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Business Church Philanthropy Shining Lights

Janice Worth Goes From Beauty Products to The Beauty of Giving

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Orphaned at a young age and raised by extended family, Janice Worth decided at 16 that she was ready to venture out on her own. She left for college and worked her way into a wealthy, influential lifestyle. But in her lifelong quest for security, she discovered that the sense of safety and surety she longed for wasn’t found where she expected—in money—but in a relationship with Christ. Once she grasped that truth, she experienced a freedom that compelled her to give a large portion of her money away.

As an orphan, Janice learned not to take security for granted—so she determined to create a safety net of her own. She made a name for herself as an entrepreneur in the beauty industry through mass marketing, like QVC. She and her business partner were at the forefront of infomercials—they were the first to have an infomercial sell $100 million.

She also married a “very handsome, very successful New York guy,” and they lived a “pretty wild lifestyle” in New York City in the 1980s.

“We were young, we were successful, we were wealthy, we were connected, we were charitable,” Janice said. “There were cars, drivers, big homes, homes in the Hamptons, homes in California—it was a pretty incredible lifestyle.”

Looking back, she admits money was her god. “I love money. I’ve always loved money,” Janice said. “I love making it. Money was where I was going to get my self worth. Money was where I saw my value. Money was my mission.”

And yet, she didn’t feel “safe” the way she expected. She was plagued with a constant fear of losing what she’d gained, so she continued her search. She even delved into New Age philosophies and the occult, reading palms and tarot cards.

Then, a friend invited her to Bible Study Fellowship, an international fellowship of women with local chapters that read through and study the Bible together. She initially attended as a social obligation. From there, someone at BSF invited her to a “new church plant,” Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. She listened to Tim Keller preach on the Gospel of John, and “that’s where I met this guy Jesus, and it radically changed my life,” she said.

With her marketing background, she ended up on the stewardship committee at Redeemer, and that’s where she was exposed to teaching about tithing and biblical stewardship. “I was such a baby believer,” Janice said. “It was out of obedience I was doing those things; it wasn’t out of a love of giving or a love of others.”

Still, giving wasn’t something she was unfamiliar with. As an orphan, she had lived off the generosity of others, and the sense of paying that back was “comfortable” for her. But she still viewed charitable giving as “one of the things you do on the checklist of Christianity.”

Then she attended a Generous Giving retreat and saw how “lit up” people were about giving. Generous Giving conferences are geared toward providing a safe, non-soliciting environment for people with wealth to share stories of how they are living out radical generosity.

It ignited something in Janice that had long laid dormant—a joy in giving. “I saw how they enjoyed sharing with what God had blessed them with in radical ways, and I wanted in on that party,” she said.

Prior to that, Janice had sold her companies and moved to Florida by herself. She said those years were a “dark night of the soul.” But she felt reminded at the Generous Giving conference that she had much to live for and much to do.

She decided she wasn’t supposed to sit at home and retire, and she participated in a salon startup in West Palm Beach. Soon after, the Great Recession hit. The salon survived, but Janice didn’t take a salary for the first three years. In the fourth year, they were “very successful” and Janice was able to take three years’ worth of salary at one time.

“I just heard God say, ‘Okay big mouth, you’ve been talking about it for three years—now let’s see what giving 50 percent away looks like,’” she remembered. “I did it. It was quite a challenge, and it was a good step in my journey.”

Now, giving is a lifestyle and one Janice encourages other successful women to experiment with themselves. She serves on the boards of Generous Giving, Women Doing Well, and the National Giving Fund New York affiliate. She is the President/CEO of celebrity-favorite Anushka Salon & Spa, and she gives mostly to Gospel ministry, including college ministries, an evangelism ministry, and We Want More in Bridgeport, Conn.

“I think that I was just buying into the security that I could provide by my zeros, and that that just isn’t the truth,” she said. “One thing I’ve learned is that I’ve had a security blanket all these years—that safety net is in the loving arms of Jesus, not in my zeros.”

Watch more of Janice’s story here.

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Christina Darnell

Christina Darnell is a freelance writer who has contributed to WORLD, The Charlotte Observer, and other publications.