© 2022 UnPoverty and Mark K. Lutz

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When I was a year old, my family moved to South Africa where my parents started a youth program for those living in the Soweto, Johannesburg’s impoverished township for the poorest community members. I saw extreme poverty up close from an early age. 

After completing a music degree at Wheaton College back in America, I returned to South Africa where I freelanced as a musician. I was living my dream to play trumpet with the National Symphony Orchestra and tour the country with the Supremes. 

As much as I enjoyed that life in my 20s, I knew my destiny was not as a musician but an activist. Living for 20 years under apartheid had shaped me to become an advocate for justice. Visits to some 50 countries sharpened my vision for a world free from extreme poverty. 

With a master’s degree in cross cultural communications, I launched into a career in resource development. For over 30 years I have raised money for Opportunity International where I am the senior vice president of global philanthropy. It brings me deep joy that every year this non-profit organization is releasing over $2 billion in loans to some of the poorest people in the world, empowering them to feed their families and send their children to school.   

Closing out 45 years in the Chicago area, my wife Lise and I moved to New Jersey to be near our children and two grandsons. My work with Opportunity continues from here. I hope you enjoy reading UnPoverty and choose to join the accelerating revolution to eradicate extreme poverty during our lifetime.


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