Chiropractors with Compassion inspires viral generosity
“What I discovered was that these people need our help, but more than that they need people who care.”
OTTAWA, ON–A group of Christian chiropractors in Ottawa have turned a simple goal of inspiring generosity into a multi-million dollar fund, transforming lives and bringing hope to impoverished third world communities.
Several years after joining the board of directors for Compassion Canada, Marie Geschwandtner was looking for a way to partner her and her husband’s chiropractic practice with a Christian charity, and also inspire her colleagues to develop lifestyles of radical generosity.
“We thought it would be cool to introduce our business colleagues to a Christian charity that we know has integrity and are great stewards of the funds they`ve been given,” Geshwandtner says. “We can get so insular with our own practices and our own churches, so we wanted to challenge our colleagues to respond to where the gospel tells us to stand up for the widows and orphans.”
So, with her husband and a few colleagues, Geschwandtner launched Chiropractors with Compassion (CWC). They set up a fund with Compassion Canada where they and their colleagues began donating $20 from the initial exam fee of every new patient they had. As the money accumulates, Compassion staff sends them a list of projects that need funding, such as digging wells or building community centres and orphanages.
“Our members vote on which projects to partner with and we raise the funds,” says Geschwandtner. “It grew like crazy. Everyone jumped on board more than we expected. It`s been almost 11 years and we have more than 90 doctors and chiropractic clinics across Canada and the US who have joined us. We`ve raised over $2.7 million dollars and funded projects in Uganda, Kenya, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Haiti.”
But their work goes beyond donating money. Every year, CWC plans trips and invites their partners to go see the projects they’re funding.
“When you go on a mission trip, it`s not so much what you are giving; God grows your heart. He works on us just as much, if not more, than what`s happening in the field. We have people who go back year after year and it`s very powerful.”
It was on the first CWC trip that Jason Wiebe first caught the vision.
“We went to Africa and I got rocked. I remember sitting there weeping,” he says. “I realized there was a complete canyon between what I thought we were doing and what we were actually doing to contribute. I thought it was all about us giving them money and bailing them out. What I discovered when I got there was that these people need our help, but more than that, they need people who care. They need to know they are worthy.”
Wiebe believes developing these ongoing relationships with the communities can be even more impactful than the donation itself, both for the communities and CWC partners.
“What we are doing is becoming part of these people’s story and that changes everything,” he explains. “We go down there and look for the dream. When you find the dreamers and you go stand with them, visions get fulfilled, generosity flows naturally and you start to see communities change.
“When you come back and share the stories with your friends, they start to put themselves in the story. A lot of people want to be part of something like that, not a donor based organization, but somewhere that they can be part of the story. So generosity begins to roll over and it gets bigger because now there are more people in the story. I think that’s what’s unique about CWC.”
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