Courtney and Jason Howard
by Heather Klinger
World Vision became an integral part of the Howard family because of the many opportunities parents Courtney and Jason found to model generosity to their two children, ages 7 years and 16 months.
“For kids to get involved in philanthropy and generosity, it has to be modeled,” says 42-year-old Jason, a private equity investor. “World Vision is one of the outlets we use to model that to our children.”
The opportunity for their children to see their parents’ generosity and get involved sparked this southern California family’s interest in sponsoring a child in 2017. It’s why they specifically chose to sponsor Reuben, who not only looks like their 7-year-old son but also is similar in age.
“My son knows who Reuben is. He’s written to him several times, sent him gifts, and talks about him as if he’s part of our family, which is one of our goals,” says 42-year-old Courtney, a real estate investor. “He’s able to grow alongside Reuben, even though it’s from a distance, and start to understand what his life is like and how it’s different from his own, and be appreciative of both. That’s been a great experience for us.”
Reuben lives in Zambia, and as the Howards came to know Reuben, they were interested in learning more about where he lives and World Vision’s holistic development work.
Courtney found herself particularly interested in mother and child health. She thought back to giving birth to her children and contrasted that experience with mothers in developing countries who give birth in non-sterile conditions, often without trained nurses and doctors. Women also must collect the (likely contaminated) water for not only their birth, but also any household use in the days following.“
"It’s difficult for me to imagine carrying children and delivering them in the environment that many mothers in other parts of the world do,” Courtney says.
Every day, 830 women die from preventable causes associated with pregnancy and childbirth; 99% of these deaths are in developing countries. World Vision believes that having a baby should be a joyful experience—not a death sentence. So we’ve recruited, trained, equipped, and deployed more than 220,000 community health workers who reach millions of people in 48 countries.
“I’m very analytical in nature,” Courtney says. “So, I’m driven by data and results. World Vision can readily show me data and results and present it in a way that is easy to understand. That’s been very impactful.”
For kids to get involved in philanthropy and generosity, it has to be modeled. World Vision is one of the outlets we use to model that to our children.
Jason Howard Private Equity Investor
She adds that meeting World Vision field staff and beneficiaries who have traveled to the U.S. further validated the information and data World Vision provided. As a result, the Howards expanded their giving to help end female genital mutilation in Kenya, protect children in India from sex trafficking, and provide emergency relief in Puerto Rico and East Africa.
“Not a lot of organizations have the scale as well as the diversity of reach that World Vision has,” Courtney says. “At this stage in our lives, we want to go deeper in our giving, and we want it to be more impactful than just our current surroundings. We’re excited about being able to help in areas where it’s not feasible for us to physically be.”
Jason adds that it’s a great benefit to invest in so many areas through a single organization, since he and Courtney “honestly don’t have the time or capability to search out all of these great opportunities. So, with one investment, we can multiply the impact.”
And they have not only witnessed the return on their investment in the lives of people worldwide but also through their son.
“God has moved in his heart and also in our hearts now that we have a better understanding of issues people are facing in other parts of the world,” Courtney says.
They are particularly grateful that their son has become more concerned about the needs of others because of their growing relationship with World Vision.
“I don’t know of many organizations that have that diversity of resources that can make such an orchestrated impact on a family,” Courtney says. “World Vision is not only giving us the opportunity to get our son involved in our giving but it also enables us to expand resources into his school, so that he, as well as his peers, can gain an even broader understanding and perspective.”
As both of their children get older, they plan to incorporate them more in their family’s giving, since “what we give is so small compared to what we get back,” Courtney says. They also have a desire to travel as a family to see the transformative impact of World Vision’s work worldwide.
Their partnership with World Vision is continuing to evolve as they have decided to become Visionaries.
“There are so many organizations that you can give to, and sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options,” Courtney says. “But if you can interact with people who share your goals, you can learn from each other and make a greater impact together.”
I’m driven by data and results. World Vision can readily show me data and results and present it in a way that is easy to understand.
Courtney Howard Real Estate Investor