Ask the Editor: How do we choose Hope Award winners?

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, August 3rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

You’ve heard a lot lately about effective compassion. That is, not giving a handout to people in need, but giving a hand up. A mission to help someone in need stand on their own two feet and live a life of dignity.

EICHER: This is all about our 2018 Hope Awards for Effective Compassion. Organizations that demonstrate the power of effective compassion compete for a cash prize. But many times, we get the question, how do we choose the winners?

WORLD’s editor in chief Marvin Olasky tells how.

MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: That’s a good question this month because voting is underway. If you’re new to WORLD or the Hope Awards, you should know that the magazine staff does not choose the winner. You do.  

All you need to do is go to WNG stands for World News Group. Vote by September 8th for whichever of the Final Five ministries moves you the most.

But maybe you’re wondering how a charity makes it into the finals.

It all starts with readers nominating their favorite Christian poverty-fighting groups. To be eligible, groups must offer help that’s challenging, personal, and spiritual. The charities should not depend on government financing.

Over the past 13 years our winners have included pregnancy help centers. Schools that enroll needy students. Medical clinics for the poor. We’ve featured anti-addiction programs. Ministries that help prostitutes leave the trade. Programs that help ex-convicts find jobs. If you go to, you’ll see lots of examples.

Once we get nominations, we start researching. We look at websites. Is a group open about its Christian character? Or, does it try to hide it? Does it pride itself on big numbers? Or, concentrate on working intensively with those who truly want to change? We read stories of personal change and jot down names so we can ask more questions.

I admit we also think journalistically: Which organizations have colorful stories to tell? For instance, I enjoyed visiting and writing about Rock Ministries in the very rough Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Buddy Osbourne, an eighth grade dropout and amateur boxer, founded it. Earlier, he had been a “union organizer.” That means he beat up those not wanting to be organized. For that he spent five years in prison.

There Buddy became a Christian. When he got out he purchased a long-abandoned store in Kensington and started Rock Ministries. He taught boys how to box and what to believe about Christ. It worked in the city that was the setting for six Rocky movies. You can see why that made a good story.

Next— we get on the phone with the organizations and ask hard questions. We want to know if those colorful stories are real or hyped. What happened to those individuals? Will our reporter be able to see them? We also ask about finances, church involvement, other basics.

Finally we pay a site visit. Our reporters want to see for themselves the ministries.  They talk to clients, neighbors, local police, others.

Our goal is to provide a story that’s accurate, colorful, and redemptive. We follow the Reagan doctrine: trust, but verify. You can be part of it. Please vote at, and nominate a group for next year.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Marvin Olasky.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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