When it comes to college students hoping to impact the world, senior Emily Johnson is as idealistic as the rest. But unlike most of her peers who like to think money doesn’t drive the world, Emily is realizing that — especially for Christians in missions — most every thing comes down to the dollar.

Emily recalls a time when one of her friends didn’t have enough money to pay the tuition in order to stay at Biola. A business/marketing major, Emily mobilized about 50 friends to start calling around, raising money for their friend’s tuition, and in less
than seven hours, nearly $7,000 was raised.

“It was at this point that I realized there were opportunities that you couldn’t have unless you had money, and that money really does make a big impact,” she said.

Emily, a preacher’s kid from inner city Chicago, is passionate about fundraising, but also about urban ministry, humanitarian work and racial reconciliation. She has plans to one day start a nonprofit that combines these passions.

Her nonprofit would be a program that allowed under privileged kids to take trips — mission trips, service trips — outside of their city, state or even country.

“These sorts of trips always seem to be ‘life-changing,’ but the kids who get to go on them are usually well-to-do kids from the suburbs,” said Emily. “Poorer kids never get to go on these trips, these experiences that inspire you and change your
perspective on things.”

The trips would be a reward for doing well in school — a gift of getting the chance to go somewhere and give, to serve and hang out with other “underprivileged” kids across the country and world.

“These kids wouldn’t go to the poor countries and pity them; they’d be more able to relate to them,” said Emily.

Emily knows it will take work, money and business savvy to make her dream nonprofit a reality, but — perhaps unlike most idealistic young collegians — she’s excited by the practical challenges.