One Couple’s Journey Inspires Thousands
Phil and Alex Congelliere ’10 stood before a packed room of investors, donors, and business leaders on the Azusa Pacific University campus, securing support for their nonprofit startup Love Multiplies, which aims to provide educational resources and encouragement for those navigating infertility and/or adoption. This presentation marked the culmination of Zuventurez INCUBATE, an 18-week program offered by the Office of Innovation designed to help Azusa Pacific students and alumni achieve success. The program helped the Congellieres take the next step in sharing their story and growing their ministry.
The Congellieres never intended to start a business. In fact, Phil and Alex’s biggest dream was to build a family despite years of infertility. One Mother’s Day, Phil, who served as a pastor at Saddleback Church in Orange County, was shown a prayer request. The card read, “My daughter is pregnant. She’s looking for a family to adopt her baby girl.” Their daughter, Kinsley Grace, was born soon after, along with a new calling on their lives.
Love Multiplies began as a YouTube channel, PhilandAlex, which premiered last year. PhilandAlex documents their day-to-day lives as a family formed through adoption. They sought to grow their family again, this time through In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments. The appointments were put on hold when they were contacted to adopt another child, Callie Jo. They continue to share their videos as a source of support and inspiration for others while raising their daughters and completing their IVF procedures.
The supportive, encouraging, and edifying nature of the Love Multiplies community is apparent on the PhilandAlex channel, and their secondary channel, PhilandAlexToo. Their videos reveal the fear, anticipation, and hurt of waiting for adoption results to be finalized, while also celebrating the love, joy, and excitement of bringing that adopted child home. Viewers witness the physical pain of IVF treatments, the emotional struggle through rescheduled hospital visits, and recently, how they handled the negative pregnancy tests.
YouTube comments pour in to their 51,000 subscriber channels. Those inspired by the Congelliere’s story regularly share their own stories, encouraging each other in the more than 100 comments per video. The comment section has become a community of hope, encouragement, and compassion. Families share their stories of fostering and adopting; infertile couples share the pain and joy through their pursuit of IVF treatment; husbands and wives reconnect; and broken relationships are reconciled. “We’ve been able to bless more people than we ever imagined,” said Phil. “Our all time favorite comments report people returning to church after years of absence, spurred on by the love and joy we share on a regular basis.”
In the coming years, the Congellieres plan to include financial support among the services that Love Multiplies offers. “The costs associated with adoption and infertility treatments are astronomical, and, quite honestly, unreachable for the typical family,” said Alex. “Love Multiplies will become a movement, a way of life, and a community of monetary, educational, and emotional support for those struggling to build a family.”
In realizing this bold undertaking, the Congellieres joined Zuventurez INCUBATE to garner support and advice. “Zuventurez helped us mold our idea into a plan, and then put that plan into action,” said Phil. “We learned the importance of interviewing potential investors and garnered connections we need to launch our dream.”
“Phil and Alex came to us with an idea that had traction,” said Jay Sherer, director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Through Zuventurez INCUBATE, Phil and Alex discovered how to build a sustainable business model around their vision. I'm excited to see their non-profit grow.”
Next April, students, alumni, faculty, and staff can join Zuventurez INCUBATE. Zuventurez PITCH workshops began on September 19. The official competition begins in January 2018.
“Nearly seven years later, APU embodies the transformative model of community that built our marriage, our peer groups, and the foundation for Love Multiplies years before it was conceived,” said Phil. “A God First mindset multiplies love.”
Posted: September 29, 2017