How 50 People and $100 Each Became 1 Higher Calling

05/10/16

It all started in 2009. Mike Guerrero was reading a magazine article that piqued his interest. It was on the “Kingdom Assignment” concept created by Denny and Leesa Bellesi. The original Kingdom Assignment resulted the Bellesis giving $100 to people in their congregation with one clear objective: make the money go farther. The assignment encourages people to be a living example like that seen in Matthew 25:14-30.

 
Mike, founder and CEO of Definiti Comp Solutions in California, a company that helps large employers manage their workers’ compensation costs, decided to put the Kingdom Assignment into action in his own company. With “servant leadership,” “giving back,” and “help people find purpose and meaning” in the company’s values, it’s no surprise this concept struck Mike. He decided to give each employee $100 and one mission: expand it into something good.
 
Moved by the Children of the Nations story and mission, Definiti decided to partner with COTN. As Mike explained, “I know of this organization that’s changing a whole country by loving on kids.” The rest, as they say, is history. The results of the Kingdom Assignment were astounding. That year, they raised enough money to buy a van for COTN staff in the Dominican Republic.
 
With the original $100 Kingdom Assignment challenge from Definiti leadership, the Definiti staff of about 50 people raised enough to buy a van for the COTN-Dominican Republic team.
 
“It has helped our people be more anchored in helping others,” Mike explains. “There’s an awareness at a company level about those who are disadvantaged.”
 
Now, seven years later, the connection between Definiti and COTN has grown significantly.
 
The company sponsors numerous children and frequently donates to COTN in a variety of ways, like purchasing items from the COTN Gift Catalog when giving each other gifts at Christmastime. They even have an inspiring conversation piece, the “Wall of Hope,” on which there are photos of the children the team sponsors. There are 18 children pictured currently.
 
Definiti Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing Jeff Otsuji; COTN Senior Director of National Development Eric Nachtrieb; Definiti Founder and CEO Mike Guerrero; Cindy Guerrero, Mike's wife; COTN Founders Debbie and Chris Clark; and Francisco Kalima, COTN graduate, in front of Definiti's "Wall of Hope."
 
“The wall gives us a chance to share the heart of our organization as well as the different COTN is making in the lives of poverty stricken children in the areas they serve,” says Jeff Otsuji, Definiti senior vice president, sales and marketing. “It’s easy for our team and others to get behind supporting children in need.”
 
With the company’s decision to use time and resources to support COTN kids, it was important for the executive leaders to meet the children they were talking about every day. So, the Definiti leadership team decided to do their executive retreat in the Dominican Republic, spending time with COTN children. “[With that trip, it became] personal for our executive team,” Jeff says.
 
     Members of the Definiti executive leadership team with COTN children and others in the Altagracia community.
 
 
Definiti President and Chief Operating Officer Amaro Ngo with COTN students in the Dominican Republic while on the leadership staff retreat.
 
“The opportunity to have your coworkers be aware of others who have less opportunity, and then find a way for them to be able to give in whatever way they can, helps develop part of what we want our culture to be,” Mike explains. “Forget about the company. Just have an engaged culture for people to be part of. There have been real, amazing, surprising things that have come out of giving.”
 
The support of the Definiti team has been felt by many at COTN. "The impact that this company has made on the lives of our children will be felt for years to come," said Eric Nachtrieb, COTN's senior director of national development. "The Definiti team's fingerprints are found in so many places. They are a great example of how many hands can make the lifting easy. I can't thank them enough for their sacrificial service and example of compassion for others in need." 
 
For Mike, Jeff, and other members of Definiti, they feel the COTN children have taught them about being content and happy with their circumstances. Ultimately, they feel this support and mission to help others is as—if not more—important than business itself.
 
As Jeff says, “Our goal is to grow business more so we can give more and have even more impact. We want our team to think about the fact that everything they do daily and with each customer has a higher calling.”
 
 
Matthew 25:14-30 New International Version
The parable of the bags of gold
14 ‘Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 ‘After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.”
21 ‘His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
22 ‘The man with two bags of gold also came. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two bags of gold: see, I have gained two more.”
23 ‘His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
24 ‘Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”
26 ‘His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 ‘“So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”