July 18, 2014
As part of Coalfield’s Friday leadership meetings, staff members are reading the book “Toxic Charity” by Robert Lupton, which discusses how charity more so makes people dependent than empowered. By partnering with those in need and giving them opportunities to improve their lives through their own efforts, instead of simply doing things for them or giving handouts, real change can occur. The book includes an “Oath for Compassionate Service,” which staff members have adopted in order to help those it serves to gain independence and reach the goal they set for themselves:
1. I will never do for others what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves.
2. I will limit one-way giving to emergency situations.
3. I will seek ways to empower through employment, lending, and investing, using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements.
4. I will put the interests of the poor above my own (or organization) self-interest even when it means setting aside my own agenda.
5. I will listen closely to those I seek to help, especially to what is not being said—unspoken feelings may contain essential clues to effective service.
6. Above all, to the best of my ability, I will do no harm.