Billy Taylor, the CEO and Owner of HomeTown Lenders, believes in the importance of human compassion. A hardworking businessman, he started Huntsville, Alabama-based HomeTown Lenders in 2000. He relentlessly focused on expansion, building the company into a network of branch locations that spans 38 states as of 2018.
A strong believer in the people before profits philosophy, Taylor went into business believing that success comes from building relationships and treating customers right. He credits HomeTown Lender's success to the disciplined following of faith-based values.
This philosophy paid off in a big way. Taylor, along with his colleagues at HomeTown Lenders, felt that sharing the wealth they created must be their top priority. Money is not something people should hoard or spend on extravagances, especially when there are so many people in need. From a melding of business acumen and faith-based values, in 2009, Mission Firefly was born.
While on a mission trip to Guatemala, he noticed the dire poverty of so many Guatemalans. Despite the country's natural beauty and wonderful people, there was little or no opportunity for most impoverished Guatemalans.
They lacked access to the basics, such as clean drinking water, ample and safe nutritious foods, education and health care. Guatemalan children needed help to escape the cycle of poverty.
Taylor acted. With the help of his colleagues at HomeTown Lenders, he created Mission Firefly. They established it as a 501(c)3 separate from HomeTown Lenders, though HomeTown Lenders employees are very involved.
As a result, they were able to use the fruits of their labors to do charitable works. Mission Firefly has made tremendous progress in helping impoverished people survive and escape poverty, but there is still much more work to be done.
What does Mission Firefly provide?
Mission Firefly improves all areas of people's lives. Spiritual development is an integral part of the mission. Basics, including food, water and shelter, are provided to the neediest.
The mission also brings health care to communities lacking hospitals and doctors. Education is provided for children, and economic development programs bring jobs to the struggling regions. This comprehensive approach helps people on a holistic level.
It is not enough to just provide food and drinking water. People also need a hand up the economic ladder, and that means economic development that includes business and job opportunities.
Mission Firefly also helps churches adopt impoverished villages around the globe. Once a church embraces a community, the congregation provides help in the form of food, clothing, shelter and education. In time, church members are also able to share the joy of their faith.
Billy Taylor and Hometown Lenders are proud to help local children in Alabama as well. They recognized the needs in their own community and had taken action with programs that provide nutritional and educational help to children in need.
No child should go hungry. Hunger harms their growth and distracts them from school. Mission Firefly works to eliminate this problem among Alabama children. Below are three examples of projects Mission Firefly is most proud of:
Mission Firefly has brought clean water sources to all Guatemalan villages it works to help. This gives the communities the ongoing, stable resource of clean water, so they can focus on further development rather than seeking clean water and combating waterborne illness. Mission Firefly thanks the over 50,000 youth who helped make this a reality.
Lunches of Love
Malnutrition among Alabama children must be stopped. Mission Firefly launched the Lunches of Love program to provide school lunches to needy children. The mission focused on providing healthy food that improves school experience. It also provides assistance to kids who need food on the weekends.
Through Mission Firefly's child sponsorship program, children receive needed food, water, clothing and medical supplies. They also learn that people in the world care about each other. Sponsors can visit and develop a relationship with their sponsored child.
Mission Firefly shows that business profits can be used to fulfill faith-based charitable works. Moral values made the company a successful enterprise. These values are now putting the wealth HomeTown Lenders built to work for the good of people everywhere.