David Green runs a business that is deeply rooted in Christian principles. He believes he is merely an instrument of God and it’s because of God that his business is so successful. This success is counted in billions of dollars.
Green’s parents were deeply religious. His father was a small-time pastor who went from one tiny congregation to another. His father eventually preached in a church with only 35 attendees in Altus, Oklahoma. The family lived off hand-me-down clothes and would go on weeks without meat. All of Green’s siblings either became pastors or pastors’ wives.
Green worked as a stock boy at a general store, served briefly in the Air Force Reserve, married his sweetheart then worked as a manager at a five-and-dime store. He started (at age 29) what would become Hobby Lobby in 1970 by borrowing $600 to buy equipment and with a partner began manufacturing the first of many arts and craft products, miniature picture frames.
Business first started at home and as it grew they opened their first store in 1972, a 300-square-foot space in Oklahoma City. Three years later Green opened a second store in town this one having 6,000 square feet of retail space. He decided to quit his job and focused on Hobby Lobby full time. Today Hobby Lobby has 520 stores in 42 states and earns around $3 billion in sales.
Green and his family own the company 100 percent and as of March 13, 2012 are estimated to be worth $4.5 billion. In line with his religious beliefs he is considered the largest evangelical benefactor in the world. He takes half of Hobby Lobby’s total pretax earnings and gives it directly into a portfolio of evangelical ministries. As of 2012 it is estimated that he has donated $500 million to evangelical causes.
Among his donation was a $10.5 million gift to Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in 2004. He also bailed out the troubled Oral Roberts University in 2007 with a $70 million donation. Green has also placed nearly 1.4 billion copies of gospel literature in homes in more than 100 countries, particularly in Asia and Africa.
With the wealth he has created it’s hard to argue that in one way or another he has been truly blessed.