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Melody Murray

We recently sat down with Melody Murray, one of the newest members of HOPE’s board of directors, to discuss what she learned over a lifetime of entrepreneurship, empowerment, and advocacy. Hers is a story only God could write—influenced by a little red produce wagon, “orphans” whose parents were very much alive, and a cold call from the Dalai Lama.

Q: You’ve been described as a “serial entrepreneur.” Tell us about the first business you launched (childhood lemonade stands included).

A: Both my parents had farming backgrounds. When I was about 3 years old, they bought a house in the Kansas City suburbs that had a lot right next to it and turned it into a little farm. We had a huge vegetable garden. A few years later, my mom told me that I could sell what was left of our harvest after she kept what she wanted for our family. I remember thinking that was just phenomenal, that I could take a little seed and put it in the ground, and it would produce something I could sell to make money.

I started snapping and bagging green beans, and I would add as much value to the product as I could. I knew if I made them look good, then I could sell them for more money. I put them in my little red wagon, went down the street, and the first day I made $44. As a 6-year-old, that was a big deal! Continue Reading…

Each year, HOPE celebrates a client who demonstrates HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award winner. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be posting the stories of this year’s honorable mentions and overall winner.

Though she’s small in stature, Dolorosa Santos is a giant in her passion for serving the Lord through business. The owner of a variety of enterprises in bustling Quezon City, the Philippines, Dolorosa dreams of providing employment within her community—and of using her work to share God’s love with others.

Dolorosa owned several businesses by the time she took out her first loan in 2005 from the Center for Community Transformation (CCT), HOPE’s partner. Her sari-sari (convenience) store provided neighbors everything from toiletries to soy sauce, eggs, and shoe polish. Dolorosa also owned a motorcycle and attached sidecar, a common form of transportation known as a tricycle, which she rented to drivers so they could earn an income providing taxi services.

Ever an entrepreneur, Dolorosa used loans from CCT to expand. She bought additional tricycles, growing her fleet to six. Realizing that tricycles were in constant need of repair because of the poor quality of the roads, she began selling spare parts. Dolorosa also noticed that her neighborhood supports several thriving sari-sari stores, creating an opportunity to supply other shops at wholesale prices.


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