Over the past 25 years, Opportunity Fund has helped tens of thousands of people make basic, yet transformative, improvements to their economic well-being. We started locally in the Bay Area and first expanded to Southern California in 2014, deepening our impact on small businesses in the greater Los Angeles area – including LA, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties.
Since that first expansion, we’ve expanded our reach tremendously. In just the past two years, we’ve doubled our loan volume in California as part of our strategic plan to invest $500 million in 50,000 underserved entrepreneurs and working families by 2020.
Below, you can see a map of California with counties shaded green where we have doubled the number of loans made since fiscal year 2016. We are extremely happy to help so many more entrepreneurs in these sixteen counties than we were able to in years before. In fact, loan volume in some counties increased significantly more: our lending in Yolo County increased by 500%, and in Fresno County by 800%, for example.
Looking at the numbers can only tell you so much about the people whose lives are impacted by these small business loans. We are inspired and motivated by the determined entrepreneurs and their families who have a dream, dedicate themselves to their business, and want to re-invest in their local communities. These incredible business owners struggle to get the financing they need, and we could not be happier to lend a hand (in the form of an affordable loan!)
Millennium Family Entertainment Center, started by Sara Core, exemplifies the passionate family-owned businesses we serve. Sara’s business is located in Yuba City, a small town in Sutter County. We’re proud to say that between 2017 and 2018, we’ve more than tripled the number of Opportunity Fund loans made in Sutter County.
Sara couldn’t find any family-friendly places to bring her kids to have fun in Yuba City. After lamenting about the lack of things for families to do together, Sara decided to be the change she wanted in her neighborhood by opening Millennium Family Entertainment Center in 2014.
Summer is their busy season, so July was the worst possible time for the building’s air conditioning system to fail. They desperately needed a small business loan to install a new central air system. Like many entrepreneurs, Sara had few resources for business lending. “We contacted several lenders,” Sara said, “It was one ‘no’ after another.”
Because her father was in the military, Sara was able to get in touch with someone from the Jonas Project, a nonprofit fund started by a Gold Star Family to help veteran entrepreneurs start their businesses. They suggested Sarah give Opportunity Fund a call.
Today, with your support, Sara is able to keep her business going with the loan for the new air conditioning system. That one loan had an immediate impact on her business’ finances, her family’s future, and the enrichment of so many other families in Yuba City. This family-owned and operated fun center with bumper cars, arcade games, and laser tag is providing a much-needed space for families and local special needs groups.