Mark and Debra Leslie – Leading through Philanthropy + See our Valentine’s gift guide

Philanthropy love of humanity

Why do people give?

The impulse to give back is embedded in us all. The word “philanthropy” is a combination of two ancient greek words: philos (love) and anthropos (humanity). This translates to “the love of humanity”. Philanthropy has come to mean giving, but this act of kindness is due to an act of love and desire to help others.

Opportunity Fund benefits from YOUR LOVE. It is the generosity of our strong community of donors, supporters and philanthropists that enables us to make a positive impact in our community.

We celebrate the month of love by honoring the Leslie Family for their extraordinary example of leadership and philanthropy.


Mark and Debra LeslieLast November, Mark and Debra were honored with the Outstanding Philanthropists Award at the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Silicon Valley Philanthropy Day.

The Leslies have been long-time friends and supporters of Opportunity Fund. CEO Eric Weaver and Mark Leslie met over 15 years ago, when Mark was in search of an opportunity to invest in the local community.

“I wanted to invest in microlending because I believe that it has the potential to have generational impact.” says Mark. “Eric and I agreed to try an experiment, he would identify worthy borrowers who could not get loans, and I would supply capital to guarantee the loans.”

Fifteen years later, thanks to the support and leadership of the Leslies and hundeds of other donors, Opportunity Fund has become the largest microlender in the U.S. In 2015, we invested $39 million in the dreams of 4,091 familes.

“Opportunity Fund has changed the lives of many thousands of families and created tens of thousands of jobs! And I am hopeful that in many, if not most of those cases, it has changed the trajectory of the family for generations to come. It is a way to multiply and then exponentiate the effect of giving.” – Mark Leslie, AFP Silicon Vally Philanthropy Day. Read full speech here.

Mark and Debra have insipred us to do more, to work harder and to serve more Californian families each year. THANK YOU for leading through philanthropy.