Personally, I am in awe of these people who risk their lives to help others they hardly know. I devour spy novels as well as non-fiction about women and men who risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis, or books and movies about soldiers who have performed amazing feats of bravery to save their comrades. And now I am looking at daily harrowing and inspiring accounts of health workers fighting COVID-19 or even our charitable workers who put themselves on the front line working to positively impact the lives of people living in extreme poverty, in refugee camps, and in war-torn areas from Sudan to Yemen to Syria.
There have always been heroes who forego the joys and comforts of “normal” life to help their fellow humans, often at great expense or risk to themselves.
Although I am not one of those amazing folks who embody the traditional ideal of bravery, I was lucky to discover a different route to being a “hero”. In 2012, I came across Peter Singer’s landmark book The Life You Can Save. I learned that every year, 5.3 million children under five die and that more than half of these deaths could easily be prevented if these children were fortunate enough to be born where my own grandchild lives, in Western Washington. And I became aware of the fact that I could save lives by putting some of my own financial resources and efforts towards convincing people to use their own funds to cost-effectively help those who are suffering and dying from causes related to extreme poverty.
So my wife and I asked Peter if we could fund his then-nascent organization, The Life You Can Save, in order to help spread his message and save lives. I have been the volunteer executive director of the organization since 2013 and have had the privilege of reducing suffering and death, and empowering livelihoods, through using financial resources my wife and I were lucky to have, and through the hard work of helping to grow the number of donors supporting amazing nonprofits like the ones we recommend—all done mostly from the comfort of my own home.
Whether you are brave or not, you can join us in this effort to help reduce suffering, save lives and empower livelihoods of people living in extreme poverty.