Listening to someone talk about family is always full of emotion – funny, sad, uplifting, surprising. Such a conversation is a gift; there is so much to learn. I had just such a conversation with Carrie-Ann Jasper recently. She shared from the heart their family story and how Jasper Ventures became the success it is today. And especially how they changed a decision to make an anonymous and significant gift to a local charity, Mentoring Alliance, to a publicly known gift.
It would take too long to go back to the beginning so we’ll start with the company founded by Jon Jasper, Engineering, Procurement & Construction, Inc. (EPC). Jon founded EPC in 1992 with a mission focused on delivering high-quality, energy-efficient, cost-effective solutions to the midstream market – processing, storage and transportation of crude oil and natural gas.
EPC proved a successful venture for Jon Jasper, even thru trying times and a twelve-year fight with terminal brain cancer. Jon survived, declared cancer-free in 2017. Even as he was fighting for his life and running EPC, he began to believe that his children, now grown and successful in their careers, could be a part of the business’ future.
In spite of the second generation going their way, they began to come home, braiding two generations together to create a family-owned business named Jasper Ventures. It was both very good for the companies and the communities where they lived and worked.
Over seven years three family members returned to work with dad, Jon – Brent Jasper, Carrie-Ann Jasper, and brother-in-law Les Campbell.
Family businesses are often fraught with many challenges beyond their markets, the economy, and all the details which lead to business failure or success. Family businesses can be fraught with family. In this case, the Jasper family was clear. Their companies belonged to God and are Christ-focused. Jasper Ventures would never be about them.
That’s the real story of Jasper Ventures – their vision.
“We are a Christ-centered family of companies creating unparalleled value for our employees, clients, and communities.” They are clear. The companies are Christ-centered and they are creating value for employees, clients, and communities.
A business magazine story would describe how JV is Christ-centered and how they treat their employees, creating a great place to work and unparalleled value for their industry clients.
One more thing sets them apart.
It is uncommon for a business vision statement to encompass communities. That’s where the company’s long-time relationship with a local nonprofit organization, Mentoring Alliance, makes this story special.
Starting as Boys and Girls Club, the organization made a shift in 2013 under the leadership of Kevin East, changing their name to Mentoring Alliance. Under Kevin’s leadership, the Boys and Girls Club began a journey toward a Christ-centered organization with a heart to serve children and families struggling with challenging circumstances. Their mission is to mobilize godly people into the lives of kids and families, to provide tangible help and eternal hope.
Mentoring Alliance, like Jasper Ventures, created a healthy work culture for staff and volunteers.
As their services grew, they began to address the issue of relocating. Eventually identifying a location in exactly the right spot, they now faced the challenge to raise funds to purchase and remodel.
The Jasper family knew the organization well. Some members served on the board of directors. Some served as mentors for Gospel village.
After prayer and discussion, the Jasper family decided to make an anonymous lead gift. The gift was not about them, but rather the work of God. Because their giving is not about the Jasper family, they chose to keep the gift anonymous, shying away from specific publicity that would put the spotlight on them.
In August of 2018, Carrie-Ann experienced a powerful moment, one she shared with her siblings. The clarifying moment came through a sermon delivered by Doug Clark, senior pastor of Grace Community Church, about giving to the church.
It focused on the story of Solomon building the temple with the wholehearted support of David. David publicly supported Solomon, bringing others to join in the joy of giving and celebration for a new temple.
Carrie-Ann knew their gift to Mentoring Alliance was from the heart; it was not about the Jasper family or their companies. She wanted others to share in the joy of heartfelt giving and to celebrate when Mentoring Alliance opened their new doors. The decision was made to make their gift public so others might share in the joy of heartfelt giving.
Many donors joined them in making it possible for Mentoring Alliance to purchase and renovate the new space.
Lessons I learned from the Jasper Ventures story:
- Decisions about large gifts should be made in a deliberate fashion, which will always take more time.
- Large gifts are best made after spending time to clarify the most important outcome.
- Family giving decisions impact many different individuals across different generations. Everyone should be taken into consideration.
- Guidance about the details related to large gifts may come from unexpected places. Be open to how the story of others might provide insight.
At the Jasper companies, they are passionate about families and children. They believe strong families will build strong communities. They bring their faith to work.
At Mentoring Alliance, they believe every child was created in the image of God and therefore has immense value. They know that even as they pour themselves into the lives of children, they are changing families.
In this story, one company’s vision and mission met a nonprofit’s mission. In this story, God was at the center of decisions and directions. A wonderful gift resulted, and amazing things happened.
When have you seen an amazing gift impact a company, a family, and a nonprofit? I’d love to hear your story.
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