Chris Graeve considers David Green a role model for business success and faith-inspired generosity. Green has become famous as the founder of Hobby Lobby. This arts and crafts retail chain operates over 850 stores in 46 states and employs more than 37,500 people.
Forbes magazine estimates that Green’s fortune is valued at $7.6 billion in 2019. As an evangelical Christian, Green has said that his retail empire belongs to God, and the 78-year-old entrepreneur has gained the title of the current day most generous supporter of evangelical causes in the world.
Green directs half of the profits generated by Hobby Lobby stores to various ministry projects. He aligns his giving with his evangelical faith by supporting organizations like OneHope and Every Home for Christ. Oral Roberts University also receives funds, and Green finances YouVersion that helps people access the Bible through digital experiences.
Every Tribe Every Nation is another organization close to Green’s heart. Funding provided by Hobby Lobby supports this organization’s mission of ending Bible poverty, a term that describes not having access to the Bible in one’s native language. Approximately 1 billion people lack Bibles in their own language. According to Every Tribe Every Nation, Bible translations have yet to be completed for about 1,800 language communities. To increase access to the Bible, the organization continues to commission translations and distribute scriptures worldwide.
Additionally, the launch of the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. benefited greatly from Green’s support. He contributed $500 million to that project alone. Every year also sees Green paying for thousands of dollars worth of advertising to promote Christian messages in various media outlets.
On top of all of this, he formally pledged in 2010 to donate 50% of his fortune to nonprofit causes. He did this by adding his name to the Giving Pledge established by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
A History of Giving
His giving reaches back many years prior to achieving substantial financial success. Green likes to tell the story of how he donated $30,000 to an overseas ministry when he only had four stores. He sent the money through four $7,500 post-dated checks and was able to clear the checks when the time came.
Green encourages others to give without waiting for some important sign that they should do so. Giving should be a primary action of their faith. Chris Graeve agrees with this philosophy, and he has modeled his business and personal life around the tenet of generosity. His business ventures seek to empower people to succeed in real estate investing and gain the resources to be generous to others.
The Hobby Lobby founder operates his business so that it will please God. His faith inspires him to treat customers well and use the company’s profits to tell others about the great love of God. He personally wants as many people as possible to hear the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, and he views his retail chain as the vehicle for providing the funds to achieve his goals.
Success Comes From God
Green, despite reaching an age when most people retire, continues to work six days a week in the role of Hobby Lobby CEO. His tireless entrepreneurship began in 1970 when he started a home-based business building miniature picture frames with a $600 loan. Two years later, he and his wife opened the very first Hobby Lobby in Oklahoma City. At the time, no one would have suspected that the 300-square-foot store would expand into one of the country’s most successful retail chains.
Throughout his rise to success, Green has consistently attributed his success to God. In his book “Giving It All Away… And Getting It All Back Again,” he explained that faith instructs him to act as a steward for the resources under his control. He wrote that the “posture of our hearts” determines generosity more than how much money we have.
In Green’s view, tithing to a church serves as only the foundation for giving. He believes that people should be generous with their donations beyond tithing to their local church.
Although his impressive level of generosity is beyond the means of most people, his sentiment remains inspiring. When Chris Graeve experiences success in his business enterprises, he chooses to share his gains with causes important to his faith. God creates the success so that it can be shared, and Chris Graeve accepts this truth wholeheartedly.