Guest / Limited Access /

In its 2005 list of the 25 most influential U.S. evangelicals, Time magazine described former religion reporter Roberta Green Ahmanson and husband Howard simply as "The Financiers." Indeed, that is what they are. But these are no ordinary philanthropists. Roberta, 61, and Howard, 60, are among a rare breed of donor who invests as much intellectual and emotional capital in the projects they support as their Fieldstead and Company philanthropy does vast sums of money. (One source who declined to be identified estimates Fieldstead's annual giving in the low eight figures based on its projects and staff size.) While Howard's name is at the fore of their notoriety, as heir to his father's H. F. Ahmanson & Co. savings and loan fortune, Roberta's passion and intellect have shaped a good deal of their giving in the quarter century they've been married.

Consider Fieldstead's $20 million investment into Roberta's hometown of Perry, Iowa. It was Roberta's vision that led to an elaborate restoration of the historic Hotel Pattee and the installation of an iconic downtown gateway by acclaimed sculptor Albert Paley. So too did Roberta's vision secure Paley gates at the Orange County Rescue Mission's Village of Hope in Tustin, California—and at the Ahmansons' meticulously designed beachfront home in Corona del Mar. Orange County Register sources valued the home at $30-$35 million last January.

The Ahmansons' critics focus on their support for conservative causes like Proposition 8 (their donations totaled approximately $1.4 million in 2007-2008), and for conservative thinkers like the late and much reviled Christian Reconstructionist Rousas John Rushdoony. The secular ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueThe Meaning of Business
Subscriber Access Only The Meaning of Business
Christians in the marketplace, says Jeff Van Duzer, are not second-class citizens of the kingdom.
RecommendedThe Theology of Donald Trump
The Theology of Donald Trump
Four words that reveal what his followers really believe.
TrendingDied: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Died: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Jerry B. Jenkins: 'Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul.'
Editor's PickThe Real Cost (and Power) of Seeking Justice
The Real Cost (and Power) of Seeking Justice
The murder of Willie Kimani can rally the global Body of Christ for an end to impunity.
Christianity Today
Connoisseur for Christ: Roberta Green Ahmanson
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.