From the CEO

Feast and famine

The CEOs of national and international ministries headquartered in Colorado Springs—there are a slew of them—try to connect quarterly for fellowship and to compare notes. We’re doing it on Zoom these days, and our most recent call was this past Monday.

Several of us were singled out by our host to talk about what’s going on in our organizations, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the reports were what I expected; but what got my attention was what I heard from the leaders of ministries that are primarily engaged overseas. They all speculated that we will see serious famine in third-world countries at the end of 2020 and likely throughout much of 2021. COVID-19 has already broken a lot of links in the food production and delivery chain in these countries that do not have the safety nets the U.S., Canada, and other developed nations have. By this fall, they think it could be the biggest story globally. What’s more, planting cycles in the Southern Hemisphere have been disrupted, which will compound the problem for 2021 (and maybe beyond).

If the media’s focus this Thanksgiving and Christmas will be a fateful famine affecting millions of children, the focus of compassionate donors could easily shift from those in need in North America to those in despair internationally. If your spring contributions have been abundant—which many of you have confirmed is the case—just keep in mind that the fourth quarter might not be as robust.

I have not hesitated to remind members that donations to rescue missions and similar ministries were initially up in 2009, during the great recession. People couldn’t give as much, so they wanted their donations to count—to go to those who were helping the hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted. They chose rescue missions and domestic feeding/sheltering ministries. The university research projects, youth ballets, and history museums all took a hit. But when the realization of a new normal emerged, these other charities were again considered by donors. That resulted in a reduced number of donation dollars having to flow further to a bigger pool of nonprofits. Now, throw into that same scenario an international famine and the traditional charitable contribution incentive being removed from the tax codes.

I’m not saying this will definitely be the case in the months immediately ahead. But I am saying that perhaps we should reread Genesis 40:33-57 and look at the principles Joseph applied during a time of plenty in order to be stable during a time of shortage—which is a good idea anyway.

Speaking of food, yesterday was our Farmers to Families Food Box program call with CityServe, World Vision, and the White House Faith Based Office. What a great opportunity this is for you to get fresh food you can use—produce, dairy, meat, and milk—but also take collaboration in your community to a whole new level. Quite a few of our members were on the call and are ready to engage.