Big $$: Highlands College just got $20 million from Hobby Lobby’s founder + his family

Highlands College residence hall rendering
Rendering of the new residence hall. Photo via Highlands College’s Facebook

What would you do if someone gave you $20 million? That’s a question Birmingham’s Highlands College gets to answer now, thanks to a generous gift from Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green and the Green family. Keep reading to find out how the donation will help this unique Bible college fulfill its vision.

What is Highlands College?

Highlands College
Students at a Highlands College Campus Experience. Photo via Highlands College

According to their website, Highlands College is a biblical higher education institution that exists to supply the Church with leaders of competence, character, and spiritual maturity, holistically trained to lead lives of eternal impact by fulfilling the Great Commission.

Founded in 2011, this Bible college prepares students for full-time Christian ministry. They do this through a four-pillar program:

  • academic instruction
  • hands-on training
  • character formation
  • spiritual development

Highlands is a private two-year institution that aims to offer a four-year program within a few years. Its strategic plan calls for growth to 1,000 students by 2029 with a vision for *all students to graduate debt-free.* Wow.

Its graduates serve and lead in churches and ministry organizations around the world.

What the $20m gift will support

The money will fully fund the first of two planned residence halls on campus. This commitments supports the debt-free vision for Highlands College.

Highlands College’s New Residence Hall

Groundbreaking for the residence hall is scheduled for July 2021. They expect the building to be complete by late 2022.

Here’s what’s involved:

  • 5 floors
  • more than 68,000 square feet
  • 126 rooms for 252 students

“A residential campus is essential to realizing the holistic, academy-style education and training approach that sets us apart. The Green family is enabling us to activate and accelerate this key part of our vision.”  

Mark Pettus, President, Highlands College

The college’s debt-free vision

Highlands College Grandview campus
Progress on the new Grandview campus. Photo via Highlands College

The Green family’s gift allows the building to be built completely debt-free, and helps the college get closer to its vision of students being able to graduate free from personal debt.

Later in 2021, Highlands College plans to open a new 70-acre campus in the Grandview area of Birmingham. Here are some of the features in the works:

  • student center
  • 19 learning studios
  • 8 hands-on ministry training labs
  • multiple collaborative areas
  • dining facilities
  • café
  • library
  • fitness and recreation facilities
  • multi-purpose auditorium
  • latest audio-visual technology

Why the Green family donated the money

Hobby Lobby donation
Did you know Hobby Lobby’s founder started the business with a $600 loan and a vision to make miniature picture frames? Photo via Highlands College’s Facebook

“Our family sees this gift as an investment paying dividends as each graduate fulfills their calling. Highlands College is like no other. It is a community of believers, leaders, and learners who develop the whole person in spirit, mind, and body.”

David Green, Hobby Lobby founder and CEO

The Green family are longtime supporters of Christian ministries. In his 2017 book entitled Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously, Green wrote:

“A legacy of true value is a legacy made of more than money. It’s a legacy conceived in wisdom, nurtured by principle, and sustained by character.” 

Now tell us, Birmingham, what do you think of this generous gift by the Green family? Tag us on social @bhamnow and let us know.

Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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