I have spent the last twelve years working among the global poor, people living on $1 to $2 per day. More than ever I realize that any approach to dealing with such severe poverty must be comprehensive. When my wife and I launched Living Bread Ministries we committed to what we call comprehensive church planting among the global poor. Our approach has been to plant churches and equip them to minister to their communities in a comprehensive way.
We have come to understand that real transformation in communities requires some type of development work. It is good to alleviate poverty in the short term, but much better to work to lift people out of poverty. The gospel and the presence of a local church are instrumental in changing lives and preparing people to overcome poverty, but there must be an opportunity to break the cycle.
Over the years, Living Bread has invested in various projects to teach people job skills and equip them for entrepreneurial endeavors. However, these have not achieved the desired goal. It is great to teach someone to make a product, but if their potential customer base is small and equally as poor the potential benefits are minimal. Imagine trying to lift your family out of poverty by selling a few trinkets at the local flea market. Every little bit helps, but it will never be life changing.
What if we could teach people to make a quality product and open a market for it in the US? This could really change lives, helping people support their families and sustain the churches Living Bread is planting. Unfortunately, this is beyond the scope of a non-profit. Organizations can sell products as fundraisers, but this can only account for a small portion of total revenue or the organization risks loosing its non-profit status.
This brings me to Freegrance Products LLC. Bárbara and I are launching this business as a complement to our work with Living Bread Ministries. Freegrance will create markets for products here in the US. We will give 10% of sales to Living Bread to fund poverty alleviation and development projects, with an emphasis on women and children who are vulnerable to human trafficking. These funds will be used to provide immediate relief to poverty, but also to equip people to make products that can be sold by Freegrance.
Freegrance will buy the products wholesale, providing income to the residents, and assume all of the risk of bringing the products to market. This will allow individuals to sell higher quantities at higher prices, thus helping to provide for themselves, their family, and their local church. This approach will serve to create more jobs and income than a non-profit can accomplish.
Freegrance will source some products from existing manufacturing as it will take time and resources to equip individuals to bring products to market. The 10% of sales being given to LBM will be used to accomplish this. By giving 10% of sales, instead of profits, Freegrance will be donating significantly more money and our customers will always know exactly how much of their purchase is assisting the global poor.
We hope you see the value in what we are doing. If so, please consider contributing to our Indiegogo campaign to help with the launch of Freegrance Products. (As a for-profit business there are no tax benefits to supporting Freegrance Products.)