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David Minton

Businesses giving back

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan
By Jenna Duncan

Mike Cheves is on a mission to integrate community, commerce and charity in Denton.

The Denton-based consultant started working with a handful of local companies to incorporate charity into their business models in June. His client base has expanded since he started the initiative, and now he’s going to try to multiply himself by training others.

Cheves will lead training sessions in Denton based on materials from a Silicon Valley think-tank to teach business owners and local consultants how to reshape business models and practices to benefit the community. The program, “Repurposing Business — Transforming Society,” began its kickoff session for free on Saturday.

“We’ve got to train people ... in societal transformation because they don’t teach this in school,” Cheves said. “Societal transformation takes competence and character.”

The program is one Cheves participated in about 10 years ago, and he has stayed involved with the founding company, the Institute for Innovation, Integration and Impact. While the seminar changed his business, he incorporated the principles with his clients but it was not the focus.

After a trip to South Africa with the institute earlier this year, Cheves said he realized it was sustainable to only work with companies that want to incorporate charity into their business models.

His first client was 5W Collision and Auto Repair, and he announced at a recent Denton Creatives Mixer that the company would donate $100 for every car fixed at the shop — half to charities that support veterans, and half to charities that support women. The next day, an April hailstorm pummeled Denton. So far, the company has donated more than $20,000.

The model for the program is to get business owners to have a higher purpose than making money. To be sustainable, businesses should focus on giving back — either in job creation, specialized programs or donations, according to the program. Brett Johnson, founder of the institute and creator of the instructional program, said by approaching business in a different way, it can help ensure longevity and stability for the company.

“I think our simple message is that business can be a cause for good, there’s more to a business than making money and that business can have a positive impact on society if it looks beyond making money and buying more toys,” he said. “Actually, you can have a more sustained impact if your business has a greater purpose. You have to have a purpose outside of the business, and people discover that purpose based on how they’re wired and what they’re passionate about.”

While the program is secular, it aligns best business practices with “kingdom practices,” which are inspired by the Bible. Regardless of religion, these methods have been tried and true throughout history, Cheves said.

“Essentially what we’re doing is we know the best practices, we know the kingdom practices and we know how they align, and historically how it’s been used for success,” Cheves said.

For Denton, where local business owners tend to be embedded in the community, this business model is sustainable and can change the way local commerce works, Cheves said. As more people are trained through the program or work with others who have been, it will encourage a giving culture.

By September, Cheves hopes to launch a website to promote this concept — — where consumers can pull up businesses with a charitable model, and see which causes a business supports. That way, when they go to get an oil change or a burger, they can also indirectly support a cause they care about.

“Now, this makes the community think, ‘Hey, I want to be intentional and deliberate about who I buy my stuff from,’” he said. “Really what this concept is about [is] a deliberate life, so people buy from people who care about the same things they care about.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.