Love Heals: The Amazing Power of Love
It’s enough even if just 1 person shows up to your event, program, or service. Do for the 1 what you would do for the masses.
My name is Courtney Green and I am the founder of Love Heals, a nonprofit based out of Lynchburg, VA. From bartender to Executive Director, I have been on a winding road of building Love Heals since 2018 when we hosted our first benefit concert for my friend who had breast cancer. Hired officially in March of 2023, Love Heals is now in a place to become a national organization and I am working hard alongside my team to build a world where no one walks through hardship alone.
More at – https://www.weareloveheals.org/
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Read the Interview Transcript
0:05 – Hugh Ballou This is Hugh Ballou. This is Hugh Ballou. Welcome to the Nonprofit Exchange. We meet with people every week that have stories about what they’re doing, stories to tell, the impact they’re having on people’s lives. So Courtney actually is one of my neighbors in Lynchburg, didn’t know her before today, but she’s doing amazing work in Lynchburg, Virginia. So we have stories from around the world and stories from our neighborhood. So Courtney, welcome to the Nonprofit Exchange and tell people a little bit about who you are and what led you to do this work.
0:42 – Courtney Green Well, thank you for having me. Um, well, I got involved in the nonprofit world by accident. Um, in 2017, my best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. And, um, so I watched her go from young and vibrant to sick. And I watched her identity become one of the musician and young spirited and adventurous too. I I’m a cancer patient now. And so people not knowing how to talk to her, not knowing what to say, not knowing how to help led to a lot of awkward conversations. So we started talking about how do you love people who are trying to heal?
1:21 – Courtney Green And I just walked with her through the diagnosis and the awkward conversations and doctor’s appointments and all the things. And anyway, that kind of led into her needing help financially for medical bills. And so I was a bartender at a restaurant. She had texted me asking to pray for her and I was like, of course, but I was asking my friend, she lived in Richmond, I’m in Lynchburg, which is two hours away. I was like, can we do something more than pray? Is there something tangible we can do?
1:53 – Courtney Green And he had just started doing music in the community. So he said, let’s throw a concert, invite her to share her story and we’ll give her the money. And so we just threw together in a two week blitz, a four band concert with merch and a food truck. A Over a hundred people came and we raised enough money for that next bill.
2:09 – Hugh Ballou Hundred,
2:13 – Courtney Green And she came from Richmond and she shared her story and someone asked me what the event was called and I didn’t know what to say. So I blurted out love heals because we had talked for that whole year prior about how do you love someone who’s healing? And, uh, so that’s what we started with, um, not knowing what it was. And, uh, we just never stopped doing those events for people going through hard things. So. Uh, I just did it as a hobby. I bartended Monday through actually seven days a week.
2:42 – Courtney Green I worked at the restaurant, but I would take some time off on certain weekends. And pay for the events out of pocket to make them happen for people in the community. So we just kind of never stopped. And that’s, uh, that’s why I guess I’m passionate about it because, uh, she mattered and people going through hard things need to be heard and be listened to. And they’re not there. They’re not. Their identity is not what they’re going through. And giving them a platform to share is amazing.
3:11 – Courtney Green So yeah.
3:15 – Hugh Ballou David, the organization is called Love Heals. You heard about the start. What are you thinking?
3:22 – David Dunworth I’m thinking that she’s spreading a lot of love and healing through her mission. And that is making me cry, as a matter of fact. It’s really touching to hear that your story came right from the heart, right off the bat. And sometimes people, they have a desire to help other people, but they really don’t know what they want to do and so forth. And
3:52 – David Dunworth You just nailed it right on the head the first go around that. It’s just spectacular. And God bless you for that. And you had mentioned that you guys pulled a band concert together with four bands and all this food truck and all this other stuff. And that’s where you got the money to pay the bill and that sort of thing. And it blossomed from there. But how does Love Heals get their funding now? What processes are you using?
4:24 – Hugh Ballou Yeah.
4:25 – Courtney Green That’s great. Well, a huge inspiration for me is Charity Water, which is the nonprofit I always want to throw reps to because they’re amazing. But I took a lot of inspiration from their 100% model. And we always gave away 100% just because I was paying for the events out of pocket. And obviously, that’s a fun hobby, but that’s not a realistic organization. So within the last year, I got hired officially in March of this year. To get paid for this work, which is really exciting. And we have taken on a similar model to Charity Water.
5:00 – Courtney Green So we have three funds. We have an operations fund, program funds, and a beneficiary fund. And we still have kept that 100% model. So our operations are a fixed cost, which is obviously my salary, legal fees, attorneys, all of the things that you have to have to run a nonprofit that you literally can’t skip out on. That comes through monthly donors and monthly supporters who believe in the mission and believe in coming alongside me and us as a ministry to see us continue doing this.
5:32 – Courtney Green Our program fund, that event, that concert I was talking about, that’s a big vehicle for us for raising money for our beneficiaries. And so obviously a band and a venue and sound and food for the volunteers all cost money. We also do custom merch. That costs money. We have to pay for the shirt design and the t-shirt itself We sell it on behalf of the beneficiaries. And then we also do this thing called adventures with purpose where we take favorite activities like bike rides or polar plunges or kickball tournaments.
6:02 – Courtney Green And then we give 100% of that to, we get the whole community involved in the fundraising process. So the cost of all those events comes through our program funds and that’s through local sponsors. And a program fund can be as big or as small as we want the event to be.
6:18 – Courtney Green That’s how we cover the cost of our events so that we can continue to do 100% to our beneficiaries. So that’s our business model as it stands, and we’re open to changing it to make it more successful and help more people, but it’s worked for us so far.
6:34 – David Dunworth Beautiful.
6:36 – Hugh Ballou When did you start?
6:37 – Courtney Green Unofficially in 2018, officially hired in March of this year, 2023. Brand new, yeah. I, like I said, as a hobby, we helped, um, we’ve helped five people with our biggest event. Uh, we went out to Southern California and did a 300 mile bike ride through California and a concert in Los Angeles. And we raised 17,000 for a girl with breast bone, liver and spleen cancer. So that’s when we realized maybe this thing can actually scale. So I drained my bank account to go do that and make it happen.
7:11 – Courtney Green But yeah, 2022, I needed to work again to build back up. So we’ve been doing it, but this is our first year really doing it as an organization.
6:43 – Hugh Ballou You’re brand new. Um, Out of the thousands of people that are here from now on probably every single nonprofit leader struggling with funding. You gave people an inspiration to break out of your bubble and you know, we have these limits on ourselves of that. I don’t want to ask people for money.
7:41 – Courtney Green What we’re doing?
7:42 – Hugh Ballou Is it we’re giving people a chance to step up and make a difference? Aren’t we?
7:45 – Courtney Green Yeah, absolutely. And it’s hard. It was hard for me to ask for my own funding. Like, but once I realized once one, I matter and I care, I need to value myself if I value other people. And I think everyone doing good work should be paid for it. So we want to be we’re small potatoes right now, but I want to pay people what they’re worth. I don’t want to have to always nickel and dime everybody. Because we should be paid a fair wages. So I need to take that mentality on for myself as well, and not just expect everyone else to also take it.
8:23 – Courtney Green But once I learned that paying me and giving me the ability to not have to work all the side jobs that I’ve worked cleaning houses, catering, bartending, working events, I can now just focus on building it. That is going to help us help more people. And that So that that makes the ask so much different when you have you see where you’re going and how you can get there. It doesn’t feel selfish, I guess, where it might have before.
8:53 – Hugh Ballou Like you said, there’s a good business model, and the problem that David and I see a lot is not probably leaders don’t think in terms of a business model. And in fact, it is a business. It’s a, tax-exempt for purpose business. You’re not here to make money, but golly, gee, it takes money to do the kind of work we’re doing. So absolutely. That’s a profound reversal of what most people do. Most people get locked up. Oh, I wish we’d write a grant to take care of all this. Well, that’s a one-time thing.
9:23 – Hugh Ballou It’s not sustaining money. You can do special projects. And then, so you have a network of people who donate monthly. That’s recurring revenue, and you can budget on that. So that circle, is it just where we live here, or is it around the country?
9:41 – Courtney Green Presently, mostly where we live. I have some connections in New York, that’s where I’m from, and some of our board members help with the fundraising, and they have family in Kansas and North Carolina. We’d like to expand our network of funders. We could always use more monthly donors, but we’re okay for right now, and we’re hoping to grow it. But yeah, I mean, my goal for Love Heels is to be national and then international, so I hope that we can connect and build relationships with people all over and they can see the value of what Love Heals has to bring and wanna partner with us, not just our beneficiaries through like cancer bills and stuff like that.
10:22 – Hugh Ballou Speaking of beneficiaries, define what that means and then how do you choose those?
10:28 – Courtney Green A beneficiary, we consider a partner. We don’t look at our beneficiaries as charity cases, but they’re the people who say yes to partnership with Love Heals. And their partnership looks like being willing to share their story with the audience. We don’t control what they say or how they say it. We kind of treat it like a TED talk. You have 20 minutes and this is your time to shine and share however you want. It’s your time. And so in the middle of the concert, we sit everyone down and that’s when we bring forth the person who their concert ticket is supporting.
11:04 – Courtney Green So that’s what a beneficiary is, is someone who’s partnering with us to share their story. And right now, okay, there’s three segments to how we’ve chosen. In the past, it was word of mouth and mutual connections that we heard about. We hear about a single mom with MS, with a son who’s born legally blind. We do an event, we give her money for a new septic tank. It was pretty pure, I guess, like no thought other than this person needs help. This year, it’s been through partnership with the local church.
11:33 – Courtney Green Um, I’ve felt really convicted over my own bitterness towards the local church. Um, and God basically was like, Hey, you’re divisive and you’re the problem and you need to love and serve your brothers and sisters before you love and serve unbelievers. And I was like, I hear you got it. So the local church, we’ve never really worked with the local church. We’ve always worked with local bands. So this year we partnered with three different local churches through benefit worship nights, where we brought in a member from their congregation.
12:02 – Courtney Green To come share their story and we bless them through our support. And then moving forward, we’re creating an anonymous selection committee for 2024, who will review all cases and applications that will be nominated through our website. And they’ll pick best fits for who will be a story beneficiary. And if they aren’t able to fit that, we are connecting with the community to make sure we always have somewhere to send people, that we’re not just turning people away. That’s our process right now.
12:32 – Hugh Ballou That is so David, that’s partnering with the church. That seems to benefits both of you, doesn’t it?
12:40 – Courtney Green Absolutely. It’s been really, really worked out this year.
12:45 – David Dunworth That’s beautiful. You know, Hugh and I have been friends for many years. As well as working together. I’ve been to Lynchburg a few times and stayed at Hugh’s house, and I’ve been to the Ramp Church a few times. I have to be honest with you, I said to him one day, I wouldn’t mind relocating here, you’ve got a wonderful community. The people there are loving and giving and that’s great. Ask, tell me a little bit about. What’s going to happen for the rest of the year? We’re in the fourth quarter already and This is either great season or terrible season, and it just, you know, it just depends on your schedule.
13:35 – David Dunworth What have you got left?
13:37 – Courtney Green We have our biggest event we’ve ever done. And it was a little bold,
13:40 – Hugh Ballou Oh,
13:43 – Courtney Green But if it works out, God is real. He’s going to make it work out. But we ended up opening up. We called this year. It starts with us based off of my conviction that I’ve been bitter towards my brothers and sisters in the faith. So that conviction was, hey, love and serve one another. Start with believers because y’all need to get it together to show my love to the world. And so that’s what we’ve called all these little church gatherings, which have raised over $17,000 value and monetary, but roughly $30,000 in impact just over the last seven months, which has been amazing.
14:23 – Courtney Green But we wanted to take all those churches and bring them together. What ended up happening was as year one, as we consider it, since I only got hired and have been doing this officially since March, we decided to open up our end of year campaign, which is that custom merch adventure with purpose and story-driven concert. We wanted to go all the way back to our beginnings and bring everybody back as a way to say thank you. So we’re going back to 2019 when we helped Noah with testicular cancer.
14:53 – Courtney Green We’re bringing back Stephanie, who’s a single mom with MS. We’re bringing back Felinda Spansky, who has PCOMA ovarian cancer. We’re bringing back Joe Garcia in honor of Elaine Fay, who passed away unfortunately last year due to the cancer. We’re bringing back Jordan Harris with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. We’re bringing back the two sisters who had to take custody of their four younger siblings. And we’re bringing back the Morrises who were impacted by strokes and the husband was unable to go back to work.
15:19 – Courtney Green All seven are going to be part of this benefit campaign. So we’re actually partnering with Terrianne, who’s on Spirit FM. She was a part of Toby Mac’s band. She’s headlining our event with Opener Renee. And we’re hosting a big concert where all seven are going to be able to be blessed again off of the money that we raised through that concert. So that’s on December 2nd. We’re bringing everybody back. It’s going to be awesome. And then on November 26th, we’re doing a polar plunge where you’ll get a bracelet with all their names on it.
15:49 – Courtney Green When you plunge for them, it’s $7 representing the seven beneficiaries. We’ll also have free hot chocolate and s’mores and arts and crafts for kids. So we’re doing a lot of community events for the end of the year to.
16:01 – Courtney Green Really rally around our beneficiaries.
16:04 – Hugh Ballou Did you say polar plunge?
16:07 – Courtney Green Pl.
16:10 – David Dunworth Applause and 1 of our groups.
16:13 – Hugh Ballou David Davidson, clear water, anything below 70 degrees in the air, the jacket, but what’s the polar plan? Sounds cold to me.
16:21 – Courtney Green Cold water jumping cold water in the winter. And it’s really good for you.
16:27 – Hugh Ballou I know it is. I know it is. It’s just that shock when you go in there. So I want to point out, there are people around the world listening to this. And there are people listening to this next year. We’re talking at the end of 2023. But the idea here is where we want people to gather. You’ve pulled together those memories. And you’re putting up. Actually, what you’re doing is highlighting the impact of your work. Here’s the results of what we’ve done.
16:54 – Hugh Ballou You know, we forget to do that as non-profit leaders. We talk about what we’re doing. We’ve done this many meals. We’ve done this. Well, so what? What happened to people’s lives? We’ve got to do all this stuff, but it’s not about that. It’s about what you just talked about. This could happen, and you have people coming up. And that is so important. And the people that complain about, oh, nobody gives to us, well, they don’t give because they don’t understand what’s happened with their money.
17:22 – Hugh Ballou And whether you meant to or not, you just highlighted what we call good stewardship. We in the charity world, nonprofit is such a bad word. You have to make a profit to exist. It’s not an IRS term either. So it’s it’s a, so it’s not scarcity. It’s abundance. God gave us abundance. So we think, no, can’t do that. Well, no, we can’t. So it’s a, it’s a for-purpose business and we make a difference of people’s lives. So what you just said was very profound. I just want to commend you for that.
17:53 – Hugh Ballou Well, thank you. And, and, you know, you didn’t come out of a master’s program or a doctor program and nonprofit leadership, did you?
18:01 – Courtney Green No, not at all.
18:05 – Hugh Ballou But you had some, maybe dealing with rough characters at the bar might have made you tough. But, you know, you came into this with commitment. So what, you know, I’m sure there are things you tried that didn’t work. But what did make things work? How did, you were the visionary for this, you’re the leader, you’re the one that’s on salary, you’re the one that makes things happen. Why is that?
18:29 – Courtney Green You know, one, I took The Working Genius by Patrick Lynch. And my top giftings are wonder and galvanizing. And my lowest gifting is actually discernment, which sounds really bad, but I think it’s helped me not think so much and just do. Now it’s also caused problems in my life. Don’t get me wrong. And that’s why you surround yourself with people who have discernment, but, but it does get things started when you’re, when you think big and you wonder. And then you just, I didn’t, I almost feel like I had blinders on.
19:05 – Courtney Green I just kind of tunnel visioned on the next thing. I didn’t really see the registration for five o one c three and the IRS and the scans that could possibly, I didn’t see what could go wrong. I only saw what could go right. Honestly, I don’t know if I can even take credit for that. I think that was the Lord and some of my lack of discernment, just, I want to help this person and I’m going to make it happen. When we helped Elaine Faye in California, I’d never been to Los Angeles. And I told her I was going to bike 300 miles for her and try to raise money.
19:37 – Courtney Green And I didn’t even own a bike. I hadn’t owned a bike since I was a child, but I told her I would. And then it, you set the bar really high of what you want. Like you see where you want to go and you climb to get there. I think that’s just what’s been like, I can see clearly where we’re heading and I like to set the bar and it drives me to make it a reality. Once I make the commitment.
20:02 – Hugh Ballou David, I just think she defined leadership. Didn’t she?
20:05 – David Dunworth You know what we, you got 300 and I don’t know how many episodes and I haven’t been around for all of them, but I’ve been around a few and you, you young lady are an inspiration to the entire industry. The entire servant leadership community. You are an inspiration and I have to give you. Applause and so I will this is the, this is the zoom applause that we use. 370.
20:38 – Hugh Ballou Took us 8 and a half years to get here. So we’re here and it was like, Courtney just filled in a slot. We had a cancellation today. I said, hey, you free tomorrow. I said, sure. So, come on. And, you know, the other piece you were determined. And, you know, maybe a liability, not seeing the problems, but it was an asset for you. If you just say, let’s do it, you know, go for it. That was, that was a gift actually. And you also, when I’m gathering from what you’ve said, you’ve surrounded yourself with really good people that were fundamentally on the same page, page, as far as the mission of what you’re doing.
21:16 – Courtney Green Would not be where I am right now. Like some of the best people, like, Right now I have a really core team of there’s two more that have been walking step step with me, both gifted and discernment. And I have to watch myself because I often take it personally when it’s just, it’s time we’re at that next stage where it’s no longer free range for me to just go out and try any idea. We need to be wise. And so I’m grateful for them, even though I sometimes get my feelings hurt, but I’m like, no, we, but it’s not me.
21:50 – Courtney Green And I have to keep that in mind. It’s not personal. We’re all trying to get to the same cause and the same, the same end goal.
21:57 – Hugh Ballou Never happened to anybody else, you know?
22:00 – David Dunworth Now, Hugh, I got to tell you, she would have been a great guest on our call this morning. We were discussing conflict and Yeah, we,
22:09 – Hugh Ballou Our community, we have a private community, which certainly you’re invited to Courtney, but it’s a private community people like you who encourage each other and give each other ideas and connections and solve problems. We’re going to talk about that. But 1st, David, thanks for that queue. We’re going to look at your website. We’re going to direct people to your website. And then what will they find? People are listening on the, on the podcast. Can’t see it, but you can certainly go to the nonprofit Exchange.
22:37 – Hugh Ballou Org, Tg Nonprofit Exchange. Org. And we are broadcasting on Facebook, by the way. So, if you’re coming by, go there. So, when they go there, it’s WeAreLoveHeals.Org. So it’s really called Love Heels, but you got a website that you could get, I’m sure, We Are Love Heels. So, when people go there, what will they find?
22:59 – Courtney Green You’ll find our story as an organization. You’ll find our team. You’ll find a promo video that’s a smidge outdated. We’re refilming it in November. You’ll see our merch store. That’s part of our earned income strategies for helping us fund these programs. Please go buy a shirt. We use the proceeds from that to help fund more events for different beneficiaries. You’ll be able to read the stories of the people we’ve helped so far. You’ll see our upcoming events. Sign up for our newsletter.
23:31 – Courtney Green And if you feel so led, please consider donating monthly as a supporter to our organizations. It would be honestly super humbled and honored if anybody took up on that. I mean, even nine bucks a month is a hundred bucks a year, roughly. And we like to say, give a hundred so we can give a hundred because we want to keep giving away a hundred percent. I don’t want to ever have to take away from the events to take, to cover our costs. So yeah, if you feel so led, I’d love to have your support.
24:01 – Hugh Ballou It takes care of the myth of overhead, you know, you’re doing work that benefits people and even your salary wouldn’t technically be overhead because you’re actually working for the benefit of people. So, you know, how do you classify it in accounting is a trick. So we’re going to boy, this time’s gone away fast. So we’re going to do it. A couple of sentences, we got to be brief. We’re coming to the end, but a couple of sentences about our community. So, David, 1 of the aspects of the community is some people get together every Tuesday.
24:29 – Hugh Ballou And we share with each other, and we have a topic and I got to tell you, we have a subset of people that can come and sometimes different people. And there are some regulars, but today our topic was conflict. And when we ran around the screen, David, every person had some wisdom to share. Didn’t I?
24:44 – David Dunworth I certainly did. And even though you’ve got your own mindset about how you handle it, what happens when you do, how do you start unknowingly, so on. But yeah, you learn from each person’s perspective, and it’s phenomenal. And we always walk away more intelligent, more powerful than when we got there an hour before. So it’s a wonderful thing, and you’re welcome to come once.
25:17 – Hugh Ballou We’ll invite you. So, if anybody wants to come, you start by going to our free portal and just get acquainted with people. It’s nonprofit. Community.org or nonprofit community.org. It’s free. You can network with people, but there’s a whole nother level and you pay a little bit and you get a whole lot of value, including those live sessions, including monthly workshops. We’re talking we’re going to do a workshop this month on delegation. That’s not something people know how to do, and we end up overworking.
25:44 – Hugh Ballou So it inspired us. We could talk all day about this stuff, but what do you want to leave people with today?
25:52 – Courtney Green I think overall, like I was talking about it briefly earlier, but I do think it matters. Like, no act of kindness is too small. So do what you would do for the masses if it got you a bunch of attention. It matters just as much if one person shows up. It always matters. So that’s just a good heart check. Um, it’s something I try to keep in mind, do for the one, what you would do for a hundred. And I think it changes everything for you.
26:22 – David Dunworth What do you think, David? Great philosophy. Thank you for that.
26:26 – Hugh Ballou Horney green, you’ve certainly got our attention today. You know, you, you define leadership, you define let’s think how to get this done and get it done. Thank you for being our guest today on the nonprofit exchange.
26:38 – Courtney Green Thank you for having me. It was great talking to you guys.