When Rodger and Carol Woods chose to add shares in a new company to their investment portfolio, they hoped for a decent growth rate and maybe even some future dividends. The investment performed just well enough to stay in their portfolio, but never really took off. They never imagined such a dud would one day yield the most valuable return on investment they’d ever receive: a surge of generosity.
Rodger’s career as an architect eventually took the couple to Europe. While working in Austria, he and Carol became friends with the head of Schloss Mittersill’s educational institute. “This happened to be when they were shutting down the educational program, leaving several students without the opportunity to complete their degrees,” explains Rodger. They soon learned that the school’s top student, a young man named Anatoliy, had turned down an invitation to complete his studies at Oxford University because he couldn’t afford tuition. Deeply moved, Carol and Rodger stepped in and sponsored Anatoliy’s education.
Rodger and Carol never imagined low-performing company shares would yield the most valuable return on investment they’d ever receive: a surge of generosity.
Investing in Generosity
In time, Rodger and Carol moved back to Canada. One day, they received a letter from Anatoliy. He had graduated and moved back to the Ukraine where he was starting a charity in the local community. Anatoliy closed his letter by humbly asking if Carol and Rodger would be interested in supporting the project. They loved the idea, but the amount their friend was seeking seemed a little high.
That’s when they remembered the company shares sitting in their portfolio. “We decided to donate some of the shares to support Anatoliy’s organization,” says Rodger. They worked with Abundance Canada to make the donation and were able to provide just the amount their friend needed.
An Extraordinary ROI
“We call those shares our cruse of oil” says Rodger, referencing the Biblical story of the widow of Zarephath. She had only a small jar of oil (called a cruse in the King James text), but she agreed to use it to bake some bread for the visiting prophet Elijah. God supernaturally extended her supplies to last for several days – the flour and oil never ran out. “That is very much a metaphor of how we feel about these shares,” says Carol.
When Carol and Rodger first purchased the company shares, they didn’t yield the returns the couple expected. However, after they made the decision to donate a portion of the shares in-kind, the shares gradually increased in value. Seeing this unexpected growth, Carol and Rodger wanted to continue giving in this way. Every time they made the choice to donate another portion of the shares, they found the FMV (fair market value) had increased, allowing their giving to grow right along with it. “It has nothing to do with us,” says Carol. “[The shares] just continue to have enough in them.” Rodger reflects, “If you can give, you have more than enough.”