Investing in People: The Path to Overcoming Generational Poverty

Poverty is Overwhelming

Today, nearly 700 million people worldwide live on less than $2.15 per day. That is a staggering number, but we also intuitively know that poverty is more complicated than simply not having enough money.

Oftentimes, our well-meaning attempts at alleviating poverty only serve to perpetuate the problem unwittingly. Urban activist and author Robert Lupton outlines what he calls “Toxic Charity”, in his book of the same name, as follows:

  • Give once, and you elicit APPRECIATION
  • Give twice, and you create ANTICIPATION
  • Give three times, and you create EXPECTATION
  • Give four times, and it becomes ENTITLEMENT
  • Give five times, and you establish DEPENDENCY

We can see here that perpetually giving handouts of money and/or resources is not a sustainable solution that leads to development, holistic human flourishing, or breaking the bonds of generational poverty for families living in some of the toughest places on earth.

Our History

Homes for HOPE’s founder, Jeff Rutt, is a multi-time America’s Best Home Builder Award winner, a proud Shore Consulting client, and still serves as CEO of Keystone Custom Homes. He was also a self-proclaimed “toxic charity addict.” Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Jeff traveled to Ukraine multiple times with his church, transporting containers of food, clothing, and medical supplies to the city of Zaporizhzhia. After several visits, their Ukrainian host, Pastor Petrenko, pulled Jeff aside and told him candidly that the shipments were not helping. Though people were accessing needed supplies, they had become dependent on their charity. Local businesses could not compete with the free handouts. Pastor Petrenko asked Jeff, “Isn’t there a way you can help us help ourselves?”

Emboldened by Pastor Petrenko’s challenge, and having just learned of the concept of microfinance, Jeff created HOPE International in 1997. Using profits from one of Jeff’s home sales, HOPE issued loans of about $500 each to 12 entrepreneurs, who then invested these loans in businesses and repaid HOPE – with interest! The local staff in Ukraine called Jeff and said they had good news and bad news. The good news was that they had many men and women ready to take out loans to invest in their businesses. The bad news was that they were going to need a lot more funding.

So, Jeff began raising money through his building industry friends, asking them to do the same thing he did, and Homes for HOPE was born to support HOPE International. Today HOPE serves in 24 countries worldwide, has disbursed $1.68bil in loans though microenterprise development strategies, and has equipped over 13,900 churches to serve their communities!

Our Solution

Homes for HOPE is a building industry response to global poverty. The World Bank says “Good jobs are the surest pathway out of poverty,” but it doesn’t end there. We invest in the dreams of entrepreneurs who are living in

 poverty around the world by giving them a hand up, not a handout, and addressing poverty holistically through biblically based business training, discipleship, and providing access to savings services and loans.

We seek to alleviate poverty in all its forms – personal, social, material, and spiritual – through mentorship and Christ-centered microenterprise development strategies that affirm the worth and dignity of the people we have the privilege of serving.

These talented men and women join solidarity groups, and cross guarantee each other’s loans. That, coupled with their training, hard work, faithfulness and determination leads to an incredible loan repayment rate of 98% which allows the HOPE network to recycle funds into more loans, exponentially increasing the impact of each donation we receive over time.

Join Us

To explore ways your company can creatively leverage its generosity and philanthropic efforts alongside Homes for HOPE to significantly impact lives in the fight against global, generational poverty, please schedule a meeting with us.

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