True Charity University

Intensive training sessions for church, charity and not-for-profit leaders exploring 7 marks of effective charity.  This education incorporates both examination and exercise that empowers every attendee to take the first steps in transforming his/her work into a model of True Charity for greater impact.

Topics include using the earn-it model to supply the dignity of work, forming relationships that motivate change, effectively identifying what help is needed and others.

“One of the most productive road trips my wife and I have taken occurred a couple of years ago when we drove from Wichita to Joplin to attend the first Leadership Forum for the True Charity Initiative. It was an eye-opener and a myth dispeller. I had just assumed the interim leadership of the largest homeless shelter in Kansas. My understanding of ministry to the poor was still in development. What we learned in Joplin had a pronounced impact upon our approach to serving those Christ love’s most – the hurting, homeless, addicted and abused. By revamping programs, expecting more from clients and encouraging self-improvement, our Mission today is more an incubator for change than simply a first-aid station for the homeless. Charity, as we now provide it, is about helping people get ahead, not just get by. It was triggered by that trip to Joplin.” 

Denny Bender, CEO Union Rescue Mission, Wichita, KS.

TC University Courses



These training sessions will be offered as online courses. They are in development and will be launched as they become available.


Effective Charity Webinar by James Whitford 9/26/17

Profile Study: Work and Wealth

True Charity Training: Seven Marks of Effective Charity
(Adapted from Marvin Olasky’s Tragedy of American Compassion)

1. Affiliation: This mark challenges the student to consider that a friend or family member more closely affiliated with the person in need may be the one more apt to help him. A discussion of subsidiarity and fraternal benefit societies is included. An exercise is provided in which the students arrange right order of help based on affiliation or subsidiarity.

2. Bonding: This mark reminds the student the importance of relationship-building in poverty relief work. The words compassion, charity, and justice are defined and their relationships established. Solidarity is also discussed. The tool Life Deck is introduced.

3. Categorization: This mark points the student away from mere means-testing to determine need. Dysfunction-based categorization is contrasted with function-based. Function-based categorization is differentiated from social Darwinism. The concept of “work tests” is introduced. The student is also introduced to pauperism vs. poverty as described by Tocqueville.

4. Discernment: This mark highlights the importance of gaining accurate information to render effective charity. Specifically, the important work of observation, investigation and communication are discussed. Signs of trafficking, abuse and suicidality are included. The tools Charity Tracker and Charity Resources are briefly introduced.

5. Exchange: This mark emphasizes the importance of avoiding hand-out model relief whenever possible. The 5 steps to Dependency are taught alongside 5 steps to Paternalism. Research from the University of Michigan and American Journal of Psychology is introduced to support the correlation between work and happiness. The relationship between exchange and individuality is explored and the student is exposed to earn-it model charity.

6. Freedom: This mark reminds the student to consider carefully the natural consequences of individual action before providing aid that would buffer those consequences. Economic Freedom and Experiential Freedom are contrasted. The behavioral psychology terms “learned helplessness” and “extinction” are discussed specifically tying them to the adverse effect of welfare and handouts on experiential freedom.

7. God: This mark encourages the student to consider the importance of faith in poverty-relief work. Recent findings from Baylor’s Institute for the Study of Religion are reviewed as are those from the study “So Help Me God” by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Religion and spirituality are differentiated to alert the student to validity threats in some spiritual health assessment tools currently being used.

Other Resources

Need a True Charity Speaker?

We can provide training for your team or a speaker for your event. Complete a Speaker Request form and one of our representatives will contact you asap.

Upcoming Events

Lunch & Learn

The 7 Marks of Effective Charity
Mark #3: Categorization

Thursday, January 4
12:00pm – 1:30pm

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Past Events

Poverty, Inc. Screening – June 25th

POVERTY, INC. | Official Trailer from POVERTY, INC. | The Movie on Vimeo. Powered by...
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Course Correcting for Effective Charity

Missed the event? No problem. You can watch the main session below!  
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Rethinking Justice

Event Details Thursday, October 8, 2015 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM Watered Gardens 531 S. Kentucky, Joplin, MO ...
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Enterprising Solutions to Poverty

Rudy Carrasco For more information on Rudy Carrasco & PovertyCure, please visit:...
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Breaking Free from Welfare

Event Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 1:30pm - 4:30 pm Seth Wilson Library - on the campus of Ozark Christian College For more information about Ismael Hernandez and the Freedom & Virtue Institute, visit Breakout Sessions What is True Charity?...
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The Church’s Role in Community Transformation

Born into Mississippi poverty, the son of a sharecropper, Dr. John Perkins fled the state when his older brother was murdered by the town marshal. In 1960, Dr. Perkins accepted Christ and returned to his boyhood home to share the Gospel of Christ. Today he is...
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From Comfort Zone to True Charity Zones

We all know there's a problem, but what's the solution? Opening Remarks from James Whitford, Watered Gardens Executive Director Sometimes in our work, we can become so engrossed that we can get lost in the midst of the forest and forget the calling that originally...
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Toxic Charity vs. Effective Compassion

Aug 29, 2013 James Whitford, Watered Gardens Executive Director, led a discussion on compassion in America, and how a proper view of Compassion should include personal challenge and accountability. Specifically, he addressed 5 marks of Effective Compassion. [playlist...
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Leadership Forum 2012

  From the looming deficit in Washington to the poor who remain dependent on Washington, the growing welfare state is hurting more than it’s helping. There has never been so important a moment in our history for the Church to be both a voice and a force for...
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