IntelliTect’s Giving Priorities and Values
In 1998, after working as a software engineer for five years, my wife, Elisabeth, and I quit our jobs and moved to Mozambique, which, at the time, was the poorest country in the world. Primarily, we worked with homeless children ages 0-18, whom we encountered on the streets and invited to live in a children’s center.
My role included buying supplies for the center while having a mentor relationship with some older boys. Despite all the logistical work, the real change, and where I left a legacy, was in the relationships.
Frequently, I would take one or two boys with me while I crisscrossed around the city running errands. The most impactful conversations were those that occurred during the hours taking walks and driving. These intimate discussions about dating, marriage, politics, poverty, and prejudice resulted in the young men re-imagining their futures.
However, the real change occurred in my understanding of the world and my prior understanding of "normal." While I had always been intellectually aware of extreme poverty, by living in Mozambique, I witnessed firsthand how seemingly impossible it was to survive extreme poverty — never mind escaping it. Just because I didn’t see it every day while living in a United States suburb didn’t make it any less real or painful for those struggling to survive. More importantly, I was acutely aware that the moral burden to save lives didn’t just exist when I witnessed suffering firsthand, but perhaps even more so when living in my suburban home in the United States.
The Story Behind IntelliTect’s Philanthropy
For Elisabeth and me, philanthropy has been a priority for as long as I can remember, long before living in Mozambique. We gave an increasing percentage of our income ever since we graduated from college and had our first jobs. Mozambique just solidified our commitment. It confirmed that our philanthropy was making a difference; it was genuinely saving lives and reducing suffering. As our income increased, we recognized that we could do more. Rather than keeping the additional income, we just changed the percentage that we donated.
Our goal, therefore, in founding IntelliTect was to use a significant portion of the profits to fight poverty and injustice. At IntelliTect, although we’ve partnered with non-profits to create custom software for their organization (such as ICMS for Vanessa Behan), most of our giving went beyond the tech industry and software development— just like it did before starting IntelliTect. Our work in technology and the continuous effort of the IntelliTect team now affords us the capability of saving lives for those suffering from extreme poverty.
Locally, we designate some of our time, expertise, and profits for projects in our local neighborhoods within Spokane County, Washington. Around the world, we fight to give freedom to those living without hope through our partnership with organizations working to eliminate poverty and inequity. We focus on people living on the margins; specifically, people who are unlikely to get help otherwise and, due to circumstances out of their control, are unlikely to survive without enduring extreme suffering, if they survive at all.
Our Guidelines for Giving
The following guidelines help us determine what projects to fund and where to focus our time and energy.
People in the communities we partner with often survive on less than a few dollars a day. Many lack access to clean water, sufficient food, safe shelter, sanitation facilities, or any income at all. We fund projects that focus on those with the most desperate poverty.
- Our international projects improve access to basic life needs like water, food, shelter, sanitation, health care, education, justice, and safety.
- Locally, we give financial support and time to organizations that help people needing safe housing, reliable food resources, and counseling.
- When possible, we build a personal partnership with the people in these communities. We work diligently to ensure the support we provide is desired by the people we serve and empowers them. Our goal is always self-sufficiency and independence.
- The large organizations we partner with publicly share their independently verified financial reports and use an average of 85% or more of the money they raise in the field.
Overall, we strive to end injustice by helping those without other options because all people deserve respect and for others to treat them with dignity.
Watch the video below for more information on our motivation behind starting IntelliTect and why we believe in eliminating injustice and extreme poverty.
Check out IntelliTect’s philanthropy page for more information on IntelliTect’s philanthropy.