Tom Blumenthal, President and CEO of GEARYS Beverly Hills, shares a journey of faith and philanthropy. A convert to Catholicism 15 years ago, he steers GEARYS, the iconic family business, and serves on numerous boards, including his role as past chair of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce. Tom is humble and proud to serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees at Mount St. Mary’s University, along with other non-profits. His profound faith transformation aligns with his commitment to supporting various communities throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
For decades, Daniel K. Walker has been instilling Christian values in community business practices at Farmers & Merchants Bank. Now the executive chairman of the board as the fourth-generation leader of a bank his great grandfather C.J. Walker started in Long Beach in 1907, he continues to model the bank’s five basic pillars — honesty, integrity, the home, the church, and service above self.
“Our bank is God’s blessing,” Daniel says. “As I have been getting closer to Catholic organizations … I have told them clearly: My involvement with you is to allow you the opportunity to transform individuals in need of faith. If we don’t accomplish that goal, we are not following what the Bible is teaching us.”
During the pandemic, Archdiocese leadership discovered it needed quick support through the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Paul Escala, ADLA superintendent of schools, contacted longtime friend and F&M Executive Vice President Kevin Tiber. More than 350 PPP loans totaling $50 million were made available to the ADLA, helping more than 230 entities. More than 66,000 students in the Archdiocese benefited from keeping their teachers, with some 5,400 jobs retained.
“Only a strong, mission-orientated bank could get this done,” says Escala. “It’s a testament to a partner that sees the value of ministry and looks past institutional barriers that exist.”
“Dan has always been in a servant leadership mindset,” says Tiber. “He has identified F&M Bank as an unapologetically Christian business. I think back to the bylaws of this bank in the early 1900s: It called for leadership to be ‘a Christian gentleman.’ To me, Dan Walker has always been that in terms of caring for employees and for the community and always being a good steward. He uses the bank as a vessel for that good.”
In the 1950s, F&M Bank assisted Rev. Robert Schuller when he built a church that became the famous Crystal Cathedral. When the church became available in 2012, Daniel and Tiber orchestrated funding so the Diocese of Orange could purchase it, and it has since become the centerpiece of the Diocese as Christ Cathedral.
Summarizing his message of thanks for receiving the Cardinal’s Award, Daniels says: “The most important thing to me in expressing my Christianity and my faith is seeing a need to believe in prayer. Don’t be afraid to pray. Select individuals to receive your prayers. It’s your way of communicating with God so He hears and creates the benefits that happen on an everyday basis.”