Hobby Lobby owner to give away multimillion firm, chooses faith over fortune

Hobby Lobby owner David Green said he plans to give away his company to God, detailing his religious convictions in balancing his business ownership.

Mr. Green, a conservative Christian who founded the company in Oklahoma in 1972, compared himself to Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and Alan Barnhart of Barnhart Crane who also recently announced they would give away their companies. Mr. Chouinard sought to donate the company to fight climate change efforts, while Mr. Barnhart will give it to the National Christian Foundation.

“As an owner, there are certain rights and responsibilities, including the right to sell the company and keep the profits for yourself and your family. As our company grew, that idea began to bother me more and more,” Mr. Green wrote in an op-ed for Fox News.

Mr. Green added that it didn’t seem fair to pass his ownership down to his children and grandchildren and to “change or even ruin the future of grandchildren who had not even been born yet.”

Mr. Green, 80, has a net worth of more than $13 billion and has made annual revenues of $6.4 billion through his craft store chain.

It is unclear whether Mr. Green will also give away his personal fortune.

Currently, Mr. Green’s younger son Steve serves as the Hobby Lobby president, while his older son Mart is the “Ministry Investment Officer.”

Darsee Lett, David Green’s daughter, is reportedly the company’s vice president of arts and creative. Her husband, Stan Lett, is Hobby Lobby’s vice president.

“From the very beginning, our purpose was to honor God in all that we did,” Mr. Green wrote. “We worked hard and God gave the results. As we were blessed by God, we saw it as a great privilege to give back. We’ve been able to provide hope through supporting ministries and planting churches all over the world.”

Hobby Lobby’s leadership has made headlines for its faith-oriented practice, including its role against a federal ruling that would force companies to provide contraception through company health insurance. They’ve also faced their share of controversy in recent years.

The case, which went to the Supreme Court, was won by Mr. Green’s efforts in 2014, concluding that private corporations could be exempt from government regulations that their owners have religious objections to.

The firm also took heat for its open support for former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, facing calls to boycott the business.

In 2017, federal prosecutors found Hobby Lobby had illegally smuggled stolen artifacts into the country by shipping them to their headquarters in a false label dubbed as ceramic tile samples.

The move was part of the Greens’ interest in collecting biblical antiques, despite warnings from property law experts.

Ultimately, the court urged Hobby Lobby to return their artifacts and pay a $3 million fine.

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