WS1300: Scaling Up Our Mission To Change Lives | Whitney Sewell

I believe many of you, our listeners, have heard of our family story. My wife Chelsea and I have built a beautiful family of three children through adoption. We went through the arduous and costly adoption process three times and each time, the Lord provided in ways we could not have imagined to bring our children home. But, other adoptive couples may not be as fortunate.

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Knowing the financial hardships, the great need of so many orphans in the world, and the many parents who don’t adopt because of the cost, Chelsea and I made the commitment, when we started Life Bridge Capital in 2017, of placing half of our personal profits to helping families bring their children home through adoption. Now, we’re happy to announce that we’re scaling our mission to help more families and change more lives. The Life Bridge Foundation is now a registered 501c3 nonprofit recognized by the IRS – meaning that 100% of donations to the foundation are tax-deductible. 

Listen today to learn how we established the foundation and find out the ways that you can join us in this mission.

Key Points From This Episode:   

  • Whitney begins by thanking the loyal listeners of the Real Estate Syndication Show. 
  • Announcement of big changes with the show, Life Bridge Capital, and the Life Bridge Foundation
  • Whitney answers questions about setting up The Life Bridge Foundation – the ‘why’ and the ‘how’?
  • Whitney encourages listeners to listen to shows 1000, 1001, 1007, and 1008 where he and his wife tell the stories behind their mission. 
  • Why setting up a foundation is similar to setting up a business.
  • Whitney encourages listeners to find a worthwhile cause to support or even start their own foundation.
  • Whitney encourages listeners to contact and connect with him and the Life Bridge Capital / Real Estate Syndication Show teams for questions, suggestions, and feedback.
  • Watch out for better content and more in-depth information from guests and from Whitney in the upcoming episodes.

Tweet This!

“It’s been our big “why” behind Life Bridge Capital and it has helped drive me, my wife, my kids, our investors, and our team. It’s a cause that’s bigger than us.” [09:42]

“It’s been incredible to see the people that want to work for us because of this mission and because of our drive to give back in a big way.” [09:51]

“What is your mission? Is this something that you’re connected with personally? Is it something that you can connect to your business?” [11:54]

“Starting your own foundation is like another business and you need to think about it that way.” [02:18]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Life Bridge Capital website

Listen to the Real Estate Syndication Show Podcast

Send an email to Life Bridge Capital

The Life Bridge Foundation website

Make a Donation to The Life Bridge Foundation

Invest with Life Bridge Capital

About Whitney Sewell

Founder of Life Bridge Capital LLC, Whitney began his real estate investing career in 2009. Whitney’s passion is working with investors, helping them secure financial security via the exceptional opportunities that multifamily syndication offers. Whitney hosts The Real Estate Syndication Show, a daily podcast where he has now interviewed over 1300 experts providing cutting-edge tools and strategies of the syndication business. 

Whitney and his wife Chelsea are on a mission to help other families through the process of adoption. They have personally endured the financial burdens that the process puts on families and have committed 50% of their profits to this goal, through The Life Bridge Foundation.  Whitney and Chelsea have three children by adoption.

Full Transcript



Whitney Sewell (WS): Some big changes are coming for the Real Estate Syndication Show. I hope that you are tuned in and that you are excited about what’s coming. I’m gonna share some of that with you today. But bigger than that, I want to share answers to some other questions that I’ve been getting recently, specifically around our foundation and giving back, how that’s connected to Life Bridge Capital. I want to go into some details about that. So, hopefully, that’s helpful to you. Many of you have asked me about – Whitney how did you start the foundation? Why did you start the foundation? How do I go about figuring some of that out if I desire also to give back in a big way through my own foundation? I want to get into a little bit of that today. Also, again, thank you for being with us today. Thank you for tuning into the podcast, and downloading shows. I am grateful. I hope that you are enjoying it. I hope you have learned a lot and are growing because of the content interviews that we’re having on the show. Just know there are some big changes coming and we’re gonna provide better content. I mean, just keep improving it the best way we possibly can. So stay tuned in.


WS: We would also love to hear from you. You can always email us at and we would like to know your thoughts about the podcast or even guests that you would like us to have on, different content that you would like me to create, or questions that you may have. It could be about podcasting. It could be about the foundation. It could be about multifamily markets, whatever. We would like to hear from you to know what you want to hear and what’s gonna help you the most. Ask anything. It can be about hiring our employees, how we’ve grown from capital-raising to our next hires. A lot of things are happening right now within the side of the Life Bridge Capital that we are so excited about. Some massive growth. We’re trying to hammer on that as much as we possibly can and learning a lot during that same process. 


So, I had numerous questions recently about the foundation. Whitney, why start a foundation? There are so many other good causes.

Yes, this is true. There are many other good causes that you could support instead of starting your own foundation. And for a lot of people, that could be the best option, instead of going through the trouble to start your own foundation.

It’s like another business and you need to think about it that way. You need to know, hey, I’m launching another business here, potentially a whole another brand right behind this cause depending on what your growth strategy is or some goals that you’re setting for this massive give back or foundation. You need to think that through. Am I ready to launch a whole another business? Because that is what you’re doing. And if you have another business that you’re operating, if you’re like me, then it’s hard for you to spend a ton of time on this other business as well or this foundation that you’re looking to start. So, from the beginning, I knew that it was something we wanted to grow and that it wasn’t just something we wanted to just hold personally with my wife and I and not do a whole lot with it. We wanted to grow. We wanted to be its own business. We wanted to be its own brand though it’s a non-profit. I knew that long-term, I would not be able to spend all the time needed on that.


WS: I knew that we were gonna have to hire people and build those processes. And so we’ve built some of the initial processes. Now, we have hired our first full-time employee for that foundation also. But, I wanna back up and I wanna share a little bit about why would we start a foundation.  My wife and I, most of you have heard my story. If not, I would encourage you to go back and listen to shows 1000, 1001, 1007, and 1008. It’s a four-part series that my wife and I recorded about us getting this business started. A big portion of one of those you’re gonna hear about – they’re actually segmented out by the team, but one of those shows is mostly about the foundation and why we started it. So, I would encourage you to go back and listen to that. But you’re gonna hear why we wanted to start the foundation. You’re gonna hear about our adoption stories and how we have three children the Lord has blessed our family with through adoption. And it’s just changed our life in such a good way.

And now because of the struggles of the adoption process and the financial burden of adoption, unfortunately, that keeps most people from being able to afford to adopt and bring a child home through adoption because of those struggles, we had to learn to raise some money. We had to learn to do different things to meet those financial needs. We didn’t want that to hold us back from adopting. The Lord provided in just amazing ways. But we had to fundraise and we had to do lots of things early on. And so now you know what we said, we don’t want that to hold back other families. We wanna help as many families as possible to get over that financial burden.


WS: We would do fundraisers, and when you’re trying to say, raise $50,000 or $60,000 and you spend an entire Saturday, you spend maybe the week before planning or two weeks before planning, and then you get to this Saturday and you have some kind of bake sale or yard sale, something like that. With so much work going into that and some people are coming to help you. Let’s say you make $500 to $1000. That is so discouraging for that family. You’re thankful but man, it’s discouraging because you have such a long way to go. So that fueled my wife and I wanting to do something bigger than that. So, now through this foundation, we’re providing large financial grants to these families that are selected. It helps them. But, what we also do is we help them use that as a matching grant to fundraise as well. So, they can maximize those events that they’re holding and then learn from our experiences. 

It was something bigger than my wife and I. We wanted to start our own foundation that was about this specific cause. We also work in control of the foundation, and then we have a board that helps with a lot of the decision-making as far as what families to help and support and those things ’cause there’s a lot there to figure out. But it was something we desire to do. It’s our big mission, our big ‘why’ behind Life Bridge Capital. Just know too that this foundation is not legally connected to Life Bridge Capital. It is not part of the Life Bridge Capital structure or org chart. It is its own separate thing over here. It’s just something that my wife and I have committed to helping fund. So, that’s something obviously our investors love knowing that they’re a part of but it doesn’t affect their returns in any way. Many of them love partnering with us because of that but it doesn’t affect their returns. 


WS: However, many of them have now partnered with the foundation. They love that foundation and they want to play a bigger role in that. And I’ve just so enjoyed seeing that happen. They want to play a part in that mission. It’s neat to see so many other people wanting to play a part in that mission. So, 100% of all donations to the foundation go toward this cause, go directly to families. And so that’s something that you have to work through if you’re thinking about starting your own foundation. But let’s get into that just a little bit. Starting this foundation is a legal process. You definitely need an attorney involved. I did. 

I chose to go that route because obviously, I do not have time to do all that myself, all the research that needs to be done to submit the documents to start a foundation on your own non-profit, 501c3. And so I have a few friends who have done this on their own. They’ve done a lot of research and they’ve done it themselves. That was not something I really had the time to do, and I wanted to ensure that we were approved the first time, if at all possible. Know that that process could take six to nine months or longer potentially but probably at least six months before you’re gonna be approved by the government to say, okay, you can operate as a non-profit with this cause or whatever your mission is. 

Also, we branded the foundation as the Life Bridge Foundation, obviously after Life Bridge Capital. And then, we found another non-profit that has a very similar name so we decided to go ahead and re-brand. So, we’re in the process of doing that now. It’s better it is to go ahead and do that early. So, if you’re listening to this and you’re an investor or somebody that’s been following us for a while, you’re gonna see that change in the near future. But just know that starting your own foundation is like another business. You need to be prepared for that.


WS: I did start a lot of the first processes. Obviously, the website’s going, and our process of families applying ’cause that’s our mission. Families that need assistance come to the website. They’re trying to adopt. Typically, they’re pretty far along in the adoption process when they would apply. And then, we have an interview process with them. We would do a Zoom call with them and have a list of questions we would ask these families and just try to determine what families we can help. It’s a difficult decision but it has to be done.


WS: To get that process started, we have other organizations within the adoption community that we’ve been a part of personally. We reach out to say, hey, this is what we’re doing, and we would love to partner with you all. We would love to maybe, you send families to us that need assistance. And that has worked out so well, that has worked so well to build those connections. But, just know that this needs to be a cause that’s bigger than you and that is something that you’re motivated about, that you’re driven about. That’s been our big ‘why’ behind Life Bridge Capital. It’s helped drive me and my wife and my kids, our investors, and even our team. It’s been incredible to see the people that want to work for us because of this mission and because of our drive to give back in a big way. It’s been incredible, it’s been unexpected. The Lord has blessed our team. We had meetings just last week with people that want to partner with us because of our mission and because of the way we wanna give back. So, on the foundation front, I encourage you to reach out through and ask questions of us. 


WS: Again, I want you to be looking forward to changes, big changes in the show that’s coming up. You’re gonna receive better content and more in-depth information from guests and from myself. But again, I would love to hear from you. I’d love to know what you wanna hear, what’s gonna help you the most. If you’re a passive investor, man, send to me your questions. I would love to know who you would like to hear on the show, what you would like to hear more from me. And even if you’re an active operator, send me questions. What are you struggling with right now? We’ll leave it completely anonymous if you want. I would love to answer your questions on the show or even ask a guest your questions so we can get you answers. So again, foundation, it’s an amazing thing to start. You have a cause that you’re passionate about. It’s gonna help drive you, motivate you. It’s gonna push you forward, your team, potentially your family, and your investors in many ways. But know that it’s just like another business.


WS: I stress that and I just wanna say it because it is. And you wanna do it well. That’s why we just hired somebody full-time to help run the foundation to build these processes. They’re gonna run with those processes. But, also we care about these families, and so we want to ensure that we’re communicating as well as we possibly can with these families. And that’s what this person is gonna help us to do. Because we defeat the purpose if we do that poorly. So, know that you might wanna consider getting an attorney to help you start the foundation. You are gonna have to wait six months or so, most likely, to have it approved. And then, what is your mission? Is this something that you’re connected with personally? Is it something that you can connect to your business? And so it’s just a way to help, even brand yourself? It’s something you’re gonna be known by potentially depending on how you push it out. 

It wasn’t in my plan in the very beginning to push it out. And it has shaped so much of who we are. But the Lord has different plans. It also provides a way to have a different conversation with investors, a different conversation with people at a meet-up or a conference. You’ve heard me probably talk about that in the past, and it’s just that elevator pitch that really comes naturally because of the way we give back and because of our foundation, the connection to the foundation.


WS: I hope this has been helpful. I hope that you’re encouraged to give back. I hope that you are thinking about how you can give back. Even if it’s not starting your own foundation. Know that that’s not necessary to do that. There are many great causes that are worth partnering with and saving yourself the trouble of starting another business or a non-profit foundation of your own. But you have to be the one to figure that out. You have to figure out if that’s worthwhile or not. 

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