I recently attended a meeting of the Food for the Hungry leadership in Africa. We talked about the corporate heartbeat that we recently articulated. I was thrilled at the level of understanding and passion invoked by this new guiding statement. The following video explains it.
The Heartbeat of FH
In coming up with The Heartbeat of FH (you can download that here), we asked ourselves what values God breathed into Food for the Hungry at our founding in 1971. As we talked, being the biggest relief and development organization in the world didn’t get our hearts pounding.
Instead, we defined our passion as being the best and most efficient organization in the world that graduates communities from extreme poverty.
Don’t get me wrong. We’ve always known we were called to graduate communities from extreme poverty and that we work hard to steward God’s Kingdom and the resources God has given us. In fact, I was inspired to join FH after reading that in the book about our founder, Larry Ward. (You can download a free copy of the ebook here.)
But we’ve learned a few things along the path that has taken us to where we are today. We’ve experienced what works and what doesn’t, and we’ve discerned how to recognize when a community can sustain its development on its own after we left. We’ve even determined how to measure the emergence of hope in a community. (Read about the role of hope in disasters here.)
Sustainability is Key
One of the things we learned a long time ago was that we needed to talk with community members to get their involvement in the development process. We asked them what they thought chained them in poverty. We helped them develop a plan and helped them implement it. Biblical worldview was and remains the umbrella under which we worked.
Now, we make it clear to the community that they bring as much to the table as we do, and that includes passion. We talk with them, help them develop and implement a plan, and work beside them as they work toward ending poverty in their own community. We measure their progress, and we move on when we know they can carry on without us. Our goal is to leave the community within 10 to 15 years.
With The Heartbeat of FH document as a guide, we refer to it with all decisions we make. We are a values-driven organization.
Are you a person who believes in Jesus (or doesn’t mind that we do)? Do you agree that the only way to make a sustainable difference in people’s lives is through relationships? Do the values we’ve articulated inspire you? If so, you might want to join us in our quest to be the best organization in the world that efficiently graduates communities from extreme poverty.