Business = Ministry

Erik Cooper —  May 1, 2013 — 3 Comments

“You mean you’re not slumlords just trying to make a buck?”

Conversations about our company are usually full of puzzled interrogatives, and the one I found myself having with a contractor at one of our Muncie apartment complexes this morning was no different. He seemed authentically intrigued.

Honestly, so I am.

We definitely aren’t slumlords, but we are trying to make a buck. And we don’t apologize for that. But we do have some pretty big purposes in mind.

At CRF, business = ministry.

ErikKids_HondurasCrop

I’d like to tell you I was the brainchild and sweat equity behind the creation of Community Reinvestment Foundation, but I was just graduating high school when it all began. Like so many other things in life, I now find myself trying to step into the visionary, risk-filled brilliance of an incredible team of forerunners. You see, CRF was started in 1992 by my father, my former pastor, and a few other mega-shrewd businessmen who saw an opportunity for non-profits to enter the housing business.

Twenty years later, we now own and manage 19 affordable, multi-family housing projects all over the state of Indiana (with one complex just over the border in Columbus, Ohio). As a non-profit, our heart is to create and sustain high quality, affordable housing options for lower-income individuals and families. And as a bonus, a large portion of our earnings go toward supporting missions initiatives across the globe.

In fact, we just returned from 5 days in La Ceiba, Honduras with our home office staff. It was a powerful time of walking hand-in-hand with just a few of the beautiful people that are impacted by the overflow of our work. As a non-profit, we don’t have shareholders. But in a sublime sort of way, these are our shareholders.

CRFStaff_Honduras

There’s been a resurgence today of young, passionate entrepreneurs who see business as a way to make a living, earn money, and do good. (In fact, non-profit or not, I must admit I’m rather fatigued by the tired, old stigma that business and capitalism are synonyms of greed and corruption). Perhaps the visionaries that started Community Reinvestment Foundation were just a few years ahead of their time.

Few things could have lured me away from full-time pastoral ministry. I absolutely loveĀ the local church! But it’s an honor to bring my passion for God into an organization that is all about (dare I say it?) proclaiming the love of Jesus by investing in housing, and then reinvesting in individuals, families, and communities.

Right here in the Midwest, and all across the globe.

3 responses to Business = Ministry

  1. Good To Hear You Contending For Good Business and The Faith Of Good Men That Inspires & Guides It! Keep It Up!

  2. Ryan Crozier May 1, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Great! I loved seeing the pics from the trip. So blessed to know you all.

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  1. The Trajectory of Christmas | Beyond The Risk - Erik Cooper - December 18, 2013

    […] own perspectives and emotions (good and bad). And while most of you are probably fully aware that CRF is Christian-based company, we’ve tried hard to never make any of you feel like you have to share our beliefs to be a […]

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