The Business of Generous Giving
As a young entrepreneur, Steve Brandt didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about how he could be generous. He had grown up in a Christian home and during that time had seen his parents give faithfully to their local church and to those in need. However, starting a livestock transportation business from scratch took so much time, energy, and resources that by the end of each day, he often felt like he had nothing left to give.
Amidst the daily grind of running a business, Steve remembered the example his parents had set for him. “When my parents were going through difficult times, giving was still highlighted in their lives and that inspired me.” As a Christian, Steve wanted to do more and began seeking opportunities to give back to those less fortunate. When the business took off, he was excited at the prospect of using his entrepreneurial abilities and passion to help others. He prayed for guidance, and soon established a new definition of success for his company: to be a conduit of generosity.
…the end goal of the business was to give generously from the profits they made.
Steve began directing a portion of his business profits towards charitable donations. At first, this was a personal response rooted in his Christian faith. However, Steve soon seized the opportunity to model generosity and invited his executive team to be part of the giving process. He wanted them to understand that beyond the goals of making profit, an additional goal for the business was to give generously from the profits they made. He was delighted when his colleagues responded enthusiastically.
Word spread within the company, and everyone embraced the idea that contributing to the success of the business meant so much more than the bottom line. Giving back has become an important part of the corporate culture, and the generosity Steve models is not just financial. He volunteers at his local church and on the board of a charity that helps girls in Haiti escape a life of slavery and sexual exploitation. He also encourages his colleagues to volunteer with the organizations that mean the most to them.
Steve has always included his faith in deciding where to give, and over the years he is grateful to have had providential experiences. One time, a good friend told him about a charity in Africa that could use some support. “I had never heard of this group before, but agreed to consider helping them out,” remembers Steve. He prayed about the organization and the opportunity. “I was prompted with giving a certain dollar figure and so, I sent an email out.”
Unbeknownst to Steve, at that very moment many miles away, the charity was also praying about their funding needs. Steve’s email reached the group within minutes of their prayer meeting finishing, and the dollar figure matched the amount they needed. “It was a huge encouragement,” says Steve. “Giving is always the most rewarding when both parties are looking to God for something and it comes together.”
Today, generosity is a defining feature of Steve’s company.
Steve says that for him, prayer is often just as critical as analyzing balance sheets when making giving decisions. “I believe we’re giving back what is God’s anyways,” he says. Once the decision is made, working with Abundance Canada makes the donation process simple. “It is very convenient to send a quick email, provide recommendations on where I want the giving to go, and Abundance takes care of it.”
Steve is passionate about leveraging his success in the business world to give back to the community and help others. He keeps a keen eye out for new opportunities to give generously. “I trust that God will guide me to give to the right people at the right time,” he says.
Generosity is a defining feature of Steve’s company. It permeates all aspects of the business: dealing with clients, extending the best care for the animals they transport, managing environmental impact, and establishing corporate policies and programs, such as sponsoring summer camp tuition for the employees’ children and their friends.
As the owner of a successful livestock transportation company in Canada, Steve’s commitment to generosity is modelling giving for clients, colleagues, and his community. A successful business and generous charitable giving can really be two sides of the same valuable coin.