Opting for an Investment that Gives Back
Fueling a charitable business
John Gilbreath knows a good deal when he finds one, and if his years in the boom-and-bust energy sector have taught him one thing, it’s to give back when you can. As a senior vice president at an Omaha-based capital management firm, Gilbreath knows how to read a bottom line and make an investment work for clients. After a few years of careful searching, he’s finally found his own investment that not only will serve his financial stability, but also will help serve the disadvantaged in our community.
Most of us have seen at least one of Thrift World’s four Omaha locations, but few of us know the underlying benefits its revenue serves for charitable organizations. That’s one reason Gilbreath sought to acquire Thrift World, as a way to “not only make a decent investment, but to help non-profits raise money.” Gilbreath settled on Thrift World because of its over twenty years of demonstrated success, but was truly sold on its charitable backbone. The charity stores partner with Paralyzed Veterans of America in Omaha and Community Services League in Kansas City. With every dollar earned, a portion of that income is reserved for both organizations. As a for-profit organization, Thrift World seeks to sustain itself and the larger community around it, and most especially those in need.
A veteran of charity in his own right, Gilbreath has spent years volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Club. As a current treasurer and board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Gilbreath has channeled his passion for getting involved with non-profits on a grander scale with Thrift World. Using his fundraising skills and past experience, Gilbreath is hoping to “partner some structure and increase awareness” of Thrift World’s partners. It’s an investment strategy that has the potential to benefit a significant cross-section of our community.
"Gilbreath's own reasons for volunteering and giving to charity are deeply rooted in his upbringing. The son of a small-town volunteer mayor and firefighter, Gilbreath learned from his parents firsthand how important community is, and that no community is whole without the health and well-being of its members."
The crux of Thrift World’s ingenuity boils down to increasing awareness through advertising. Organizations like Paralyzed Veterans of America rely heavily on the charitable spirit of others. Thrift World increases that exposure through free advertising and payment of fees based on a portion of profits earned from donations sold through its stores. Thrift World allocates its resources to service Paralyzed Veterans of America and Community Services League by picking up donations on their behalf and sporting their names on collection bins and vans.
While this service was already in place before Gilbreath got onboard, his plans are to not only increase the physical presence of Thrift World but also its digital one. He sees the potential to “increase the awareness of [these] organizations further” and to help spread the word that “these are entities that you can donate to on a tax-deductible basis.” Gilbreath hopes to fund the websites of Thrift World’s charity partners to delve deeper and help the disadvantaged utilize the services available to them through Community Services League and Paralyzed Veterans of America. Letting people know their money and donations are tax deductible is a gentle reminder that giving back can be a fiscal boon, but the spirit of generosity is a far more rewarding reason.
Gilbreath’s own reasons for volunteering and giving to charity are deeply rooted in his upbringing. The son of a small-town volunteer mayor and firefighter, Gilbreath learned from his parents firsthand how important community is, and that no community is whole without the health and wellbeing of its members. Having done well in his career, Gilbreath has taken his parents’ example and chosen to follow their lead, believing that one has to work hard, and “having been fortunate enough to be fairly successful…as a result I feel the need to give back and am excited for that.” Gilbreath’s enthusiasm for charity is catching and an excellent example that investments can do more than increase income well into retirement, but can also make great strides to helping create a stronger community from the unlikeliest of places.
The Firm Deal Review
Lender: American National Bank, Timothy Johansen and David Ridder
Number of Locations: 6, including a distribution center (3 states)
Number of Employees: Over 150
Sellside CPA Firm: Bush CPA
Buyside CPA: Frankel Zacharia