Blog: February 2019
By Bruce Main, President
"You've got to understand," confided Jeff with a chuckle, "My life is pretty much lived on a 5-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway. I never leave Malibu, California."
So when Jeff Peterson asked to accompany me on a trip to Malawi 2 years ago, I knew God was up to something pretty significant. Little did I realize that a vision was being birthed--a vision to merge Jeff's acumen for business with his passion to help leaders develop viable businesses in economically impoverished communities.
Jeff's day job is owner and operator of the iconic Geoffrey's Restaurant of Malibu--consistently ranked as one of the most picturesque places to eat a meal...in the world. Perched on the seaside cliffs of Malibu, overlooking the majestic Pacific Ocean, Jeff and his staff spend their days feeding and entertaining Hollywood celebrities, entertainers, international dignitaries and those who enjoy fine dining. It's a business that supports his family, allows him to give philanthropically to causes close to his heart, and provides his numerous employees the opportunity to live prosperous lives.
"In my youth I thought life was an all you can eat pie eating contest," he confesses. "But no matter how much I tried to fill myself I was never satisfied." So what is Jeff's remedy for perpetual consumption? "Helping others achieve their goals, and dreams is what I believe is God's purpose for my life."
As Jeff walked through Malawian villages and talked to young leaders--villages where families truly eek out an existence on less than a dollar a day--his penetrating questions revealed the inner workings of his mind: What kind of businesses could turn a profit and become an economic force for good in the community?
Currently Jeff works with a couple of Malawian leaders who desire to create viable businesses. Using his own money, Jeff has provided start up capital to launch a chicken business and a corn mill. Both projects are connected with UrbanPromise International affiliate ministries. What makes these endeavors particularly exciting is Jeff providing guidance and mentoring for these young entrepreneurs on the ground.
"Much of my success can be attributed to others taking the time and energy mentoring me in business," adds Jeff. "In turn I find great happiness giving back to others."
Jeff is now challenging other business men and women to use their talents to help others break the cycle of poverty. Charitable gifts are critical and important, but making investments in viable businesses can provide long term resources for families and communities.