Carly and Nate Roberts
by Heather Klinger
When presents under the Christmas tree kept resulting in too much stuff, the Roberts family chose instead to wrap up generosity and purchase gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalog in each other’s honor. That became one of their Christmas traditions.
Years later, when it came time to celebrate his father’s 80th birthday, Nate Roberts, now 36, was looking for a gift with significance, and he remembered the tradition his parents started and the trust he developed for World Vision over the years.
“Step one when you’re giving any substantial amount is knowing that the funds are going to be used wisely,” says Nate, an attorney. “And then when you have that knowledge—and you combine it with knowing that the funds are going to be used for a project that is personally important to you and makes a tremendous difference for others—you can feel really good about it.”
A project with that unique connection was thankfully easy to find, as Nate’s father had grown up in the Congo with his own father, a missionary. So Nate and his wife, Carly, 32, invested in a water, sanitation, and hygiene project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in his father’s honor.
Carly’s birthday was coming up too, and Nate was again looking for a meaningful gift. He worked with his World Vision representative to identify projects that Carly might connect with, and when he showed her an opportunity to help Syrian refugees, “she fell in love with it,” Nate says.
“At that time I was pregnant with Abigail, so I remember thinking I really wanted to find a project that would empower women and girls, in particular, and young families,” says Carly, an assistant director of a local nonprofit.Investing in another fragile context also appealed to both of them, as “those are the parts of the world where the need is greatest,” says Carly.
Their source of inspiration to help “the least of these brothers and sisters,” the most vulnerable, comes from Matthew 25:40. Carly and Nate consider their work with World Vision as helping them live it out.
“Every human being that is lacking in basic need deserves our help in meeting that need—if we can provide it—whether they’re our neighbor across the street, or across the continent, or across the globe,” says Nate.
Carly particularly also connects with what World Vision’s founder, Bob Pierce, famously prayed, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”
“It’s easy for people to ignore sadness in the world because it hurts to acknowledge it,” says Carly. “I would encourage you to really understand the pain and the suffering that so many of our fellow humans have to deal with on a daily basis. And if you really embrace that, it’s hard to not give.”
I would encourage you to really understand the pain and the suffering that so many of our fellow humans have to deal with on a daily basis. And if you really embrace that, it’s hard to not give.
Carly Roberts Nonprofit Assistant Director
Beyond appreciating World Vision’s Christ-driven mission that aligns with their family values, they consider World Vision a good steward, evident in that every $1 donated to World Vision is stretched through grants, donated goods, and investments in global networks for $1.30 in impact.
“It’s a good investment from a business standpoint because they invest your dollars wisely and leverage them to accomplish the greatest good,” says Nate. “It’s a good investment spiritually because it allows you to play a meaningful part in lending assistance to your fellow human beings. We may not all be able to take the time to fly to Lebanon and teach a Syrian refugee, but we can all be good Samaritans to those folks through World Vision as donors.”
Overall, they’re pleased with the results of their investment and appreciative of World Vision’s forthright reporting on the impact of their investment.
“The people at World Vision have their heart behind the mission, and that’s important,” says Nate. “But it’s also important to see the non-profit being run like a business where they set targets for themselves, identify deliverables, try to meet those, and they’re accountable to their stakeholders for the work. And World Vision does that better than anybody.”
“Think about how much you’re going to give and whether it’s going to hurt, not a lot but just a little bit,” says Nate. “If it doesn’t hurt a little bit, if you don’t notice the gift, you’re probably not giving quite enough. If you’re writing a check that doesn’t impact you or your lifestyle at all, and doesn’t make you think twice or even for a second about it, then maybe you should dig a little deeper. Because it is the act of doing something meaningful that’s the most rewarding.”
What’s also meaningful to the Roberts is continuing their Christmas tradition of generosity with their daughter, Abigail, when she’s old enough to understand.
“We are going to try to impart three core values to our children. One is the value of hard work, one is gratitude, and one is kindness,” says Nate. “And our work with World Vision hits two out of three of those. It hits gratitude and kindness because you’re opening your heart to others and extending love to them by sharing your gifts and trying to help make their world a better place.”
The people at World Vision have their heart behind the mission, and that’s important. But it’s also important to see the non-profit being run like a business ... and they’re accountable to their stakeholders for the work. And World Vision does that better than anybody.
Nate Roberts Attorney
Carly and Nate's story is one of 6 Visionary donor profiles. You can explore the other stories below. Read about how their contributions are helping to end extreme poverty.