Three Lessons on Giving from Don Lothrop

1. Invest for the Long Term.

“After three years of charitable giving to an orphanage, medical clinic, and school, I realized that the greatest need of Romanian children was long-term investment in community development, education and healthcare.” says Don, who had retired at the age of 42 and was beginning his own quest to fully trust the promises of God.

A former Harvard Business School Baker Scholar, Don says “our communities and cultures are a product of what we invest in. It is our private capital, not our government, that is meant to solve the issues of our time. With advent of mutual funds, our society has forgotten the role of long-term private investments in our towns, nation and world.”

“our communities and cultures are a product of what we invest in.”

In 2006, Don had a vision to create the “perfect place to raise children” that began with acquiring over 150 separate land parcels in a poverty-stricken village north of Cluj, Romania.  Thirteen years later, construction has started on Colina Noua – a 400 acre community for people of all ages and income levels where the natural beauty of God’s creation is stewarded. The project has attracted national attention.

“There was a time in America when the church was the leader in education, healthcare and community development,” Don says. “Now we have American families doing the same in Romania.”

2. Experience Unity in Christ

“I have always trusted that our Romania investments were God’s work, not mine.  I lacked the relationships, know-how and financial resources to complete the work.  Today we have 34 American families invested in our projects and the most extraordinary team I have ever been a part of.”

Don continues “our team of ten Americans includes a former US Ambassador, a Principal from a nationally ranked public high school, an Engineer that led the reconstruction of New Orleans’ levees, and the recently retired Commander of US Army Europe. Most of us work for free and own the same number of shares in the business.”

“What unites us,” Don says, “is that we are doing together something that none of us could accomplish on our own. The vision is so much bigger than any of us, that our success can only be attributed to God.  I think the most powerful force in this world is when God’s people invest in unity.”

“What unites us,” Don says, “is that we are doing together something that none of us could accomplish on our own.”

3. Find Security in Christ Alone.

“Long-term investing is the only way to solve the complex issues that seem impossible to overcome,” says Don.  “It was also the only way for me to place all my security in Christ. Our projects have taken far more time and money than I expected. We have faced obstacles none of us could solve. But Christ repeatedly makes a way, when there is no way.”

“The greatest gift for me in this work has come from the times we ran out of money,” says Don. “I wondered where we’d find more capital or if we needed to slow down the work. But in the quietness of my morning prayers, God said ‘I gave you the money, invest it for me.’”

“I realized that God did not want my excess, he wanted all of my capital,” Don says.  “He never intended my wealth to be a source of security. My security was to found in the love and grace of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  As I witnessed the Resurrection Power in our work, God’s grace became my sole source of peace. I don’t think we can fully understand Christ’s love for us until we give him everything we have.”

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