This is the second part of The Marin Foundation’s Back Story; you can see the first part here.
There are a few haters out there who LOVE to say that I’m only in this bridge building work for the money; that I pay myself everything that is donated to The Marin Foundation because I’m a “greedy snake like other Christian national figures”. The most I have ever paid myself to date is $9,800! Yep, you read that right. Ask the IRS, they’ll tell you what I’m saying is true even though practically no one believes me when I tell them. The Marin Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) organization that is required by law to have all of our tax records be open for public inspection, so if you don’t believe me, call the IRS! Ask away. I’ve got nothing to hide.
I’m sure at this moment a few questions are coming to mind: How come so low? What about all of your speaking and teaching and book sales? Where does that money go?
100% of the money that is received from speaking/teaching honorariums, and 100% of the money received from the book sales all go directly to The Marin Foundation to built sustainability for the long haul. 100% of that money is currently funding 100% of The Marin Foundation so we can stay alive.
Here’s something that really gets to me:
Name me one ‘national figure’ whose income is less than $10,000 a year, and gives 100% of speaking honorariums and 100% of book sales to their organization? Ok, Shane Claiborne is a good friend of mine and he’s one. But, name me one who is doing that and not living in an intentional community? There are none that I know of.
I am not saying this to pat myself on the back, I am saying it because it’s as a fact of my current situation. I have given everything to the Lord—I have held nothing back from God or what I feel God has asked me to do. Here’s the issue for me, I now have a responsibility for my wife, potentially kids one day, and it’s not fair, nor is it right, to continue not paying myself. For the first time since I started The Marin Foundation I actually believe that I deserve to get paid a salary.
I have nothing in my life left to give.
I will faithfully continue on, but The Marin Foundation needs financial resources to be able to do so. Let me make this clear, those resources are not just to pay myself. That is one small part of it, and I have focused on the ‘salary’ issue here because I want to let you know what I have done to keep The Marin Foundation running these last few years. In a few days I will be outlining The Marin Foundation’s 2010 budget, and there you will see the full scope of our tangible work, classes, programs, research, trainings and forums, and funding needs for all of those.
I hate when churches/organizations/people try to guilt others into giving money (e.g. why I never listen to K-LOVE radio station during their fundraising seasons because they are heavy on the guilt ploy). But I’m out of options. There needs to be giving or The Marin Foundation will not be able to continue as is.
I never knew how much my first year at The Marin Foundation really traumatized me. That first year I didn’t know how to get churches involved (as there were many individuals involved), so I opened up the Chicago phone book, flipped to churches and literally called all 2,671 in the City of Chicago (I have the spread sheets to prove it). Seven days a week I set up anywhere between two to five meetings a day to share my vision to whoever would listen to me. I was laughed out of the first 641 churches that I talked to (I have the spread sheets to prove it). SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY ONE CHURCHES! They all said to me a variation of the same thing:
“You’re 24 years old and you’re trying to do something that’s never been done. Stop wasting my time.”
I’ve been pushing for so long with no time to think about anything else other than faithfully continuing forward that when I recently stopped and looked at what I went through, for the first time, all of the pain and insecurity hit me like a ton of bricks—more aptly, hit me like 641 times being laughed at and told ‘no’.
That’s one of the major reasons why I never asked for money. I’m scared to death of allowing myself to be laughed at again by another 641 churches. This bridge building work has been so hard for me in the first place, I didn’t know if my fragile spirit could take any more rejection, pain, being made fun of.
So I just hid it away.
But it’s not hidden anymore, and I’m terrified. Thanks for listening….
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