Interview with Faithbox Founder and CEO, Willie Morris
Willie Morris was an atheist 4 years ago. Today, he is the founder and CEO of Faithbox, a brilliant Christ-centered start up that is blowing up. Willie became a Christian in a very interesting way – through seeing the love of others in a non-profit that he worked with. Love transformed Willie and brought him to Jesus.
Willie has some great insights as to how business can serve others and what triple bottom line (caring about profits, planet, and people) businesses could become. We caught up with Willie for an interview. Enjoy.
1. Your story is inspiring. Share with us how you went from an atheist 4 years ago to a passionate follower of Jesus.
I grew up Catholic, but when I was in the South for school I saw a very conservative and non-inclusive side to Christianity, so I decided to just shun any kind of belief. After graduation and as I grew up, I had launched a design agency and had the chance to work with a private non-profit that opened my eyes to how much good people were capable of doing out of love. This really opened me up to start reassessing my faith and beliefs and led me back to Christ. It wasn’t an overnight thing though, it was a tough journey that took a lot of reflection and prayer.
2. From your story, it sounds like experiencing love directed you towards Jesus and not necessarily rhetoric or argument. How do you believe that business can point people to Jesus?
Definitely - I think sometimes we all get caught up in rhetoric and forget that what it comes down to is simple - that we’re called to love. I believe businesses, especially Christian businesses, have a responsibility towards people - their customers, their employees, etc... By valuing those people and leading by example through responsible business practices (fair wage, eco-consciousness, transparency, philanthropy, etc…) they can embody Christian ideals and help lead people down His path.
3. Tell us about Faithbox. What is the vision and what is your hope for the company?
My big vision for Faithbox is to make an impact on as many levels as possible. On an individual level through helping people embrace their faith throughout the days and weeks; on a local level through spreading goodwill and encouraging random acts of kindness from our community; and globally through introducing people to socially responsible businesses and through our own charitable givings.
4. Faithbox has a one-for-one mentality, where you will feed an orphan child for a day for every box shipped. How do you believe that triple bottom line companies like Faithbox will change the landscape of business in the U.S.?
Yep, we couldn’t do it without our charity partner, Rice Bowls. Everyone there is amazingly inspiring to us!
It would be phenomenal if we got to the point where one-for-one models and fair trade companies were the rule and not the exception. It’s completely possible too - with how quickly information spreads and how accessible it is, it’s fairly easy for people to suss out if a company is acting irresponsibly and find an alternative. As responsible business practices gain importance in the consumer’s purchasing decisions, more companies will start implementing programs that support a triple bottom line. It’s a win for everyone.
5. Faithbox is a subscription service. Why did you choose to go with a subscription model vs. a one-time model?
When I first sat down with Gary Vaynerchuk, who helped start Faithbox, he had a lot of interest in the subscription model since he had some successful investments in other subscription businesses. Trying to combine the ideas of a triple bottom line faith-based business with subscription sounded like a really exciting challenge to me and really interesting. Personally, I felt like having a subscription membership would allow us to build a more engaged community of people and create a bigger impact in the long run. Plus, getting a surprise every month is just fun!
6. What is next for you and for Faithbox? How can people connect with what you believe in?
Right now we’re trying to build our community and figure out new ways to create positive impacts. We just launched a marketplace on faithbox.com with products that we’ve featured in our boxes. We try to include at least one item a month that could serve as an alternative for something you already use, but that is made responsibly. As individuals we vote with our wallet so we want our marketplace to empower people to find these items easily and for fair prices.
We set up an email address to take in prayer requests, too. Our entire team meets on Mondays and towards the end of our meeting we offer up any received prayer requests along with any our team may have. It helps us start the week centered and full!