An Open Letter To Creflo Dollar From SXSW

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

The Reverend Doctor Creflo Dollar
Senior Pastor
World Changers Church International
2500 Burdett Road
College Park, GA 30349

      RE: My dilemma and challenge beyond the plane

Doctor Dollar:

Greetings in the Spirit of divine innovation, faith and definitive purpose.

SXSWThis morning, I am writing you from SXSW, the world’s largest innovation, film and music festival whereby we are in Austin advocating for increased diversity and inclusion in S.T.E.A.M (Science. Technology. Engineering. Arts. Math), innovation, entrepreneurship and investment for people of color everywhere.

Although we have not personally spoken or seen each other in several years, I’ve had the privilege of mentoring your son, Jeremy, and watching him evolve into a leader, businessman and advocate for innovation in his own right. Additionally, let me say that I have appreciated your support as an early adopter of technologies that we have both created and brought to market over the years – whether as a client of our first tech startup, Streamingfaith, in 2000; or JV partner with our mobile commerce startup in 2007. Pioneering in an industry at the turn of the 21st century where people of color, particularly black men and women; we were rarely seen, supported, funded or celebrated as co-founders and innovators of tech startups. It was both challenging and difficult. Here again, your early adoption as a paying client was equivalent to startup or seed capital in those days. For that, I say thank you.

THE DILEMMA 

Now, here is my dilemma and challenge to you and other leaders of faith throughout America and around the world.

Candidly, I take no issue with you needing another plane as a function of convenience, as a function of efficiency and more importantly, as a function of safety – because agreed – an old plane doesn’t just put you down on the side of road.

I also understand the daily efficiency of being able to move a large team from city-to-city and continent-to-continent no differently than Beyonce, JZ, Kanye or Bono would travel for a concert or appearance in London this morning and Austin this evening. Trust me, I get it.

Now, could it be perceived as extravagant wastefulness by today’s culture – a hyper-educated culture that is struggling to find viable opportunities and jobs after college? Absolutely. Could your ask be perceived as poor timing in light of the ongoing narrative and declaration that #blacklivesmatter in response to age old racism and discrimination – much of which is clearly perpetuated by unemployment and lack of opportunity? Sure…but that’s a public relations matter.

My dilemma is that you do not realize the level of influence you have been afforded and the responsibility to use this influence to effectively impact the hyper-local and global communities of which you are called to serve.

WorldDomeLet me be clearer. As you know, World Changers international headquarters is located off Old National Highway in College Park, GA where the rapper Tauheed Epps, better known by his stage name 2 chainz, is seriously considering running for Mayor. This once economically thriving but still very busy thoroughfare right outside of Atlanta, GA lacks viable and sustainable opportunities for the citizens that live in this neighborhood.

Let’s partner to transform Old National Highway into an Innovation and Technology Corridor.

Nationally and globally, your primary constituent base, members and partners are mostly people of color. A disproportionate amount of these people continue to live in poverty. Today, in America, the average net-worth of a black American family is less than $11,000.

White black wealth gap 2013

THE CHALLENGE

We can solve this.

Let’s partner to close this gap via entrepreneurial education and high growth job creation.

For definitive example, it costs approximately $20,000 to create a junior software engineer; and teach her or him the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. The code school is a 90-day intensive program; while the entrepreneurial pre-accelerator is a weekly 6-month cohort taught in the evenings at Opportunity Hub.

According to Pay Scale, the average salary in Atlanta for junior software developers’ is $70,852 per year. This salary increases in The District of Columbia, New York (where you have a satellite church) and Silicon Valley; and as the new coder’s skills increase over time as well. Some of these new coders will go on to be technical cofounders of high growth tech or tech-enabled startups that will grow and be purchased for lots of money.

By asking 200,000 of your members and partners to donate $300 to this cause, we can create 3,250 new high tech jobs. For every high tech job that is created, 4.3 additional jobs are created. That’s a result of 13,975 new jobs.

Economically, this is nearly $243,750,000 (almost a quarter of a billion dollars) in new income creation. What’s the tithe on that?

InnovatorsDinnerHeaderThis evening in Austin, Opportunity Hub and Kingonomics will host its Innovators Dinner to raise money for black coders and cofounders. Going forward, our code school partner, The Iron Yard, has committed to match every dollar we raise to fund full time seats in its nationally recognized and respected code school. The United Negro College Fund is announcing the funding of its first seat tonight during the dinner.

Additionally, Digit, a FinTech startup that helps people save money automatically without thinking about it, has agreed to allocate $5 for every new user that signs up for the free service via OHUB to support this job creation initiative.

Here again, imagine if you leveraged your God given influence and asked your members and partners to start saving money with Digit while also creating new jobs.

You are a man of faith and action. This is not foolishness or presumptuousness. You can do this. Your base will support you with this cause just like they will support you in purchasing a new plane.

Trust that your partners care and will stand with you to break the back of poverty – mentally and in reality.

Let’s make Acts 4:32 – 36 a reality on Old National Highway, throughout America and beyond.

32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

#DreamBigger

In definitive purpose,

@RodneySampson
Founder & CEO, Opportunity Hub | Code | Ventures
Creator, Kingonomics

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2 thoughts on “An Open Letter To Creflo Dollar From SXSW

  1. Lima Lewis-Guy says:

    You are on point. But, the attraction of increased tithes should not be the sole stimulus.
    This has always been my issue with him. How can you pastor in a poverty stricken community, make millions of dollars, not provide any sustainable economic development/opportunities but continue to drain the people of what little financial life they have left. I struggle to see the “hand or foot print” of God in the midst of his ministry. For me, the kinship to Annanias and Zapphira resonates in this ministry. There is no meat in the storehouse for the impoverished saints. Sadly, he’s not the only one. God is grieved.
    1Corinthians 5:12-13

    • Thank you for your comment. Increased tithes isn’t the point at all. That was simple sarcasm. The definitive stimulus would be the disruption of poverty via high tech/high growth job creation and investment in small businesses along the Old National Highway corridor where the church is located. If you’d like to support our cause to crease more black coders and cofounders, please sign up for Digit, http://www.savewithohub.com

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