CELEBRATING 20 YEARS
DRIVING ECONOMIC MOBILITY IN CALIFORNIA
OF INNOVATION AND RESULTS
EVERY $1 INVESTED DRIVES $2
INTO THE LOCAL ECONOMY
Twenty years ago, when we launched Opportunity Fund, I had no idea what we would become. Just getting to a million dollars in microloans, I thought, that would be amazing. It was hard to think far beyond that as we took our first wobbly steps in 1994. Four years later, we threw our “Million Dollar Party,” celebrating the milestone of our first million in microloans. My vision for what we could become started to expand.
Donors were getting interested in our work, and some, like Mark Leslie, helped me to believe that so much more was possible. The faces of our borrowers also told me there could be no slowing down. We had made a difference for them. I knew it. And if we could just make our model work better, there were thousands more we could help.
We weren't doing this by ourselves. Each year more of you were drawn to the notion of microfinance. You fell in love with the idea of providing the growth capital to make dreams come true. Then you fell in love with microsavings plans to help every Californian build a secure financial foundation.
Today, we lend more than $2 million every month and help people save over $1 million each year. Last year for the first time, we cracked 1,000 loans in a single year. Over the past five years, we invested $36 million in entrepreneurship, education and everyday savings, benefiting clients who usually get left out of the financial picture. In the next five years we will invest $100 million.
These are loans to women selling tamales and hot dogs from carts on the street, to family-run restaurants and dry cleaners. These are savings accounts for single moms who seek to build stability and strength for their children, and for students who will be the first in their families to graduate from college.
For Californians yearning for opportunity, your donations provide the fuel. Through our loans and savings programs, we are entwined in the life stories of thousands - some 2,800 Californians every year. We are helping Californians rewrite their futures, one microloan and one microsavings account at a time.
Join us in celebrating two decades of impact and success. I’m looking forward to what comes next.
Eric Weaver, Founder and CEO