How do we view the world?
In general, The Rees-Jones Foundation has focused geographically on the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. We have developed close relationships here in our own region through which important work is being done in the areas of child welfare, youth development, mental health, human services and animal welfare. The agencies working here on these projects are committed partners and we look forward to long and continuing relationships with them.
Over the years we have also developed an interest in serving in international settings, and we have identified several very significant partners working around the world. With these partners we have fostered relationships with their leadership and have developed confidence in the effectiveness of the work they do. Grantmaking in international settings will continue to grow as part of the Foundation’s portfolio.
In 2014, we approved our largest single international grant; a $6,750,000 multi-year grant to CURE International. CURE is a US based Christian health care organization operating internationally. Our grant is focused on capacity building for CURE’s operations in Ethiopia and specifically directed at increasing capacity to provide orthopedic services to children in that country suffering from club foot and other severe disabilities. We also continued to develop our relationships with the Christian justice ministry of International Justice Mission and the Christian fresh water ministry of Living Water International. In past years we have contributed significantly to the capital needs of the Christian healthcare work of Mercy Ships. There is a common theme here worth noting on how we view the world, and it is a theme we pursue here locally as well.
We see a world with too many problems to address; certainly way too many around the world to even count. Naively, we may have had some notion that some of these problems could be remedied and we could then move on to others. But we have learned. In fact, our observations are that the world is a truly broken place and that all of us have baggage that we carry into relationships that hinder our abilities to work together to make any real progress. We like to tell other people what to do. We are quick to judge and quick to cast blame. We engage in endless debates that lead to increasing polarization. Our political leaders propose solutions that have little chance of success and there seems to be an absence of effective leadership. Corruption and selfishness abound. The world is increasingly dangerous at the same time as it has grown smaller. Sound depressing? Perhaps, if we look at it strictly from a human point of view. We want to withdraw and seek our own self-preservation. But that is not our worldview. Yes, we are weak. We are as broken as the next person, but we see a world in which God is actively pursuing his purpose. We have experienced his love, we have been saved by his grace and we have been called to follow his son in service to those in need. Jesus gave us everything. He paid the price of our salvation. Knowing that brings us peace and joy even in the face of difficult insoluble problems.
Realizing that there is more at work than we can see, that nothing escapes God’s vision and purpose, it has become easier for us to wade into some of the problems we see that involve everything from extreme poverty, family violence, mental illness, physical and mental disabilities, cruelty to children and animals, human trafficking and oppression, hunger, lack of education and hopelessness.
We want to share what we have been given and we want to celebrate those occasions when we can see that needs of others have been met, the weak have been defended, opportunities for growth and enrichment have been provided and lives have been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and the commitment of service that we see in our partners. We are privileged to serve alongside those who do not share our faith. That is OK. We want only that they be committed to serve and derive joy from lifting up those around us.
No, we cannot solve all of the world’s problems. We simply seek to confront the ones we can and support those who are engaged in the hard work of serving people whose lives are affected by these problems. We want to encourage them, comfort them, protect them and share with them what we have been given financially, intellectually, and spiritually. We celebrate each victory and find joy in the journey. Thanks to all who walk along the way with us.
Thornton Hardie, President
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 2:8-10