Jon Huntsman Sr.:
I’m grateful to the Lord. I’ll tell you...it’s hard for me to even talk about it, but I’ve always been strong in my faith, and I’ve had faith in other people. And if people know you have faith in them and you can put your arm around them and thank them for what they’re doing and then share your profits with them and share your profits with charity at the same time, it’s a formula for great success.[...]
Once one makes a commitment to charity, the last people in the world who can afford to ever be without are those who are already without. And so as a boy growing up, I knew the feeling of being poor. I lived that. I’d worn those moccasins. My wife and I agreed that if ever we were going to make a commitment, and often commitments have to be made for five or ten years. They’re not just a one-year situation. Many of our commitments were 50 million or 100 million. They were going to different causes, mostly cancer but a lot of other great causes.
So I went to the banks in New York, and I said I really need a high-powered loan. And they said for your business? And I said no, for charity. They said we don’t loan money for charity. Nobody is foolish enough to borrow money so they can give it away. How do you intend to repay us? And I said well, my businesses will grow, and we will flourish, and we will be successful, but you just have to give me time. But I will not let these people down. They’re counting on me for food. They’re counting on me for cancer treatments. They’re counting on us for abused women and children centers. They’re counting on me for 5,000 scholarships to underprivileged kids who, you know, if it hadn’t have been for family, I wouldn’t have been through school.
And so the bankers, they were so astounded that the chairman said I’ll have to think about it, and then he sent the vice-chairman all the way out west to visit with me to try to talk me out of it. And I said don’t you dare talk me out of it. I will pay you back every dime, every penny, but I will not let these charities down. And so [...], it was a great blessing.
All my net worth, absolutely, because I figured that [...] you’re born with not much in life. Most of us don’t have a whole lot when we’re born, and I figured that if I died without a whole lot, I’d break even. That’s a pretty good record. And so it didn’t bother me in the slightest. So we put up our corporate stock. I put up one of my homes. And my wife and children, the bank wouldn’t give me any collateral on those. But it worked out great.
I’m not trying to sound self-serving. [...] All I’m saying is that, you know, whether we’re worth a billion, whether we’re worth a million, whether we’re worth 100,000, whether we’re worth 1,000, it’s what’s in your heart. You know, $100 a month from somebody or $50 a year for people who may be in a less economic bracket, that’s as important to the Lord. It’s important to those people receiving charity as it is for the billionaires and millionaires. In fact, it’s worth more.
I would suggest [..] that there’s probably more money per capita given by the lower income in middle income than these extremely wealthy people who I’ve had the privilege to associate with who don’t give much of anything.
But anyway, my feeling is, you know, the twinkle in people’s eye and the feelings in their face, the hope in their body that you can give people by lifting their souls and lifting their spirits, it doesn’t cost that much. And besides, what are we going to do with it anyway?
You know, we’ve been blessed. The Lord has blessed us in a way that we can never, ever say thank you.