At 212 Media Studios, we believe that giving is more than just something you should do out of habit every December. Giving is really important—and can literally change both the recipient and the giver. That’s why this holiday season, 212 Media Studios is spending 12 days focusing exclusively on what it means to give.
Insurance companies don’t normally come to mind when you think about generosity or influential platforms—but Silveus Insurance is an exception. By regularly donating to at least 30 organizations (such as Heartline Pregnancy Center, Cardinal Services, Combined Community Services, and 2nd Mile Missions), as well as helping local schools and supporting kids sports teams, Silveus is known as a major contributor to the success of its community.
Tyler Silveus, one of three brothers who co-own the company, explained, ”More and more, this is my ministry. There was a period of time when I thought the more spiritual you get, and the more in love with Christ you fall, you have to be a missionary. And I am learning this is very true—but the only thing you need to do is be with people. I am realizing that this business gives us a platform that no pastor has. I get to meet farmers from 40 states, and go sit in their homes, hear about their kids, see their world, and understand their businesses. On the other hand, I get to meet people from Zurich, Switzerland and Tokyo, Japan. It provides a platform among a wide variety of people, beliefs, and thoughts. I think our role as owners is to build a business that has a different purpose than normal. Obviously, we have to make money, or we can’t stay in business. But more and more, we are seeing our employees and agents view it just like that: a platform for their lives’ work. We think that God is doing that here in this company, and building a missions organization disguised as a business.”
This platform has been built through generosity—not only monetarily, but also through time. Employees are given an extra week of paid vacation to go serve, whether building a house with Habitat For Humanity, raking leaves, or traveling on a mission trip. “It is one thing to sit and write checks, and it’s another thing to get out and do—we want to encourage both. We don’t want to just give things; we have found that relationships are what change people, not money. Money can change people, but usually not in the right way,” Tyler explained.
How do They Decide Where to Give?
“In the past, it has been mostly my brothers and me deciding where our donation budget goes, but we are moving toward involving our 180 employees more in those decisions. They help generate that income, so they ought to help decide where it goes and why. We want to focus on organizations that provide a context for relationships, whether that is Water For Good, with its development program that builds communities with relationship, or a group like Heartline that actively engages in women’s lives—not just giving diapers and formula, but also teaching and mentoring.”
Why Does Silveus Give Generously?
- “Giving energizes employees to feel like it’s about something bigger than all of us.”
- “If you want inspired culture in a business, you have to do something that is inspiring, and you need a story to tell.”
- “It guards your heart against selfishness and pride, and I think we all need that. It really helps hedge you from those selfish pursuits when you do your best to hold the things you have with an open hand, knowing that these are not yours. They are not a result of your abilities in yourself—but everything good comes from the Lord.”
- “It is good stewardship to ask ‘What do you want me to do with this, Lord?’”
- “It is pretty easy to give when you realize what you have been given, and that you can’t compare the blessings of wealth on earth with the contentment, joy, and peace that comes from impacting other people’s lives, not just with money but with the Gospel.”
- “Success isn’t defined by how much stuff you have…and anyone who is successful will have a tendency to judge the extent of his success on tangible things, like wealth and freedom. But it is not hard to look around your neighborhood or community to see where those resources could be deployed for benefiting other people’s lives.”
- “Giving promotes the culture that everyone wants to live in and raise kids in.”
Why Should You Give?
“If we lose generosity, this community won’t be special anymore. And I think that we are not even close to the type of community that we could be. There is a lot of money in this town, and certain individuals have given a lot to the community. It is irresponsible to just expect those people to keep on giving, when it is time for others to pick up the slack and make this place what it can be: one of the most generous, loving communities in the world. I don’t have time to do all the different ministry stuff that other people can do, but if I can make more money and give it away, then there are more people who can do it. It is an awesome partnership—just like in the body of Christ, you need the head, the arm, and the brain to all do their functions, because the church is supposed to be the community.”
You have a platform, too. How can you use it to make an impact and live generously?
To see previous blog posts in the 12-day GIVE series, click here. And come back tomorrow for the next one.