After a religious awakening, David Block gave up his career in finance to focus on building a supplement company that donates vitamins to malnourished children.
Posted in , Jun 4, 2021
David Block seemed to have it all. A water polo scholarship athlete at UCLA, he had gone on to Pepperdine Law School and then launched a successful finance career that culminated in accomplishing a huge goal: opening his own hedge fund in 2006. “On paper, I was living the American dream. I had achieved this big goal—but I was miserable,” he says. “Almost immediately I knew that it was not what I was supposed to be doing.”
Block had grown up in a Jewish family in Southern California. “We weren’t religious at all,” he says. “I was ultra ambitious. I was focused on athletics and then finance and investing. While I was always somewhat curious about religion, I thought, ‘Well, I’ll figure that out later.’ But I was skeptical that there was any truth to it.”
There had been times earlier in Block’s life when he had thought about turning to God. “My childhood best friend also went to UCLA. He came to know Jesus our freshman year—and the change in him was undeniable. We spoke about it. Over the years he would tell me he was praying for me. I would agree to do a Bible study and then say, ‘I don’t have time.’”
Still, one day in late 2006 in New York City Block started praying. “God, if you exist, I want to have a relationship with you. Show yourself to me.” And bam: God started throwing darts at me from every direction.” Block came to know Jesus—and his calling soon became clear.
“God got my attention in profound ways,” says Block, noting that he just kept receiving sign after sign after sign. It all culminated on his way to work the morning after he prayed. On his morning commute, three different street preachers at three different subway stations preached the identical message: “Give your life to Jesus.” An inspirational mailing came that afternoon along with an email entitled, “Churches” from the same person who sent the mailer.
“There were too many coincidences to ignore and after giving my life to Christ I said, ‘Okay God, what do you want me to do?’ I figured it would be finance-related.” But Block did have another passion. During his career as a Wall Street analyst he had started covering the health and wellness industry.
“Nobody was covering it; these companies were way under the radar. But it sparked a huge passion in me for educating people about everything I was learning about health and wellness and the physiology of nutrition,” says Block. “People were always turning to me to find out what products they should be taking.”
When David launched his hedge fund, it was fueled by the notoriety he gained researching nutritional supplements. Within a year of meeting the Lord, David felt called to shut the hedge fund down and shift his focus back to this research. Block knew this was a subject where God had clearly given him understanding and insight.
“I was an expert in nutritional supplements and knew the health benefits that properly formulated products could have on creating health. But this is an industry that unfortunately preys on consumers, so I knew I needed to do something about it—and I didn’t look back.”
In 2013 he founded Previnex, which makes and distributes pharmaceutical-grade supplements and products that promote longevity, performance, and everyday health. Launching a business in an incredibly competitive industry wasn’t easy, and for several years the company faltered. “We got crushed. It was a really difficult entrepreneurial journey for me early on,” says Block, who continued to pray for guidance.
Running Previnex proved challenging. But Block kept praying—and kept going. “But in 2016 I reached a crossroads. The company was three years old and it wasn’t profitable. I hadn’t taken a paycheck in over two years and we were nearly out of money. My wife was pregnant with our first child,” he says. “It was hard to see how we were going to move forward.”
The birth of his daughter later that year only strengthened his resolve to forge ahead. “Here was this incredible little girl we created. It changed our life in the most amazing ways,” says Block. “But, I couldn't shake the thought that there were parents all around the world that were going to lose their children to malnutrition. I felt like we had to do something about it as a company.”
Block dug into his faith and got to work. “God clearly spoke to me and said: ‘David, I’ve given you this business, I’ve given you this passion for health and wellness and a huge passion for children. I want you to think bigger about how you can serve me for my glory.’ I couldn’t see how we were going to do this,” says Block.
He researched malnutrition and learned that 17,000 kids around the world die every day from malnutrition, but that for up to 45 percent of these children it’s not a food or starvation issue, but a vitamin deficiency one. “Meaning if these children get vitamins they live, if they don’t they die,” says Block. “I couldn’t believe it.” He gathered his team and told them they were going to make a best-in-class children’s vitamin and start donating a bottle for every customer order.
Today, the company is thriving. Block is proud to create products that promote healthy living. But even more important to him is his Get Health, Give Health initiative. For every bottle of vitamins bought, Previnex donates a bottle of their specially-formulated children’s multivitamin, Super Vites, to malnourished children around the world. They recently celebrated their millionth Super Vites donation.
“All the glory goes to God,” says Block. “We should have gone out of business so many times, but we didn’t for one reason—because of His grace. It’s not me, God really has made all this happen.”
These days, Previnex charitable partners distribute Super Vites around the world—Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Zambia, among other countries. Block receives monthly stories about the impact the vitamins are having. Take 18-month old Joseph who lives in extreme poverty in Haiti. His hair was turning red due to malnourishment until he started the vitamins and received purified water. “Kids who were really struggling and sick, now they’re thriving, going to school every day, and they have a better opportunity to flourish” says Block.
While Block credits God with helping him create a successful—and meaningful life—he admits that his lifelong discipline helps bolster his faith. “I thrive on routine. I wake up at 5:30 or 6:00 and the first thing I do—I’m exercising, I’m reading the Word, I’m praying,” says Block, who lives in Northern New Jersey with his wife and daughter. “I know if I’m not digging into the Word and praying at the start of the day, then the day is going to go haywire.”
Block remains excited about the positive impact Previnex is making—on both customers and on children worldwide.
“We’re laser focused on our mission,” says Block. “We believe that creating health changes lives. Everyone deserves the opportunity to flourish, and that at our healthiest, we can make the greatest impact on our families, communities, and the world.”