“Everyone says if you consume more, you’re happier. But that’s not the mark of a very thoughtful person.”
Travel Writer and guru, Rick Steves, believes in investing his money, but not in the traditional sense of the word.
“Rick’s investment is in people, community, and as he says, it could be more rewarding [than money],” K5 News reporter says. What does that mean though?
After traveling throughout the world with nothing to his name but a backpack and a rail pass, Rick says that he understands the challenges of finding an affordable (i.e. free) place to sleep, as well as the value of a safe and comfortable place to sleep. So, after he made it big as one of the Travel Channel’s long-time hosts, he set out to help other young people be successes in their own right–namely, helping young, single women become the successful mothers they wish to be.
Back in 2005, Steves bought Trinity Place apartment complex for the sole purpose of housing single mothers who are down on their luck. Though Trinity Place was his proclaimed Nest Egg, Steves never collected any rent from its residents; instead, his income is the equity the complex gains as it appreciates in value over time. A bonus, he says, is the simple joy of housing otherwise desperate people. “Imagine the joy of knowing that I could provide a simple two-bedroom apartment for a mom and her kids as she fought to get her life back on track,” he says of his outreach project.
Trinity Place houses single mothers who are recovering from drug addiction. Though it was Steves’ project, the Rotary Club and YWCA got involved in helping Rick provide these families with the care they need to get back on their feet. Doug Lofstrom of Edmond’s Rotary Club says of the project, “They reunited mothers and children. That’s a big, big, big deal.”
Recovering addict, Tamara, attests to just how big of a deal that is when she shares with reporters her experience at Trinity Place and what it means to her:
“It means being able to have my kids with me, and being able to raise them and be a mom again and get my life back on track,” she tells the camera.
Just a year ago, Tamara was homeless and her children were in foster care. Now, thanks to Rick’s generosity, she is able to be a mom again. And that is just what Rick set out to do, for Tamara and hundreds like her.
“I don’t think it’s particularly loving… to house people – I just think it’s enlightened. I want to get a return on my money.” For many people, more money is a return on money spent, but as Rick proves, there are much greater joys in life than paper and coins.
Though Rick had always planned to will his nest egg, he’s recently made a decision that will set up the YWCA and those in need for a long time to come. To see what more Steves has up his sleeve for his $4 million complex, watch this video of a guy just trying to make a difference.