, they received a loan from Partners Worldwide, (also a PovertyCure partner), to help offer affordable loans to micro, small and medium businesses.  And they’ve put those funds to tremendous use.  After all, Hopeline knows there is no simple fix or “silver-bullet” to solve poverty or grow an economy.  In the end, it takes relationships, constancy and integrity – qualities Hopeline possess in spades.

Hopeline’s approach demystifies the process of building the missing middle.  As a result of Fanny Atta-Peters and her army of principled entrepreneurs and business leaders, communities in Ghana are beginning to thrive.

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Jonathan A. Moody, Managing Director of PovertyCure with Awurabena Okrah, CEO of  Winglow Clothes and Textiles Limited, and her team in Ghana.

 

Convening to Flourish | by Jonathan A. Moody

Convening to Flourish

When was the last time being with a group of other individuals inspired you?  Was it a conference?  At Church?  On the golf course?

PovertyCure values local knowledge. We’d even go so far as to assert that the best way to solve problems is to connect people and ideas in conversations that apply to a local context.

This is why the “freedom of assembly” has intrinsic social value. Societies that don’t enjoy this basic liberty suffer from more than unfulfilled community potential. If people can’t gather and communicate their thoughts on a problem, it’s simply harder to do anything useful about it. Many of us take for granted the ability to convene around what we believe in, whether it’s our faith or our support for principles of freedom and entrepreneurship.

I’m writing this bog post while in Accra, Ghana, where I’m thrilled to convene with leaders in in business, entrepreneurship, academics and the church.  This week I’m at the Africa Liberty Forum – a fantastic conference cohosted by the Atlas Network and IMANI.  Among other things, I’ll get to take part in the Ghanian premier of Poverty, Inc. and co-host dynamic discussions on how the ideas in that tremendous documentary can be applied by development organizations and businesses on the local level. It’s powerful stuff – these are moments that can change the course of communities all over this amazing continent.

The good news is that you don’t need a plane ticket to Africa to be part of the conversation. You can pick up a copy of Poverty Inc. on Amazon.com, the iTunes store, and soon it’ll even be on Netflix!  You can convene your own “think tank” with your own circle of influence – and we’ve got some great tips on how to start right here: www.PovertyInc.org.

Next week I will join nearly 1,000 people from 60+ countries at Acton University – or as we like to call it, AU – in Grand Rapids, MI. Nearly 70 of the world’s foremost scholars in the fields of economics, theology, philosophy, sociology and much more, will be present. Attendees will gain a better understanding of the connection between their faith and economics. Many will leave with both charged hearts and changed minds.

In fact, I’m sure many of you will be there – please find me and say hello! If you’ve never been to AU, you may want to sign up now for next year. It always fills up fast – so it’s never too early to make plans. You can find out how to register here: www.university.acton.org.

It’s true that the digital age offers incredible opportunities to learn from almost anywhere. Still, there’s an invaluable benefit from interacting with others in-person. While Acton University boasts more than 200 different courses, for me the greatest inspiration comes from hanging out with the nearly 1,000 people from across the globe – all of whom want to see more humans in more places, flourish. I’m grateful for the example the Acton Institute sets.  They put their money where their mouth is and gather individuals from around the world to connect, in person, around the truth.

We recognize that the global movement around free and virtuous societies and enterprise solutions to poverty requires individuals to connect, share local knowledge and agree on ways to make an even greater impact. So, this year PovertyCure will to convene a special series of breakout sessions that will include guest speakers Bob Lupton, Magatte Wade, Joel Hammernick, and Chris Horst.  And we’re blessed to scholarship 35 PovertyCure Fellows from 4 different countries 17 American states.

And we want to hear from you!  Please share in the comments below – what gatherings have inspired you?  What problems are you helping to solve in your community?  Will you be at AU? Let us know!

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Jonathan A. Moody is the Managing Director of PovertyCure, an Acton Institute Initiative.  

A Culture of Trust | by Jonathan A. Moody

Culture-of-Trust Jonathan Moody

I traveled to Washington DC with my family last month. Rather than check into an obscenely expensive hotel, I used Airbnb.com to rent out a personally owned basement apartment from Daniel – a nice guy who was, up to that point, a complete stranger.  On that same trip I used the Uber app on my iPhone to order a ride across town.  Within minutes, Bereket, another complete stranger, arrived.  For a few dollars he drove me from my AirBnB to my meeting in his personally owned Toyota Rav4.

Now, Uber even offers a service called Uber Pool that allows you to share a ride with yet another complete stranger who happens to be headed in the same direction.  Both passengers pay even less and the driver makes even more.

So, why would I stay in a home owned by a complete stranger and then get in a car with a complete stranger (or two)?

Simply put, I trust them.

AirBnB, Uber, Amazon and dozens of other mostly-online services trade on an emerging culture of consumer trust bolstered by customer ratings, feedback and word of mouth spread via social media platforms.

Then again, in some ways this is nothing new.  After all, I was staying next door to complete strangers when I was overpaying for a hotel room.  And I never took a cab with a driver I new in advance.  By and large, the US enjoys a culture of trust.  These new web-based companies simply make it easier to engage with it.

After reading the reviews, I trusted Daniel to provide us with a safe and clean place to sleep for a few nights at a reasonable rate.  Likewise, after checking out Bereket’s stats, I felt comfortable hoping in his Rav4 for a cross-town trip.  In both cases, my trust was validated.

I write all of this for you now because it exemplifies a key tenant from the PovertyCure Statement of Principles:

The state of our culture matters:  Christianity reminds us that poverty alleviation is not primarily a resource problem.  Like all human endeavors, wealth creation takes place within a cultural context… Societies that enable human flourishing require cultures that promote trust, honesty, reasoned discourse, and respect for the dignity of the person.

We all want to see people flourish.  We want to see healthy, thriving communities – from Chicago, IL and Ferguson, MO to Kigali, Rwanda, and the Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  The PovertyCure conversation exists to help us all ask ourselves the tough questions: How can we help individuals get on a true path out of poverty?  How will they sustain prosperity?  How do we promote self-sufficiency rather than dependency?

It doesn’t take long to realize that any rational answer to these questions requires a level of trust between people if it going to be successfully implemented.  And that trust has to extend beyond aid organizations and recipients on the ground.  The individuals that comprise communities in need must enter into voluntary, trust-based collaborations with each other.

Interpersonal trust is an essential element of every transaction – every financial and cultural decision that creates and spreads wealth.  If I trust you, I can buy from you.  If I buy from you, you’ll have money to meet your needs and eventually reinvest so that your endeavors will grow.  So, that small step of trust is the first motion toward a virtuous cycle that can, overtime, upend generations of lack.

Early this year I had the chance to learn from some of our PovertyCure partners in Guatemala.  While there I was amazed by the impact of a local company called Ecofiltro.  They make organic clay pots that filter out the disease causing microbes from water.  A family that owns one of these amazing devices has access to unlimited, clean drinking water.

Equally as impressive is their business model.  Before entering a new area Ecofiltro identifies someone in that community who is highly trusted by their fellow-residents. They build a relationship with him or her and earn their confidence in both the product and the organization.  Once they have a strong relationship, they employ that person as a “community entrepreneur” to represent Ecofiltro to the friends and neighbors who already know and trust them.

When it comes time to sell the product, the customers rarely hesitate.  They trust their neighbor.  If he or she says Ecofiltro is a great company with a life-saving product, well, their word is as good as gold.  As a result, a local company, employing locals, turns a profit selling a product that the community desperately needed anyway.  It’s a true win/win.

Trust requires more than mere information.  It requires first-hand knowledge about a person or organization.  Thus, trust is not built overnight, but over time.  We can’t just show up with a box of free t-shirts and a water pump and expect lasting change.  If we’re going to make a long-term difference, we need to prayerfully pursue long-term relationships that value local knowledge and foster local trust.

I encourage you to take some time this week and think of at least one way you can strengthen a culture of trust in your home, workplace, church or community.  You can trust me when I tell you; it’s worth the effort.

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Jonathan A. Moody is the Managing Director of PovertyCure, an Acton Institute Initiative.  

So Detroit May Flourish | by Jonathan A. Moody

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“Detroit Makes You Sick.”  That is the cover story of the April 8, 2016 edition of Newsweek.  The article that follows states that much of the Motor City region is plagued by unhealthy water and polluted air. “It’s not just Flint. People all over the Motor City are being poisoned while officials look away.”

The current news frenzy only adds to nearly a decade of the media’s “love to hate” relationship with Motown.  By now, most are familiar with the stories: bankruptcy, corruption, crime and the intractable decay of a once powerful American metropolis. However, this is far from a complete portrayal of contemporary Detroit and gives no inkling of what its citizens actually have to offer.

God did not create cities or nations or the U.N. He made individual people, formed in His image, joined into families and called to flourish – to be fruitful and multiply.  The media perspective ignores the simple truth that Metro Detroit is home to 5.3 Million individuals.  Each and every one of them possesses dignity and amazing creative capacity.  When seen from that vantage, no challenge is too big.

My recent conversation with Detroit based Pastor Aaron Richardson, who leads both the Evangel Ministries’ Economic Restoration Group (E.M.E.R.G) and the Urban Enterprise Project (UEP) provided more than ample proof that Detroit can rise again.

Over the course of our conversation he pointed out that one harmful and inaccurate assumption is, “there’s no opportunity in Detroit.”  However, he, and many other pastors, business leaders and active citizens reject that notion out of hand.  And, they are working tireless to prove the negative guesswork wrong.

Informed by Christian tradition, these groups embody the principle of subsidiarity – the idea that social and economic problems should be solved by those closest to them. They eschew the dangers of institutional, detached and distant bureaucratic assistance, which inevitably breaks down the community bonds that best maintain transparency and accountability. Instead, they promote community based voluntary associations that play a key role in lasting economic and social development.

It’s working. I recently sat in on UEP’s Lion’s Den Business Pitch Competition. Four entrepreneurs competed for a top prize of $10,000. This project started with a group of 10 Pastors throughout the city who went through an intensive training program that equipped them to identify and cultivate entrepreneurs and business leaders in their church communities.  This is only the beginning for them.  They’ll host an employment conference in August 2016 and have every intention of growing from there.

Pastor Richardson also pointed out the striking correlation in the significant downturn in the number of Churches and the failure of the city to thrive economically. Over a 10-year period 50% percent of the churches closed! He credits this decrease to multiple factors – all of which their ministry, think tank, and network of pastors and business leaders are working hard to address.  For Pastor Richardson, the connection is clear.  As the community of God falters, so falters the community at large.  They realize that transformation that endures does not result from a “quick fix” mindset. He points out that, “One of the biggest problems is the unwillingness to stay the course.”

That is precisely why he founded The Urban Enterprise Project.  The UEP is a think tank focused on efficacious, intentional, community based development in Metro Detroit.  Simply put, connect ideas to actions that work!  They promote human flourishing through the integration of faith, work and sound economic principles. They recognize the local church has a key role to play.  They also acknowledge the need to involve leaders from other arenas.  As a result they’ve built strong partnerships that include business coaches, mentors, venture capital investors, and a host of other civic connections.

Their approach is tailored to the specific needs of Detroit’s diverse population pockets. Pastor Richardson describes is best, “We’ll leverage whatever the assets are in that specific community so there’s not cannibalization on this cookie cutter approach.  Every community has its own special, unique assets.”

When asked about the top challenge to their work, Pastor Richardson responded,

“The sentiment of the people is they want to thrive but there are philosophical barriers when it comes to race, and when it comes to education, and when it comes to what is called the ‘shadow economy’ (economic and business activity done outside of legal structures due to significant barriers).”  Therefore, they encourage others throughout the city to focus on more than economic development. The goal is to remove barriers that block any part of an individual’s life – spirit, soul, body, socially or financially.

The task may be daunting, but the case for hope is greater than the case against it.  As Pastor Richardson points out, “Since 2011 up to 2015, there has been a massive effort of people coming together to love on the city of Detroit in special ways… Our asset is people.”

Detroit has a bright future. But, where challenges exist, I’m confident that there are local solutions that can catalyze lasting change.  To quote Pastor Richardson one more time, “People need to know that Detroit has what it takes to be a thriving, world-class city, just as much as any other… There’s hope in this city.”

It inspires me to see the body of Christ in Detroit reach far beyond the Church walls with a holistic view of what the Gospel has to offer.  I am confident that there is a cover story in Detroit’s future that reads “Detroit Makes You Flourish.”

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Jonathan A. Moody is the Managing Director of PovertyCure, an Acton Institute Initiative.  

The Importance of Private Property | by Jonathan Moody

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Stop for a moment and think about the most successful economies in the world.  Imagine what would happen if no one in those countries could own land or other goods they purchase.  Would that impact their success?  

If your gut-reaction is “yes, of course,” then you (like most) believe people have a right to acquire private property.

This is not a new concept.  In fact, the Ten Commandments assume that property ownership is a natural part of the human experience.  In Exodus 20:15 we read, “You shall not steal.”  This clearly implies that individuals own “things” (i.e., private property) and that an individual’s property should remain theirs, protected by law.

It is easy to overlook topics like property rights when we discuss poverty alleviation. The current tendency is to focus on how to meet urgent needs rather than adjust systemic issues that act as roadblocks to individual and community fruitfulness.

But as Herman Chinery-Hesse, (aka, the Bill Gates of Africa), points out, “When one is born in any part of the world, your first wealth is the land you are standing on.   If there is an issue with that land and that land cannot be monetized, you have a problem.”  He goes on to say that due to a lack of clear land titles in Ghana, one can buy the same piece of property 4 or 5 times.

In recent months, my work with PovertyCure has brought me to Guatemala, Peru and Rwanda, in addition to good ol’ Grand Rapids, MI.  No matter where I go or how much “poverty” I encounter, I remain amazed by the dignity of every person I meet.  Each of us is created in the image of God and endowed with ingenuity, creativity, and the power of human enterprise.  This is as true in Timbuktu, Mali as it is in Paris, Texas – in Cleveland, OH as it is Shanghai, China.  The worth and potential of the human person is the same from the most advanced economy to every corner of the “developing world.”  

So, what makes one national environment different from another? Why do some societies prosper, while others languish?  I offer that the difference lies in a nation’s social norms, its institutions of justice and in the presence of rule of law, including the protection of private property.  

Specifically, individuals must be able to own property, including land, and be assured of some protection for their investment.  Otherwise, how can they take and multiply that resource in order to honor God and provide for their family?

This is a foundational concept within the PovertyCure Statement of Principles:

The rights and responsibilities of private property must be supported.  One of the crucial lessons of development economics is that the poor cannot create wealth for themselves and their families without secure property rights.  The Judeo-Christian tradition provides powerful resources for encouraging the property rights of the rich and poor alike.  It shows that private property is not an artifact of greed and possessiveness, as many believe, but rather a legitimate institution rooted in our role as stewards of what God has entrusted to each of us.

As economist Hernando DeSoto says, “Once you settle the issue of who lives where and who does what with who, people start understanding the value of standard rules, that you not only need to have rules that you and your group respect, but that everyone understands… that is the rule of law.”

Studies show that when a society offers a clear title of land ownership the positive impact is both economic and social.  People can capitalize on their resources and thus create wealth in a community.  And perhaps more importantly, people begin to see themselves as contributors – as the drivers of their own success rather than victims of their circumstances.  

Again, I quote Herman Chinery-Hesse, “We need to focus first on things like property rights … so people can take their ancestral land and borrow money against it to set up businesses and pay taxes … that is where our survival is and where our money is, and where progress will come from.”

For further reading on the Biblical foundations to property, see “The Biblical Roots of Private Property,” by Dr. Jay W. Richards.  For information on the status of property rights, rule of law and other barriers to development around the world, check out the Economic Freedom of the World Index, the Index of Economic Freedom and the Doing Business Report.

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Jonathan A. Moody is the Managing Director of PovertyCure, an Acton Institute Initiative.  

Welcome to the Conversation | By Jonathan A. Moody

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Poverty. More than a billion people spread over planet Earth awaken to this reality every day. For the rest, we often debate who is responsible to bring about change and who is best suited to do so for the unacceptably large percentage of humanity living in material poverty.

PovertyCure exists to help facilitate the global conversation on poverty and equip those engaged in conversation with resources that promote lasting, enterprise-based solutions focused on partnering with individuals and families in poverty. Every human bears the image of God and desires to walk in dignity. We are committed to support our network partners as they work faithfully to release that divine spark in communities around the world.

And everyone – businesses and nonprofits, government agencies and academics, longtime activists and the newly aware – everyone is invited to join the conversation. Every story counts, and we want to hear yours. Our broad network of partners are waiting to engage with you and provide a broad and deep platform for connecting to new opportunities and ideas – they’re the real deal.  And with you joining the conversation, it’s only going to get better. Will you join the conversation?

Why a conversation? As a young professional living in Washington, D.C., I found it to be a city of subcultures, cliques and “tribes,” defined often by a single perspective and an untested set of assumptions about policy questions. One has to be intentional about knowing the perspectives and assumptions of other people. So I started a personal blog called “The Conversation Guy.” I would simply write about my conversations with other people – especially those with individuals I didn’t naturally “need” to talk to – people on the metro, the homeless, people at an unrelated networking reception, and those who were of opposing political views. I was constantly surprised by what I’d learn. I began wanting to seek out those with different perspectives than me, whether in political or other areas. I believe my desire to connect unlikely conversations with each other and my passion to see people thrive in life has led me to my current leadership role with PovertyCure. I am grateful to work towards advancing a mission I believe in. I’m honored to be part of the conversation with you.

When it comes to helping those living in some form of poverty, most of us have something in common – compassion. And we typically have an opinion about what should be done to move people out of poverty and who should do it. Although we often end up in decidedly non-compassionate arguments about the role of the government, NGOs, or even the
church, most are motivated by a shared desire to see other people and
communities thrive, whether five miles away or 5,000 miles away.

I believe you and I are called to wrestle with the many issues that surface when we look beyond the simplistic, feel-good fixes to poverty, whether in our own community or in places thousands of miles from our experience and direct responsibility.

We’re excited to launch this newly improved website and blog to help provide an environment where you and I can continue a lifelong learning journey together around what works and doesn’t work, and why. More importantly, we can share things we find to be working, solutions that are helping individuals and communities make steady progress towards self-sustaining flourishing. As we move forward together, I will simply act as  moderator and convener, bringing together voices from around the world for us to learn alongside. Please let me know who you’d like to hear from and what topics you’d like us to dive into by emailing us at blog@povertycure.org.

Your partner in the conversation,

Jonathan A. Moody

Managing Director

PovertyCure