On February 5th, Opportunity Fund helped JPMorgan Chase celebrate the opening of a new branch on El Camino Real in Santa Clara. Dozens of new bank customers looked on as the mayor of Santa Clara, Jamie L. Matthews, welcomed Chase to the neighborhood. As part of the ceremonies, Chase presented Opportunity Fund with a (very large!) check for $200,000 to support our microlending program. The grant represents the bank’s commitment to serving California’s small businesses beyond the walls of its branches.
These enterprises include Arturo’s pool cleaning business. Arturo had been servicing pool cleaning contracts as an employee for many years, essentially becoming the face of the business, when he was offered an amazing opportunity to purchase part of the business from his retiring boss. Chase banker William Powers referred Arturo to Opportunity Fund, and we provided a $50,000 loan towards the business purchase. We also helped Arturo navigate the business acquisition process. Becoming a part-owner of the business has meant much more income for Arturo, and his family. More importantly, it has meant realizing his dreams to be an entrepreneur.
Opportunity Fund’s partnership with Chase encompasses both human and financial investments. The new grant we just received is the latest example of the critical role Chase has played in supporting the growth of Opportunity Fund’s microlending program over the past five years. In 2010, the bank provided a $3 million grant for Opportunity Fund to lend out as loan capital—doubling the funds we had available to invest in California’s small businesses, just as demand was skyrocketing due to the Great Recession. Chase has also provided operating support to help deploy this loan capital to underserved small business owners in California. And, as in Arturo’s case, Chase bankers are key partners in helping Opportunity Fund meet the financing needs of local small businesses—creating jobs and driving economic growth in their communities.