Tore Borhaug ’90 was the first student from Norway to attend Berea College. He graduated with a degree in business administration and earned an MBA at the University of Colorado at Boulder the following year. He has a calling to combine social work with business, which led him and his wife, Leslie, to Brevard, N.C., the following year.
In Brevard, he spent five years trying to start different kinds of businesses. And then he heard of a need in the community: a home for the elderly. Tore learned all he could about assisted living, eventually developing a business plan based on a model he learned from Berea College professors Ed McCormack and Wayne Tolliver.
Tore’s Home was created in 1996. An investor read his business plan and helped him buy the first building and provide a loan for renovations. Over the years, he has added more facilities, with a total of 11 buildings in two counties. He has also added a home-care division, where caregivers assist people and facilitate them remaining in their own homes.
Tore’s efforts did not stop, though, with providing quality care for the elderly. He was also concerned about his own employees, adopting what he calls a Berea College philosophy of giving people opportunities that had previously eluded them. In a 2017 employee survey, he discovered that employees had a need for after-hours childcare, affordable housing and transportation to and from work. He set to work, creating business plans to improve the quality of life for his employees.
He learned the North Carolina regulations allowed employees’ dependents aged 6 and older to come to work. And this possibility had a double impact—on not just the employees but also the quality of life of the residents. To mitigate the effects of misbehavior from the dependents, he eventually decided to start an after-hours childcare service for employees. He also procured 10 apartments to rent to employees at affordable rates; he has plans to triple the number. Finally, he has provided daily transportation to employees for many years.
All Bereans know how inspiring and effective Berea’s mission is and how values are put into action to invest in lives of great promise. As a Berea alumnus, Tore has taken this same model and applied it to his own social enterprises, working tirelessly to put his mission and values of reducing poverty and serving the world into action.
“Anyone who has played a significant role in assisting ONE person turn his or her life around in a dramatic way knows that money alone cannot buy purpose and the satisfaction it gives to assist people in a sustainable way,” Tore said. “There is definitely a deeper calling involved in our effort to reduce poverty and other socio-economic challenges facing our nation. In addition to this deeper calling, we have discovered that our strategy is working on a small scale, which is part of the reason we continue on the quest to secure millions of dollars using the business plan concept I learned at Berea College. These are the reasons why we continue on the mission to reduce poverty and other socio-economic challenges by maximizing profits.”