The founder of Hobby Lobby says he’s giving his company away.
In an op-ed for Fox News published last week, David Green name-checked Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, who recently announced that he would be giving away his company.
Unlike Chouinard, however, Green said that his decision was because he “chose God.” He explained that his faith was the “true source” of his success, and giving away his company came down to his own struggle between considering himself an owner of his company, or a steward.
“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,” he said. “As our company grew, that idea began to bother me more and more. Well-meaning attorneys and accountants advised me to simply pass ownership down to my children and grandchildren. It didn’t seem fair to me that I might change or even ruin the future of grandchildren who had not even been born yet.”
In the end, Green wrote that he decided he was a steward, and that “God was the true owner of my business.”
“When I realized that I was just a steward, it was easy to give away my ownership,” he wrote.
The details of how Green will give away his company are unclear, but in an interview with Fox & Friends Weekend last week, Green said that 100% of the company’s voting stock has been moved to a trust.
“Wealth can be a curse and, in most cases, if you drill down on it, wealth is a curse in terms of marriage, children, and things of that nature,” he said on the program. “So we’re stewarding our company and, therefore, our children come to work, and they get what they earn…It’s a paradigm change from ownership that can really wreck a family.”
Green’s personal net worth is $14 billion, according to Forbes.
Hobby Lobby’s religious connections have popped up in the news several times over the past few years. In 2014 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in its challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that required employers to offer Plan B coverage, or the morning-after pill. The retailer said it violated the company’s and its owners’ religious liberties.
Green and his family also spent $500 million to open the Museum of the Bible, a museum owned by the family that documents the history of the bible, that opened in Washington, D.C., in 2017. It has since been the subject of controversy following a discovery that some artifacts presented in the museum were either stolen or fake. Additionally, in March 2020 (early into the pandemic), the retailer opted to leave stores open because, Green said, employees “can all rest knowing that God is in control.”
Hobby Lobby did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.
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