Philanthropy opened in 2007 with the crazy idea that a retail store could make a difference in our world. It was started by Christina Martin, who graduated with a degree in Interior Design and worked for years as a visual merchandiser. Realizing that she was better suited as an entrepreneur, Christina went on to open several successful businesses, but felt like there must be something more. In 2006, she had a conversation with her father that would inspire her to open Philanthropy. After telling him her idea about a boutique that gave back, he said “God created you for a big vision. Don’t think of this in small terms. God will bless this work.” Just four hours after that conversation, her father died unexpectedly of a heart attack. Christina felt such affirmation and sense of purpose from the things her father said that she knew she had to go forward with this inspired idea. She wanted not just to make a difference in Franklin, but to impact other parts of the world as well, and what better way than opening a boutique that had giving to those communities at it’s very core. Christina began with the help of her former business partner, Marianne (who in 2010 felt God calling her in a different direction and moved on to new oppurtunities) and is now at the helm of this ever-growing ship.
Through the years Philanthropy has developed lasting relationships with non-profits throughout the United States, The Caribbean Islands, and East Africa. The store has been able to donate over $300,000 since it’s opening in 2007 – no small feat for a locally owned boutique. But Christina prefers the spotlight to shine on someone else – in her own words “I want people to see that we’re genuine and that Jesus Christ is reflected through us. We don’t take credit for any of this…it’s about God and His plan.” Christina uses this verse as a guideline for each step the store takes in choosing non-profits and charitable organizations to work with : “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” -James 1:27
The truth is, when giving is the focus, the public seems happy and excited to get involved. And Philanthropy’s success can only come from two places – the grace of God, and the involvement of our customers. For that we are endlessly thankful.