A Follow-Up Letter to Mr. Glenn Beck from Bill Abrams, President of Trickle Up

Dear Glenn Beck,

Last week, after you took a swipe at Trickle Up in your Fox News commentary, I wrote to invite you to join me on a visit to one of the rural villages where we work so that you can see how Trickle Up helps people step up out of extreme poverty.  I thought you’d admire our approach once you got to know us better.

We help women start businesses, save regularly, gain business and financial skills, and start on a path to self-sufficiency. So far, I haven’t heard from you.

A few days after your poke at Trickle Up, coincidentally or not, your radio commentary lambasted NGOs (non-government organizations, a term that includes international nonprofits like Trickle Up) as “nasty little organizations.”  You then went on to use Hezbollah, a militant group and terrorist organization that is not an NGO, as an example. What a bizarre comparison!  More relevant and accurate examples of NGOs would be organizations like the American Red Cross, Save the Children, CARE, Oxfam, the International Rescue Committee and thousands of others – Trickle Up included– that help address poverty and inequality, rush in to help people struggling to survive after disasters and war, and assist communities in building their own ability to help their citizens.

In your attack on NGOs –also known by the acronym PVOs, private voluntary organizations – you also implicitly attacked the millions of Americans who support them with their charitable contributions, as well as the millions of Americans who spend countless hours volunteering their time to these worthy charities, also known as NGOs.

Mr. Beck, I confess that I have trouble following your logic.  I know you are conservative, but that has nothing to do with what Trickle Up or other global poverty NGOs do.  Our supporters are both conservative and liberal, and they share the conviction that it is our moral duty to help those in need. We also believe that, while governments have responsibilities to serve all of their citizens, the private voluntary sector must very much be a part of the solution.

Because I try to look for the best in every person, even those who I disagree with, I can only conclude that you just don’t know the facts.  That somehow, you must be unaware of the good work of NGOs. So I renew my invitation to join me for a trip to a poor village in Guatemala, Mali or India.

Together, let’s see what poverty looks like, why it exists and how programs like Trickle Up’s do make a difference.  Perhaps that will change your mind.  Or, even if it doesn’t, you will be speaking from a place of understanding, facts and knowledge.

I look forward to hearing from you.  My email is and my phone number is 212-255-9980.


Bill Abrams

President, Trickle Up

PS: If your schedule won’t allow you to join me for a week’s trip, I invite you to meet some of the women whose lives have been changed by Trickle Up.  It will only take you a few minutes to hear the stories of women like Shomiron Bibi and Diando Koulibaly:

Click to watch how Shomiron Bibi from India broke the cycle of extreme poverty.

Click to watch Diando Koulibaly from Mali describe the transformation the Trickle Up program has made in her life.