Moments with Matt: September 2019


Welcome to a new series! Going forward, we’ll be checking in with our founder and Executive Director Matt York once a quarter to hear what’s on his mind, what inspires him, and what’s on his reading list.

What is top of mind for you in the pursuit of reducing global poverty?

Mornings for me are a really precious time of quiet and mindfulness. The early hours of stillness are the places where I am able to take a step back from the chaos of the world and really think about how our world—and our charity, in connection—can intentionally pursue useful assistance to those less fortunate. 

What has come to me most often in those wee hours is the idea that the needs of the developing world are shifting. While it’s true that there are many places that still need food, I see more and more a need to help developing communities understand how to better sustain themselves without ad hoc intervention. They need inside access to wisdom, best practices, better health and hygiene practices, opportunity for civic engagement—key information that will empower our fellow humans to lift themselves out of poverty and suffering and into a better quality of life.

One of my favorite things about OMPT’s intervention is the fact that we are bringing tools to many of our partner organizations, who will in turn help those communities that need it most. A video camera and a mobile projector are two simple pieces of technology that have the ability to offer that crucial access.


What are you most excited about for the next 3 months?

Recently, we’ve received some incredible reports from a few of our past partners. One of them showed the videos they had created to nearly 12,000 people in the last year—that’s just incredible! 

Hearing from our partners about how our intervention has improved the quality of lives of their beneficiaries is so rewarding, and I always look forward to more data that supports the great impact technology is having in the developing world.

Similarly, I look forward to engaging with new partners who haven’t yet had the opportunity to incorporate video into their communication strategy. I’m particularly excited about engaging with some smaller organizations based only in their home countries who are doing amazing work to help those in rural, disconnected communities.

What good book have you read/do you recommend? Why?


Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

This book is a really interesting look at how some of these really big, tangible events in history spread around the world—for good and for bad. As a society, I think we need to be much more deliberate about spreading technology to facilitate humanitarian assistance around the world. 

Here’s how the publishers describe it:

"Fascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history."―Bill Gates

In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventure on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth Club of California's Gold Medal.

Laurie Kaplan1 Comment