Hobby Lobby offers major deal: a free campus in Massachusetts

The Green family, which owns Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby, is seeking the right candidate to give a Massachusetts campus to, after the initial recipient failed to meet a fundraising deadline.
BY DON MECOY dmecoy@opubco.com Published: February 23, 2012

The billionaire Oklahoma family that owns Hobby Lobby is offering a 217-acre campus in Northfield, Mass., and its 43 buildings at a low, low price: free.

Hobby Lobby bought the property in 2009 to donate to the C.S. Lewis Foundation, which planned to locate a new college there. But the foundation has been unable to meet a fundraising deadline to operate the proposed school.

Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, said the Green family now is considering other applicants.

“We just feel like God's got a plan for it,” Green said. The recipient will need to demonstrate adequate finances, he said.

“The best fit is an educational purpose; that's what it was built for,” Green said. “We're most interested in Christian educational use, but not that we wouldn't be open to some other use.”

When Hobby Lobby bought the campus, Green said the transaction was aimed at preserving and honoring the legacy of the Northfield school's founder, legendary evangelist D.L. Moody.

The Green family regularly backs Christian education, having bailed out Oral Roberts University with a $70 million donation, presented Zion Bible College with a campus in Haverhill, Mass., and built a 1 million-square-foot complex for Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

The family also is planning a museum to house its private collection of biblical antiquities, one of the world's largest.

About the campus

Christian evangelist and educator D.L. Moody founded Northfield Mount Herman in 1879. It now is a coed boarding school of 630 students in grades 9 through 12 and a postgraduate year in Massachusetts near the borders of Vermont and New Hampshire.

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