At Home and Abroad - Page 2 of 3

At Home and Abroad

figures by donating one day a week, he’s giving up $40,000 a year in potential income.

“I accept making less money,” says Lewis. “I sacrifice personal things … I’ve been driving the same truck for 10 years.” Lewis does own a home but doesn’t live beyond his means. He’s also savvy enough to take full advantage of tax strategies that come from being philanthropic. He says he’s become fastidious about saving receipts, as it can be easy to forget small expenses, but they add up come tax time. Lewis is no stranger to DOFE principle No. 2: I will be proactive in managing my budget, credit, debt, and tax obligations.

Although in the short term, Lewis’ take-home pay is less, he’s thinking long term. “[Village Life has] raised my profile and increased my credibility, all of which will contribute significantly to my wealth-building opportunities,” he says.

What’s more, the management skills he’s learning could possibly give him an edge should he desire to pursue a for-profit venture in the future. In the mean time, he believes the positive word-of-mouth has attracted new patients.

But all of Village Life’s efforts aren’t focused abroad. Lewis has established a pen pal program with some 150 students from Cincinnati public schools. The mostly high-school age kids receive letters from Tanzanian students, who write about their lives, families, schools, and customs. There is also a culture club that provides lessons on world affairs.
“What we’re trying to do locally is raise awareness about the global struggle against poverty, teaching folks lessons of service and social responsibility,” says Lewis. “Kids think not having an iPod or PlayStation means they’re poor. But they read the letters and see the pictures we show them, and we think they’re learning the difference.”

Christopher Lewis’ Advice:
Enhance your managerial skills. Taking a leadership role in a nonprofit organization, professional association, or other group can enhance your managerial skills, knowledge of accounting, product development and marketing, and more, says Lewis. Get involved in organizations that match your interests. And be willing to commit the time it takes to be more than a nominal member who shows up at the annual dinner.

Make your money matter. Even if you don’t have a great deal of time to volunteer, you can still make a difference by tithing at your church or contributing to any number of organizations. But you’ll need to set priorities and manage your money wisely so that you’ll be in a position to contribute. Plus, you’ll want to be a smart giver. There are several places where you can check up on a charity–the American Institute of Philanthropy’s site,, the Better Business Bureau’s, and Charity Navigator’s “If everyone sacrificed just a small portion of their wealth to lessen the suffering of others, we would eradicate much of society’s problems,” says Lewis.

Find out how to get involved. If you want to support or start a nonprofit, there are several Web resources that provide guidance. To get started, check the resources on the IRS Website at;