Doug Kauffman is not unfamiliar with loss, betrayal and pain, but his life was yet to feel the wrath of their sting when the seed for Hope 360 was planted twenty years ago on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Doug was business-minded and studying for a degree in marketing, but one of his professors told him he would one day be in ministry. Two decades later, in the midst of a personal pain, a dormant dream was awoken to birth Hope 360, a Saint Paul, Minnesota based non-profit ministry.
Doug started several businesses after college, and in 1999, Doug entered into the real estate business part-time and became full time in 2006. He had a beautiful life. He was earning as much as $220,000 some years, more than enough to support his wife and four boys. Meanwhile, the seed spent years developing roots, digging beneath the earth for sustenance. In 2009, it began its painful sprout upwards pushing through what was familiar and comfortable.
The storm of the 2008 recession had just struck the landscape of the world, and Kauffman Properties was hard hit. In the space of nine months, all his properties with the exception of the one he lived in with his family went into foreclosure. A couple of weeks after, Doug filed for bankruptcy. For a husband and father of four boys, the death of his income source was a blow, but thirteen days after he filed for bankruptcy, he found out his wife was having an affair and pregnant for the other guy. He received divorce papers seven days after, and divorce proceedings ensued resulting in half-time custody of his four boys. “That was the most difficult experience of my life,” he said. At the onset of the real estate market crash and prior to its collapse, Doug had started working at a sales job to make ends meet. The emotional trauma of foreclosures, bankruptcy, infidelity and divorce was heavy on him, and nine months after he got the job, he was fired.
“I got a wake-up call after I heard of my wife’s affair. I sat in my car for about 20 minutes wondering what life would look like as a single dad and a divorcee. However, I felt God impress on my that yes, it was over with my wife, but I needed to raise my boys and I needed to draw closer to Him.” Sitting in his car, heartbroken and distraught, Doug felt an overwhelming sense of peace. In that season, the dream that was lodged in his heart rose again, and he felt God asking him to hold on to it.