A Life-Changing Return on Investment

Investment guru John Montgomery, like most in his line of work, is focused on seeing substantial returns on investments managed by the company he founded, Bridgeway Capital Management. But for Montgomery, the most significant return has come not through accumulating wealth, but by giving it away.

When Montgomery started Bridgeway 22 years ago, he made a commitment to donate 50 percent of the profits to nonprofit organizations. He told President D. Michael Lindsay in a Conversation with the President event during Founder’s Day Convocation at Gordon, “I had a concern that having too much money would suck me into a lifestyle that I didn’t really aspire to, either as an individual or a Christian.” The 50-percent solution was “the only concept that I had in starting Bridgeway that is tenfold more powerful than I had any clue when we put it in place.”

Bridgeway Capital Management’s charitable giving arm, the Bridgeway Foundation, is committed to eliminating genocide, fostering peacemaking and reconciliation, and defending human rights. Montgomery is particularly passionate about that first pillar—eliminating genocide. After studying the Holocaust in eighth grade and hearing about the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia when he was 19, Montgomery began to sense a calling toward eradicating the issue. “I have a life vision of seeing the last genocide before I die,” he explained.

Led by Shannon Sedgwick Davis—who also serves on the Advisory Council for the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) at Gordon—the Bridgeway Foundation has been particularly focused on halting the destructive Lords’ Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, in Uganda and surrounding countries. In just the last two-and-a-half years, they have seen the number of displacements, kidnappings and killings drop by 95 percent. Of the five LRA generals, only one (Kony himself) is still at large.

“The single most powerful thing I do is pray,” Montgomery told President Lindsay in front of a packed audience at the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. “I pray. I believe these things are possible. And I’m part of a network.”

Montgomery holds undergraduate degrees from Swarthmore and graduate degrees from MIT and Harvard Business School. His talk is part of an ongoing effort to expose Gordon students to people who are making a significant difference in the Kingdom.

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