New Christian foundation pledges to donate $1 billion

New Christian foundation pledges to donate $1 billion

March 8th, 2012 by Clint Cooper in News

Covenant Values Foundation trustees Steve Steele, left, and Carey Brown, right, present a $25,000 check to Lesly Scearce of On Point.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

POTENTIAL BENEFICIARIES

Other ministries currently being considered for support by Covenant Values Foundation, according to trustee Steve Steele, are:

Highland Park Baptist Church, Camp Joy, Above and Beyond, Jubliee Campaign, Turning Point/Living Free, Women's Care of Rhea County, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, New City Fellowship Church, Portantorchas, Law of Life, Faith Ministries, International Justice Mission, First Things First, CBN/Operation Blessing, One Hope, Asian Partners, Childrens Hope Chest, Compassion International, SRI, Titus International, Care for Children, DAI, UP Mission, Faith Comes by Hearing, DCPI, Key Media, New Generations, Abbalove, DNA, IAM, Mission India, Davar and Tribal Generations.

Chattanooga businessman Carey V. Brown, who heads a new nondenominational Christian philanthropic organization, pledged Wednesday the foundation would give away $1 billion by the time he retires.

"It's up to God [how soon the billion is distributed]," he said following the launch of Covenant Values Foundation at Miller Plaza.

Brown, 53, who said he lived "in the projects" while attending Tennessee Temple University, eventually built a successful used car lot in Rossville, Ga., and now has ownership interest in more than 14 businesses, including ACH Federal, AREA203 Digital, Credit Payment Services, Support Seven and Terenine Technology Solutions.

"I've been blessed," Brown said, "so I can bless others."

Brown and fellow trustee Steve Steele announced the foundation would match up to $100,000 for any new money raised in April by six local organizations -- Chattanooga Community Kitchen, Tennessee Temple University, Precept Ministries International, Teen Challenge, On Point and the Dawson McAllister Association.

"Your work is helping inspire us," Brown told representatives of the six, who were unaware of the matching pledge. "Now we want to inspire you to give a little more."

Officials also announced that On Point, a youth development program that helps teens abstain from risky behavior, will receive the foundation's first gift of $25,000.

Brown said he chose the initial six organizations -- which could receive a combined $625,000 by the end of April -- because they are local and he had "been helping them [monetarily] for years."

He said he hoped the foundation in general would mimic the Maclellan Foundation, where Steele previously served as senior vice president of global strategy and research. Maclellan Foundation Executive Chairman of the Board Hugh O. Maclellan will be an advisor to Covenant Values Foundation, Brown said.

"I want to be just like Hugh O.," Brown said.

Tennessee Temple University President Steve Echols mouthed the words "wow" at the announcement of the pledge and later called it "a gracious gift, an enormous gift." He said the Christian school had struggled over the last several years but would be energized at the challenge.

Raising the matching money is "going to happen," he said. "I have no doubt because of this encouragement."

Lesley Scearce, president and chief executive officer of On Point, said Covenant Values Foundation has made the choice to invest "wisely in the things that really matter."

"I am overwhelmed at this generosity," she said. "We're honored to be a part of such a significant investment in the kingdom."

Roger Helle, executive director of Teen Challenge of the Mid-South, said the pledge adds to what he already knows about Chattanooga.

"I've never seen a more generous community," he said.

Brown, a native of New York, said he was inspired as a child by friends of his parents who ran an orphanage, by the generosity of the M.S. Hershey Foundation and by his businesswoman grandmother, who gave to mission work.

As a student at the State University of New York following the United States Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973, he said, he saw aborted "babies in garbage cans," and that "planted a seed."

"Today, we sacrifice babies to the god of convenience" if "they're not perfect or not the gender we wanted."

Brown said he wanted abortion, with the worldwide gifts of Covenant Values Foundation, to be thought of "like slavery is now."

"We're investing," he said, "for eternal rewards."

Brown said his businesses fall largely into the technology, call centers and real estate fields. He said he doesn't know what all they do.

Former employees say his businesses support growing offshore payday lending businesses, including PayDayMax.com, MyCashNow.com and DiscountAdvances.com.