Galen Hofer and Stephanie Phibbs from Denver, Colorado, are long-time admirers of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), but in 2015 they decided to turn their admiration into collaboration.
Originally Phibbs, a health-care administrator in Denver, suggested volunteering abroad for a year or two. But Hofer, a contractor who owns a small construction company with a business partner, couldn’t imagine leaving his work or uprooting the family, including his and Phibbs’ three-year-old son, Micah.
Still, the couple wanted to do something to contribute to MCC’s relief, development and peace work.
"My life is so ridiculously privileged compared to most people in the world,” Hofer said. “I’m really happy I have a son late in life, so I wanted to give back.”
They decided to give one year of construction business income over two years.
Hofer and Phibbs were especially moved to give because of the crises in Syria and Iraq and the desire to help build a better world for their son.
"Peace and justice issues are central to my heart,” Phibbs said, citing past trips to Palestine and Iraq which informed her understanding of conflicts and peacebuilding. “I think that's one of the most important things we can do for our kids – showing them viable means of making a difference and highlighting positive things happening in the world you can contribute to.”
According to the couple, taking an extended period of time off work would be difficult to do, especially because of Hofer’s business. However, because they have saved, invested, and both work, giving this income is something they’re financially stable enough to do.
Phibbs and Hofer hope their donation will spur others to give to MCC if serving abroad is not possible.
“It seems like a really big commitment to put their house up for sale or to rent it or to move to a different location,” Hofer said. “But I think there's a lot of people who are kind of frugal, who have saved over the years, who could do without a year's income and be okay.”
The couple said they will definitely continue their support for MCC, even though contribution amounts are likely to vary.
“I trust (MCC) to spend the money well. Efficiently,” Hofer said.