Compassion International, a leading child development and sponsorship organization, has ventured beyond its usual church partnerships and begun relationships with businesses.
Among its newest partners is Kerusso, which produces Christian-themed apparel. This summer Kerusso relaunched the "Live for Him: Waiting Children" campaign to help sponsor the more than 150,000 children around the world who are in need of support.
T-shirts, wristbands, rings and hats adorned with the phrase "Live for Him" have been produced specifically for the campaign. Part of the proceeds from these products will be donated to Compassion which meets the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of unsponsored children.
The goal is $500,000.
"Live for Him is much more than just a best-selling product line and a fundraising campaign," said Vic Kenett, CEO and president of Kerusso. "Live for Him is a lifestyle statement. It means that your life is no longer your own. It belongs to Christ! Everything you do reflects on Him. When you 'live for Him,' you care about your neighbors, your customers and those around you that don't know Him."
Kenett, clad in a red "Live for Him" t-shirt, told The Christian Post that he wanted to create a cause-related item – something he can place God's message on and use to start a conversation, and a product that would also remind Christian consumers of their purpose.
He was also inspired by cyclist Lance Armstrong's yellow "Live Strong" wristbands, which are sold to support the millions of people living with cancer.
Kerusso originally launched the Live for Him campaign in 2005 with just wristbands. But even with one small product on the market, the apparel producer was able to raise more than $300,000 for Compassion International projects, including providing clean water to children, vocational training and medical expenses.
Four years later, they revitalized the campaign to reach their original goal of $500,000. The additional $200,000 will be directed toward unsponsored children.
Dan Prochnow, regional director of business relations for Compassion, says working with businesses is a new area for the more than 50-year-old international organization. His position in business relations was named just last year.
Compassion's aim is to come into the marketplace and help Christian businesses carry their heart for mission. At the same time, the business partnerships help raise awareness for Compassion.
"We looked at it as an area of opportunity that we have not been engaging," Prochnow told The Christian Post. "It's a strategic reorganization."
Other business partners include DaySpring Cards.
"A lot of businesses are stepping out in faith to respond to the biblical mandate to give to the poor," he said.
Despite the economic recession, Prochnow says Compassion International has not lost any support. In fact, in the last fiscal year, which closed at the end of June, the agency grew double digits in child sponsorship, he said, adding that they are currently hiring more employees.
On the Web: kerusso.com/LiveForHim