Chamber Insider Blog

Meet the ’19 SBA Finalists! Tree of Life Ministries

Congratulations to the entire team at Tree of Life Ministries for being a finalist this year for the 25th Anniversary of the Loudoun Small Business Awards! View the full list of finalists here. These awards will be held on November 8, 2019 at The National Conference Center. Register Here!

Tree of Life Ministries is up for Nonprofit of the Year! Post written by TOL Executive Director Paul Smith.

1.  Tell us your story of how your business/non-profit evolved into what it is today.

Tree of Life Ministries began with a trip to Gulfport, Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Overwhelmed with the extent of poverty in the area, I was prompted to reach out to those in need in our own Loudoun community. In 2008, that idea was realized when a local church, Purcellville Baptist, made a commitment to set aside the first 10% of all church giving to meet the needs of the poor locally. Tree of Life Ministries was birthed, and our strategy has remained consistent since then.

  • Our Purpose is to reach out to the poor and needy in our community with the love of Jesus Christ.
  • Our Principles are drawn from Jesus’ words when he spoke of being hungry, thirsty, a stranger in need of clothing, sick and imprisoned.
  • Our Path brings these words to life and a framework of 5 branches has been established to impact the poor—food, life skills, shelter, healthcare and relief.

Since the start of our journey in 2008, 50,000 people have been impacted cumulatively and we now offer 28 ministries across our 5 branch framework in 3 locations. As a nonprofit, we have the support of 500+ volunteers, 33 local Christian churches and an army of amazing donors. Want to help, or need help? Contact us at any time.

2.  What would it mean to you and your nonprofit to win a Small Business Award?

The award would reflect the incredible work, not only from Tree of Life, but from Loudoun’s wider philanthropic community of nonprofits. We are privileged to live in one of the wealthiest corners of the globe, and yet, it is a joy to see so many Loudoun groups extending a helping hand to those in need.

3.  What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?

Volunteers staying the course and giving tirelessly of themselves day in and day out.

4.  Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?

Philosophically, the teachings of Jesus Christ. He said that “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

5.  What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?

One of our core values states that community is our front line. Seeing our community rally together to meet the needs of the poor is a beautiful sight.

6.  How do you see your business evolving in the next 10 years?

We constantly see a growing need in the areas of affordable housing. Impacting this need in a positive and Loudoun centric way is a key goal. In addition, finding was to extend social enterprise opportunities is critical—training and enabling the less fortunate to give back and play a key role in the entrepreneurial dynamic of the Loudoun community.

7.  If you’re not in the office, where can we find you/what are your other passions?

Working on a Bluemont farm with my beautiful wife.

8.  When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Two early thoughts—a pastor and a banker. I ended up doing the latter for 20 years and paradoxically, with the outreach of Tree of Life, I’m often doing the former.

9.  If you had 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?

Sit in my chair and watch Manchester United. When that is finished, I would plan the next chapter of Tree of Life.

10.  What is one book that you would recommend everyone read?

It has to be the Bible. It’s a long book, so to narrow that down, take a day to read John’s Gospel account of Jesus. I’m not a betting man, but I’d wager that it might change your life!


Congratulations to the entire team at Tree of Life Ministries! Good luck at the Small Business Awards this year.