Elite Impact Education Platform

Don's Thoughts

May 13, 2024 | Volume 19
Don Wenner

The Power of a Life Verse

Those of you who have followed my career for some time know that I strive to live each day guided by my life verse, “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). It is this verse that has helped me discover and frame my purpose. Throughout time, people have benefited from reflecting on their purpose as defined by their faith, tradition, or philosophy. My verse is deeply connected to my faith as well as my childhood experiences.

This verse has driven my deep desire to serve at scale. Over the years, DLP Capital has grown in many ways, but one thing has remained the same: the dedication to create solutions for America’s working families. Growing up in a working family and moving 17 times by the time I was 17 helped shape my view that safe, stable, attainable housing can make a meaningful difference in the life of a child. Today, DLP Capital is working to boldly solve the attainable housing crisis. Together with our investors, sponsors, builders, developers, and borrowers, we are not just making housing attainable; we are building Thriving Communities. This work is more than the work of a private real estate investment fund. We believe that building Thriving Communities enriches lives, creates opportunities, increases safety and security, and builds connection and community. The net effect of this is an increase in fulfillment for our residents. We believe this allows our residents to LiveFully while our investors achieve better-than-average market returns. This is Purpose over Profit. This is Impact Investing.

Thriving Communities

With more than 130 million Americans living in rental communities, the need for Thriving Communities is greater than ever, especially when we look at some of the challenges faced by residents:

  • More than 50% are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities, with 61% living paycheck to paycheck with no savings.

  • The average renter moves every 15-16 months, meaning there’s little to no time to place roots in a home or community.

  • More than 30% describe themselves as being depressed, and more than 50% as unhappy.

Through Thriving Communities, DLP can meaningfully and positively impact residents. We’ve developed a framework to define the essential elements of a Thriving Community Life.

10 Elements if a Thriving Community

  • Attainable Housing: Rent is below 30% of the area median income (AMI), bringing families above the rent-burdened threshold and affording more room for the basics of wellness, education, transportation, and leisure.

  • Banking, Lending, and Investments: People can access financial literacy programs, community banking, loans, and investment opportunities targeting passive income through strong returns and distributions.

  • Companies that Create Jobs: Jobs are available within the community to support residents. Job creation is primarily the product of entrepreneurial small businesses.

  • Deep Connection: Residents are happy and fulfilled thanks to deep connections with others. These connections include family, friends, neighbors, and a deep connection to their purpose.

  • Education: Education is highly valued, especially education to develop skills valued by society. Emphasis is placed on children’s literacy, especially reading at grade level.

  • Family: Opportunities to deepen relationships and build extraordinary families, lives, careers, and legacies strengthen families.

  • Government: Thriving Communities are aligned with and find allyship in local government, which offers critical support for the community's overall strength.

  • Healthcare and Nutrition: Physical and mental fitness is considered paramount. Healthcare, nutritional food, and wellness education are available.

  • Impact: People are living lives of significance, finding community with their neighbors, and making a difference in the lives of others.

  • Jesus: People have the opportunity to build a relationship with God and may choose to accept Jesus as their Savior. They are invited to participate in small group discipleship and church. (Optional participation and all are welcome).

We have shared this vision with others and launched the concept at the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) in January 2023, but we are still in the early stages of defining success outcomes, and we invite your input. Here is what we have come up with so far:

Success Outcomes:

  • Rent is affordable, aiming for less than 30% of the area median income, below the cost-burden threshold

  • 84% of residents self-report feeling connected to their community

  • 80% count at least two of their neighbors as friends

  • 50% are involved in a club or group within the community

  • 80% of residents renew their lease annually, affording greater opportunities to develop lasting connections

  • 80% of students are reading at grade level by 3rd grade, thanks in part to educational initiatives within the community

  • 50% of residents have three months of savings and an increased level of financial literacy

Our goal for Thriving Communities is ambitious. By 2030, we expect to make a positive impact on 1 million residents, with 10x that impact in 2035. By 2040, DLP Capital will have brought Thriving Communities to 25 million residents. I have full faith in my team and our ability to execute our mission.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we’re building Thriving Community Life for our residents, watch this clip from our recent Capital Dinner in St. Augustine.


Exciting Announcement: Halftime Institute Board of Directors

I’m honored to announce that I have accepted an invitation from the Halftime Institute to join their Board of Directors. If you’re not familiar with the Halftime Institute, they are a renowned global organization that empowers individuals to transform their lives and their purpose through self-exploration. As a board member, I’ll be focused on expanding the reach of their programming, helping incredible leaders get clear on their purpose and platform, and positioning themselves to make the biggest impact on what they were called to do. I’m thrilled to take on this responsibility and look forward to continuing to partner through our On Purpose Program, which I touched on in my last edition of Don’s Thoughts

This transformative program is designed to help participants zero in on God-given potential, guiding them through crystallizing their purpose and living intentionally to achieve their biggest goals. If you’re ready to start living On Purpose, I hope you’ll join me for the launch of the On Purpose Program at our Building an Extraordinary Family event next month at Dollywood. We’ve got an incredible line-up of engaging speakers who will be leading workshops and offering their expert insights. Our team has been working for months to put together this incredible event focused on strengthening families and I already know it’s going to be our best ever.

High Road Leadership Event in Oklahoma City

At the end of April, I had the honor of being invited to attend an exclusive event with some of the most influential Christian business leaders and visionaries. Led by leadership expert John C. Maxwell, Hobby Lobby Founder David Green, and Advance Your Reach Founder Pete Vargas, the High Road Leadership event was an unforgettable experience. This two-day event was focused on rising to a higher level of leadership in order to make “the impact that God has called you to make.”

As I listened to speakers and networked with other faith-driven leaders, it was a powerful reminder of what you can achieve with God’s guidance. It was incredibly inspiring to be part of discussions about making the world hungry for God and learning the keys to exponential growth. David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, shared his founding story when it began as a 300-square-foot store selling picture frames that he was manufacturing. The event instilled in me a deeper sense of purpose and a commitment to lead with integrity, compassion, and faith as guiding principles in all my endeavors. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to be part of this group.

At the Hobby Lobby Headquarters with Brett Swarts left and Pete Vargas middle
At the Hobby Lobby Headquarters with Brett Swarts left and Pete Vargas middle
David Green and John C. Maxwell on stage together for the first time ever at the High Road Leadership event
David Green and John C. Maxwell on stage together for the first time ever at the High Road Leadership event
Carla with David Green at the Hobby Lobby Headquarters
Carla with David Green at the Hobby Lobby Headquarters

Where I'm Going

Lavonia, GA - Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge Hike
Lavonia, GA - Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge Hike
Lake Norman, NC
Lake Norman, NC
Pigeon Forge, TN, for our Building an Extraordinary Family Event
Pigeon Forge, TN, for our Building an Extraordinary Family Event

What I'm Reading

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