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Selfless acts of service to others are a key happiness-inducing practice. And yet a shocking percentage of us are more occasional givers than habitual givers. We’re missing out.

A friend of mine, Bob DePasquale, advises wealthy families on the “double bottom line” - the highest return on their investments and strategic charitable giving as a priority and integral to good living.

Bob tells me generosity is more than just an event or item. It's a mindset. Dopamine and oxytocin, the bonding hormones, are released when we give something to someone, creating a bond that goes beyond just the gift.  Watch my full interview with Bob here. 

The idea of Ascend Academy came to me slowly as layers of experiences, insights, and ideas on ways to practice philanthropy ( Philos = love and Anthropos = humankind in Greek).

I knew the low level of economic development in Mozambique was a major obstacle for young people to rise out of poverty. Living in Maputo in my formative, I knew the history, language, and cultural context quite well. Having done charity work for decades, I also knew the three key factors that would boost the natural ability of young people to ascend out of poverty:

Faith and the character, values, and ethics that stem from it. Computer skills that allow anyone with a laptop and an internet connection to access the global market. English language, as it enables us to communicate with the world.

So in partnership with the Maputo International Church of Christ - the Ascend Academy was born. Funded by a group of friends in the US, it is a lean organization mostly run by volunteers. 80% of our kids live in the Maxaquene neighborhood in Maputo - most people there live on under $2/day. They are often undernourished, go to an overcrowded and under-equipped schools, and have no access to computers at all.

After school, they come to the Ascend Academy, where they have air conditioning, a meal, and loving and devoted mentors. They learn about the core three abilities we want them to master - character/worldview, English language/communication, and marketable computer skills.

Why do we devote our time, talent, and treasure to things like this? Because, in a small way - it changes the future. We do it because it makes us feel fully alive as human beings. Because when we invest in “these little ones,” - we feel God smiling.

Bob DePasquale is right; there is a bond I have with these kids that goes beyond the gift. He also notes that successful families often have a non-negotiable charitable side, which made them successful in the first place.

I just received the end-of-school-year report for 2022 - you can download it here - and it’s fantastic. We’re financing for the 2023 school year and are looking to raise $30k-$50k.

You knew the ask was coming, right? Here it is - will you join us?

Will you pitch in toward this goal? You may be able to singlehandedly provide several months’ worth of academy to the whole class.

I will personally call you and thank you for the gift. Click here to give and - watch this video about the life-changing work of Ascend Academy.


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