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Warren's Story

"We all have a story to tell and a legacy to leave. Here are a few of the inspiring stories of individuals who have decided to leave a lasting legacy helping the mission of OM"

When Warren entered into the discussion for his new position as President of the company several years back, his new partner briefed him on a long standing practice. "Our policy is to set aside ten percent of all our gross income," said Mark. "First things first."

Then he explained that the proceeds are contributed to a foundation which is used to fund local charities - medical clinics, emerging countries, fresh water wells, orphanages and all sorts of initiatives that assist non-profit organizations both in North America and all over the world. When Mark and Warren hammered out the terms of the new entity, Warren not only assumed the role as President, but he agreed to commit to the tithing policy, too. The foundation thing was a new idea for him - but he decided to run with it.

A couple of weeks ago, Warren told me about this innovative and unusual approach to business and community over breakfast. At first, when his partner explained the foundation's role, he was skeptical. Then, as he thought it through, he felt challenged. Now, In the course of his work, Warren meets with bankers who routinely review the company financials. They inevitably take note of the generous contributions. Warren has come to enjoy answering their questions. Back when he joined the company, he and his wife Kristy decided to follow this pattern in their personal life. "I've always contributed to my church and the needs of the community, but never at this level," Warren admitted. As he described the amazing things that have happened in his life since, I could tell. He'll never turn back.

The company sponsored several women who made the Freedom Climb. I was there the morning Kristy told her story. The entire staff met for their weekly gathering. They heard about the training, the preparation, the gathering of nearly fifty women at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Several of the climbers work full time for organizations established to liberate women and children from the bondage of trafficking; some from prostitution. It is a global problem - the Freedom Climb was conceived as a way to call attention to this international blight. It also has become a means to raise funds to support the effort.

Jeeva Kumar is director of a rehabilitation house in Hyderabad, India. For several years, she has been caring for women who have escaped prostitution and other forms of slavery. She directs a team that provides safe haven, support and job training in the heart the city. Working with law enforcement, concerned government officials and religious leaders, hundreds of women have found more than refuge - they are finding dignity and hope.

Optivest Foundation sponsored Jeeva's participation in the climb. They paid for her transportation from India to Africa and back. She joined the other forty eight women from all over the world to climb to the summit - 19,000 feet elevation.

As Warren told me Jeeva's story, he was filled with enthusiasm. He is amazed at the blessing that pours out over so many, including the givers, when a corporate commitment is made and kept.

We left our breakfast for the staff gathering in Optivest's beautiful conference room just off Dana Point Harbor. It happened that our morning meeting coincided with (Warren's wife) Kristy's report. She made the climb. She spoke of the fears, the anxieties that accompanied the training. She pushed herself to a performance level that exceeded anything she had ever attempted. And then on the mountain, with her colleagues and friends, and with Jeeva, she imagined the pain and the heartache and the plight of those caught up as slaves - used, abused, alone, and hurting. In a powerful way, she identified with the experience of a whole population caught in the devastating grip of trafficking. Then, she made it - sunrise at the summit… and the achievement delivered a reward to the climbers in unexpected ways. "It was a spiritual journey," Kristy said. "God met us on that mountain. Our commitment to freedom expanded beyond our wildest dreams."

Warren Allan, Mark and Trish Van Mourick set the pace as generous givers at Optivest. If you dare follow their lead, fasten your seat belt.

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