Risk Only Money

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From 1975 to 2015, Jack DeBoer started five major lodging franchises: Residence Inn, Candlewood Suites, Summerfield Suites, Value Place, and WaterWalk Hotel and Apartments. But his journey wasn’t without failures…. 

In Risk Only Money,  Jack DeBoer reflects on his transition from success to significance. His and Marilyn's trip to Myanmar figures prominently in that journey:  

Myanmar was important to us because it helped us to become the best versions of ourselves – to move from success to significance. This wasn’t always a given.

The passion Marilyn and I developed for Myanmar—a place where the world’s great need was so obvious, as to be unmistakable—was itself a vocation. It was almost like we had no choice but to work on making a difference.

Success is nothing compared to significance. If we’re willing to plan for success and work systematically for it, shouldn’t we do the same for significance?

"You don’t want to get stuck at success. You want to enjoy the fruits of living a life of significance.


Myanmar also changed the DeBoers’ approach to philanthropy

Over decades of intentional focus on philanthropy, Jack DeBoer has boiled his and Marilyn’s philosophy down to a dozen guiding principles:

  1. We start with alignment. Every time we have tried to collaborate with someone with different objectives from us, it went badly. 

  2. Our giving should be guided by a plan that reflects the values that guide our lives. 

  3. We give and volunteer where our passion meets a compelling need: we call it the "philanthropy free market".

  4. We have found that making money is easier than giving it away effectively. 

  5. We like to give our dollars to where dollars are scarce – they tend to go farther.

  6. Our Foundation’s greatest assets are not just money, but our staff’s commitment and ability to help develop charities and their leaders. 

  7. We always try to identify good leaders and back them. 

  8. We love including our friends in our charitable projects. We act as cheerleaders, networkers, and conveners.

  9. We like for our gifts to fix “leaky roofs”—providing real help, right now, to people with immediate physical needs. 

  10. We find ourselves being loyal donors. When we get involved with charities, it is often with the possibility and hope to develop relationships that will be long lasting. 

  11. We’re not an ATM.  We don’t feel obligated to give to everyone who asks.  

  12. We don’t always “get it right.”  We’ve made some grants that didn’t work out well, and we have also turned down some excellent requests. Fortunately, the charitable world doesn’t depend upon the DeBoers being right 100% of the time."


Endorsements for Risk Only Money

“True greatness – true significance – is found in giving our lives to serve others, not in acquiring prestige, power, influence, and money. In Risk Only Money, Jack DeBoer shares his own story of making it to the top, only to be taught some hard and humbling lessons when he got there. His story will challenge you to rethink your own definition of success. Are you willing to give of yourself? Your answer will say a lot about your future – and your own significance.”

Richard Stearns
President of World Vision US and author of The Hole in Our Gospel

“Jack believes in God’s grace and that ‘taking care of business’ means honoring the Lord and sharing his blessings. In Risk Only Money, Jack offers a roadmap to others seeking fame and fortune. They may be surprised to find he takes them beyond material riches to a place of greater fulfillment. But they will be glad.”

David Green
CEO and Founder, Hobby Lobby

Would you, your organization, or someone you know like a copy of Risk Only Money