After more than a quarter century of nurturing Opportunity Fund from infancy to becoming the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, our Founder and former CEO Eric Weaver takes the next step in his journey and transitions into a part-time fundraising and policy role and remains as a Board member. The relationships he’s developed among the staff remain strong.
In September 2017, Opportunity Fund’s Founder Eric Weaver made the tough decision to step back from his role as CEO at the organization which he had nurtured for more than two decades. After a kidney transplant and a four-month break, he was welcomed back by new CEO Luz Urrutia and the Executive Team to serve in the role of Founder and Senior Advisor.
Since then, Eric has worked behind the scenes in support of Luz, who has led, inspired, and propelled Opportunity Fund forward, building on the foundation of Eric’s vision, passion and dedication.
As carefully planned by Luz, Eric and our board, Eric will now take a further step back, returning to the East Coast where he grew up. The staff members here at Opportunity Fund consider Eric to be an essential part of our big, unconventional family. But his real family needs him as well. So Eric will be moving with them to Baltimore, Maryland this summer, as his wife Sarah pursues professional opportunities there.
Eric will continue to sit on Opportunity Fund’s board of directors and serve in a part-time advisory role, with his door still open to the staff, partners and supporters of Opportunity Fund who have come to call him their friend.
So this is not goodbye—just a new chapter beginning.
Last month, during Eric’s last “official” virtual All Staff meeting, dozens of employees presented him with messages of congratulations, encouragement, gratitude, and well wishes for this next chapter.
“Felicidades! Congratulations! Thank you for all the work you’ve done for Opportunity Fund.”
“Commitment and humility. You had those at the beginning, and you have them today. And they’ve carried Opportunity Fund to where we are now.”
“Eric has been so supportive of me ever since I started at Opportunity Fund, and he goes out of his way to help whenever I ask. And I know that’s what he does for everyone.”
“I joined Opportunity Fund because I believed in the mission you created. Between the low-income housing, the savings program, the New Markets Tax Credits, and the small business lending, who could ask for more?”
“I don’t know any other CEO or Founder who has been more daring, taken more risk, gone down the uncharted path, than you.”
“As time went on, you’ve always gone back to this tried-and-true principle that you’ve had around management and leadership – which is to find very talented people and to get out of their way.”
“Thank you. Thank you for the impact that you’ve had on my life. Your teachings, your mentorship, your friendship really have shaped the direction of my life.”
“Look what you’ve built! One billion dollars invested in small businesses and low income savers and affordable housing and community development projects.”
Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $1 billion and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.
In March, 2020, Opportunity Fund and Accion, The US Network, joined forces to establish Accion Opportunity Fund, the first organization focused on a national microlending strategy to meet the credit needs of small businesses – developing new products, establishing new partnerships, promoting research and financial education, and leveraging digital technologies to support mission-driven lending.