Media Contact: Caitlin McShane, Communications Director
Call 408-512-2211 or email Caitlin
Opportunity Fund Welcomes Christopher Berini as Chief Development Officer
(San Francisco, CA / January 7, 2019) – Opportunity Fund is pleased to announce Christopher Berini has joined Opportunity Fund as its new Chief Development Officer. Christopher is a strategic leader focused on building a stronger and healthier community by developing powerful partnerships. He brings strengths in fundraising, relationship management, communications to the Chief Development Officer role.
Opportunity Fund Welcomes Liz Pesch as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
(San Francisco, CA / December 3, 2018) – Opportunity Fund is pleased to announce that Liz Pesch will be joining Opportunity Fund as the new Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer. Liz brings over 15 years of experience in the finance and banking industries. She joins Opportunity Fund’s leadership as the organization aims to scale its reach in California and across the U.S., working towards a strategic plan to invest $500 million to drive economic mobility for 50,000 underserved entrepreneurs and working families by 2020.
More Than 1,000 Women Entrepreneurs Join Nonprofits, LA Mayor's Office at City Hall to Announce New Initiative to Get Money to Local Women Business Owners
(San Francisco, CA / November 19, 2018) – The Wurwand Foundation and Opportunity Fund join Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office to celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day at City Hall and announce ‘FOUND/LA,’ a new initiative that will put money and resources into the hands of hundreds of women business owners.
New Report Shows Creating Financial Access for Immigrants & Underserved Entrepreneurs Increases Credit Scores and Leads to Job Creation
(San Francisco, CA / October 24, 2018) – New research completed into the impact of the last decade of Opportunity Fund’s lending to underserved and immigrant small businesses owners in California shows that the loans made by the community development financial institution have resulted in large-scale positive changes to borrowers’ financial lives, including establishing or improving credit scores, and stimulating business growth and job creation in the communities where they operate.
Opportunity Fund Welcomes Shelley Harrison as Chief Marketing Officer
(San Francisco, CA / September 18, 2018) – Opportunity Fund is excited to welcome Shelley Harrison as its first-ever Chief Marketing Officer. Shelley joins Opportunity Fund after spending over 20 years running San Francisco-based marketing consulting firm, Launch Pad, where she advised over 200 companies on marketing and go-to-market strategies. Shelley has a deep connection with our mission, having served on the Opportunity Fund Board of Directors since 2013.
Opportunity Fund Launches Discount Loan Campaign for Women Small Business Owners
(San Francisco, CA / August 6, 2018) – Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, announced today a campaign to identify, educate, mentor, and provide access to capital for women-owned small businesses. The campaign, Opportunity Fund Empowering Women (OFEW), ofew.org, offers an affordable and responsible working capital loan that rewards borrowers with 2% off the annual interest rate when they apply for free mentoring, which is shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue.
Opportunity Fund Launches Small Business Impact Fund
(San Francisco, CA / June 26, 2018) – Opportunity Fund today announced the launch of its Small Business Impact Fund, the country’s largest small business impact fund that directly provides loans to underserved small business owners, primarily minority and women-owned businesses in low-income communities. The fund—backed by some of Silicon Valley’s most successful business leaders, philanthropists, and venture capitalists—will continue to fuel the organization’s ambitious national expansion, giving Opportunity Fund the capacity to lend in markets that contain 80% of U.S. small businesses.
State Lawmakers Consider Whether to Extend Life of Crucial Program Supporting Small Business Lending
(San Francisco, CA / June 18, 2018) – The California State Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy (JEDE) on Tuesday will consider Senate Bill 551, which sustains a state program that helps Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and small banks make responsible small-dollar loans to California small businesses.
Opportunity Fund Welcomes Michael Rapaport as Senior Vice President of Risk and Operations
(San Francisco, CA / February 21, 2018) – Opportunity Fund is excited to welcome Michael Rapaport as Senior Vice President of Risk and Operations. Michael brings 28 years of experience in lending, credit, and financial service operations to Opportunity Fund, as well as expertise in Big Data analytics to drive business performance. Throughout his career, Michael has been a committed advocate of consumer financial education and responsible lending, which guided his transition to the non-profit sector and, specifically, to Opportunity Fund.
America’s Leading Nonprofit Small Business Lender and Mentoring Platform Join Forces for Santa Clara County Entrepreneurs, Supported by $600,000 Grant from Google.org
(San Jose, CA / September 28, 2017) – Pacific Community Ventures and Opportunity Fund today announced a new collaboration funded by Google.org. The $600,000 grant will help 150 small business owners in Santa Clara County access the funding and business advice they need to grow their businesses, create jobs, and support the local economy. Through the partnership, Opportunity Fund – the nation’s leading non-profit small business lender and a Google Impact Challenge finalist in 2014 – will connect the businesses it has funded in Silicon Valley to the award-winning network of advisors run by Pacific Community Ventures.
Opportunity Fund Welcomes New CEO Luz Urrutia
(San Jose, CA / August 21, 2017) – Opportunity Fund – the nation’s largest nonprofit small business lender– has hired Luz Urrutia as its new CEO. Ms. Urrutia brings more than thirty years’ experience in community banking, alternative financial services, and small dollar lending, working to expand access to financial services in underserved communities throughout the United States for more than thirty years. She joins Opportunity Fund’s leadership team as the nonprofit lender aims to scale its reach in California and beyond.
Parker Hudnut Joins Opportunity Fund Board of Directors
(San Jose, CA / June 26, 2017) – Parker Hudnut has been elected to serve on Opportunity Fund’s Board of Directors. “We are excited to welcome Parker to our Board, especially as our first member representing Southern California,” said interim and incoming Board Chair Greg Avis. “Last year, half of Opportunity Fund’s small business investments were in Southern California. Parker’s addition to our Board will be a huge asset to Opportunity Fund as we grow in that region and deepen our commitment to greater California.”
Opportunity Fund Begins National Expansion of Small Business Lending
(San Jose, CA / June 6, 2017) – Opportunity Fund, a leading non-profit small business lender based in California, today announced it has begun to offer loans online to borrowers in 12 new states, in addition to increasing its investments in California’s small businesses. By expanding its referral partnership with Lending Club (NYSE: LC), the world’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, Opportunity Fund will reach borrowers in these new states online, pursuing a branchless banking model that embraces the best of online and traditional community lending.
Amanda K. Byrd and Hogan Lee Join Opportunity Fund Southern California Regional Board
(Los Angeles, CA / April 20, 2017) – Opportunity Fund is pleased to welcome Amanda K. Byrd and Hogan Lee to serve on the Southern California Regional Board. “We are excited to welcome Amanda and Hogan as new Southern California Regional Board members,” said Southern California Regional Director, Iosefa Alofaituli. “As we continue to deepen our impact, Opportunity Fund aims to provide 2,000 loans and invest $60 million a year by 2020. Amanda and Hogan bring a wealth of experience and expertise in their fields and will be tremendous assets to further our mission of helping entrepreneurs thrive in Southern California.”
Opportunity Fund Awarded $100,000 Wells Fargo Economic Opportunity Grant
(San Jose, CA / November 9, 2016) – Opportunity Fund today announced that it has been awarded a $100,000 Wells Fargo Economic Opportunity Grant. The funds will allow Opportunity Fund to advance the economic well-being of California’s working families by providing micro and small business loans and development services to small business owners in California. In conjunction with other funding sources, it is expected this grant will help originate 2,500 loans which will sustain or create 7,250 jobs and result in $85 million in economic activity.
(San Francisco, CA / July 12, 2016) – Opportunity Fund has closed $27 million in funding, led by Charles Schwab Bank, with BBVA Compass and Mechanics Bank also participating in the round. The funding will enable Opportunity Fund to increase the number of loans available to small business owners, while driving economic growth throughout California. Opportunity Fund, which experienced more than 1.5x growth in loans provided to small businesses in the past fiscal year, will utilize the funding to issue approximately 2,800 loans in the coming year (FY17) – totaling $75 million in new investments in California’s small businesses.
Joni Cropper, Brian Graham and Yun-Fang Juan Elected to Opportunity Fund Board of Directors
(San Jose, CA / June 14, 2016) Joni Cropper, Brian Graham, and Yun-Fang Juan have been elected to serve on Opportunity Fund's Board of Directors. "We are thrilled to welcome these talented industry leaders and philanthropists to our Board," said Board Chair Susan Greene. "They all possess deep experience in business and philanthropy - important assets for Opportunity Fund as we grow this high-impact non-profit."
(San Francisco, CA / May 24, 2016) Opportunity Fund, California's leading nonprofit microfinance provider, today released its latest research report, "Unaffordable and Unsustainable." The report offers a first-of-its-kind analysis of the loans being offered to small businesses by short-term, high-cost alternative lenders. This growing market of alternative lenders operates outside of government regulation, with many unregulated lenders selling short-term, high-cost financing products that do more harm than good.
(San Francisco, CA / December 21, 2015) Charles Schwab Bank and Opportunity Fund closed on $10MM in new financing for loans to small businesses in California. Opportunity Fund, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution, will deploy these funds through its award-winning small business program making loans from $2,600-$100,000 to small businesses across the state.
(Sacramento, CA / October 15, 2015) California Governor Brown signed into law SB 197, which increases access to affordable capital for California's 3.6 million small and microbusiness owners. The law helps small business owners to learn about responsible financing options at reasonable rates that help build their credit. SB197 helps responsible lending products become more competitive with other predatory financing options, such as merchant cash advances, by removing a competitive disadvantage that affected licensed commercial lenders in California, like Opportunity Fund.
Small Business Advocates, Lenders & Online Credit Marketplaces Unveil Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights
(Washington, DC / August 6, 2015) Coalition including Accion, Aspen Institute, Fundera, Funding Circle, Lending Club, MultiFunding, Opportunity Fund & Small Business Majority announces first-ever consensus on responsible small business lending practices.
(Denver, CO / June 15, 2015) President Bill Clinton announced a Commitment to Action between Lending Club (NYSE: LC), the world’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, and Opportunity Fund, a national leader in community-based lending to small businesses, yesterday at CGI America.
(San Jose, CA / July 17, 2014) U.S. Bank and Opportunity Fund closed on New Markets Tax Credit financing for construction of the $14.8 million Educare of California at Silicon Valley (“ECSV”), a school that will provide year-round early childhood education and care to children in San Jose’s Santee neighborhood.
(San Francisco, CA / May 22, 2014) Today, Google announced it is awarding Opportunity Fund a $100,000 grant to scale our innovative EasyPay microfinance loan. This award-winning idea allows small business owners in California to pay back a loan only when and if they have the money.
(San Francisco, CA / May 19, 2014) Samuel Adams and Opportunity Fund announced they will host small business Speed Coaching in San Francisco on Monday, May 19th as part of Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, a micro-lending and coaching program for small business owners working in food, beverage, craft brewing and hospitality. More than fifty business owners are expected to participate, with volunteer coaches pitching in from companies including: Square, Google, Bank of America, Cisco, Dun and Bradstreet, Blackrock, and more.
(San Francisco, CA /April 14, 2014) Tory Burch Foundation (TBF) and Bank of America will host the second Elizabeth Street Capital event on April 16 at Wharton San Francisco. Elizabeth Street Capital is a Tory Burch Foundation and Bank of America initiative designed to provide women entrepreneurs in the United States with access to low-cost capital, mentoring support and networking opportunities to grow their businesses. During the event, women entrepreneurs from the Bay Area will have the unique opportunity to gain in-person, mentoring support from entrepreneurs and key leaders from growth companies, including Comcast, Facebook, Salesforcedesk.com, Susie Cakes and Bank of America.
(San Jose, CA /March 20, 2014) Four new leaders have been elected to serve on Opportunity Fund’s Board of Directors: Jeff Donnelly, Peter Hero, James (Jim) Koshland, and Sara Gaviser Leslie. “We are thrilled to have such talented and dedicated individuals join Opportunity Fund’s leadership team” said Board Chair David Krimm. “Jeff, Peter, Jim and Sara bring deep organizational experience from their professional careers along with extensive philanthropic leadership - important assets for Opportunity Fund as we grow this high-impact non-profit. Opportunity Fund is expanding our financial services for entrepreneurs and students to reach thousands more deserving Californians, each of whom are building their own pathways up the economic ladder, and adding individuals like these to our Board is key to achieving our long-term vision.”
(San Francisco, CA /Jan 21, 2014) Today, Opportunity Fund announced its Start-Up Funding Challenge to help Bay Area business owners make their start-up dreams a reality. For the third year in a row, California’s largest non-profit micro lender is offering loans up to $50,000 at a 7.5% interest, with no fees, to eligible new business owners with less than one year of sales. The organization will disburse $750,000 of allocated funds to help local start-ups launch their new businesses.
(San Jose, CA /Jan 8, 2014) Opportunity Fund, California’s largest non-profit microlender financing small businesses, today announced new foundation support to enable the expansion of its services in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. Opportunity Fund’s initiative in the region has already made significant inroads helping to create and expand small businesses on the Central Coast. Businesses can borrow up to $100,000, with average loan size of $15,000 - $25,000. These loans are especially attractive to business owners in the region, who often have difficulty accessing the credit they need to start or scale up their companies. Opportunity Fund’s expansion in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties began in May, 2013 and is spearheaded by Opportunity Fund Leadership Council member Bud Colligan.
(San Francisco, CA / October 1, 2013) Opportunity Fund, California’s largest non-profit microlender, today announced $3 million in financing to help restaurant owners expand their businesses with affordable, quick and easy capital through its new EasyPay loans. EasyPay loans are easy to apply for, quick to process, and preserve cash flow, since businesses can repay their loans automatically as a percentage of daily debit and credit card sales, rather than paying a lump-sum payment in advance.
(Philadelphia, PA / September 18, 2013) Opportunity Fund won $3 million from the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance to expand our pioneering EasyPay lending strategy in low-income communities. We will use the award to implement new solutions for small business financing in some of the most underserved communities in the U.S. Through our innovative EasyPay strategy, we will expand our geographic presence and product offerings, and the NEXT Awards will accelerate this success.
(San Francisco, CA / July 15, 2013) Opportunity Fund was selected as one of three finalists for an award pool of $8.25 million. Opportunity Fund is a finalist for the NEXT Opportunity Award for its compelling plan to expand its financing for entrepreneurs in distressed communities. It was also the 2012 winner of the NEXT Seed Capital Award for this innovative financing strategy.
(San Francisco, CA / July 11, 2013) Opportunity Fund, California's leading microfinance organization, today announced that it is lending $500,000 to help 17 Bay Area entrepreneurs pursue their dream to launch a business. Through Opportunity Fund’s Start-Up Funding Challenge, the 17 businesses competed for loans ranging from $2,000 to $50,000 at 7.5% interest, with no loan fees, to help the businesses get off the ground.
(Salinas, CA / May 22, 2013) Today, Pacific Community Ventures and Opportunity Fund, leading providers of business advising and micro-lending to entrepreneurs and small businesses, announced the two will provide an expansion of their services into California's Central Coast region. Spearheaded by Pacific Community Ventures Co-Founder Bud Colligan, the partnership will invest capital and business advising in small businesses throughout the region that are poised to grow and add jobs.
(San Francisco, CA / April 26, 2013) Opportunity Fund is pleased to announce it was awarded a new $30 million allocation under the U.S. Treasury Department's New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program. NMTC was created to increase economic opportunity in distressed areas of the nation. A total of $3.5 billion in NMTC allocations were awarded this week, to 85 organizations nationwide, through a highly competitive application process. The $30 million allocation means that Opportunity Fund will be able to raise $30 million from investors to fund new real estate projects that benefit to low-income communities, like health clinics, youth centers, and homeless shelters.
(Huntington Park, CA / April 11, 2013) Opportunity Fund – California’s largest nonprofit microlender to small businesses - is expanding its microlending to Greater Los Angeles. Home to more than 325,000 small businesses which employ nearly 2 million people, Los Angeles has more small businesses than any metropolitan region in the country. The nonprofit lender will offer loans from $2,500 to $100,000 to businesses in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties from its branch office in Huntington Park. In the coming year, Opportunity Fund will lend $4 million to help more than 600 entrepreneurs in Los Angeles to grow their business, boost their income, and hire new employees. This is an ambitious plan for growth: In total, Opportunity Fund is poised to lend $12 million in 2013.
(San Francisco, CA / April 1, 2013) Opportunity Fund is proud to release a new report: U.S. Microfinance: Small Loans, Big Results. Conducted in collaboration with the Accion U.S. Network, the report analyzes results from the first-ever nationwide survey of microloan borrowers in America. The report measures outcomes from Opportunity Fund’s lending, and answers the fundamental question that drives our work: Do the loans we offer reduce poverty by helping the business owner to increase their own income and pay wages to their employees?
(San Francisco, CA / March 21, 2013) Today, Opportunity Fund announced their Start-Up Funding Challenge to help Bay Area businesses get off the ground. For a limited time, the organization is lending up to $500,000 to local start-up entrepreneurs, who are either launching their businesses or have less than a year of sales. At 7.5% interest and no loan fees, the challenge aims to offer financing that is hard to come by for most start-ups at an affordable rate.
(San Francisco, CA / March 14, 2013) Amy Gurley and Shelley Harrison have been elected to serve on Opportunity Fund’s Board of Directors. Gurley and Harrison share professional expertise in marketing, desire to help low-income Californians.
(San Francisco, CA / June 11, 2012) Opportunity Fund CEO Eric Weaver was invited by President Clinton to share his nonprofit’s success at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America, a convening dedicated to helping America's economy and creating jobs. On Friday morning during the plenary session, Weaver announced his organization's success at helping small business.
(San Francisco, CA / October 25, 2011) California’s largest nonprofit microlender - Opportunity Fund - launches its “1,000 Jobs Challenge” today to encourage local residents to help the group create 1,000 jobs for Bay Area workers through its small businesses microloan program. “Opportunity Fund lends to entrepreneurs so they can grow and create jobs for themselves and their neighbors,” says Eric Weaver, founder and CEO. “This is why microlending in our own communities is such a powerful tool to stimulate job creation and economic activity.”
Microfinance USA Conference to Ignite Action for Consumer Protection and Increased Microfinance Services in the United States
(New York, NY / May 9, 2011) Despite an economy crippled by stubbornly high unemployment rates and an ongoing credit crunch, microlenders across the U.S. are creating bright spots of economic mobility and small business growth. At the 2011 Microfinance USA Conference (May 23rd and 24th), the nation’s top practitioners, investors, and researchers will convene to discuss the future of U.S. microfinance. There, they will be joined by international microlending organizations to announce a campaign for consumer protection standards.
(San Francisco, CA / January 28, 2011) Today, Opportunity Fund announced a new green loan – GreenforGreen - to help Bay Area small businesses become more environmentally friendly or expand their green business. JPMorgan Chase made a $3 million philanthropic investment in Opportunity Fund to help the organization launch these new greens in the Bay Area. Businesses will be able to borrow anywhere from $500- $100,000 at 8% interest.
(San Francisco, CA / January 13, 2011) Today, Opportunity Fund announced up to $1 million in financing to help with a pressing need many small business owners are facing: complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). While compliance with the ADA has always been a concern for small business owners, recent news reports in California have found that an increasing number of small businesses are being targeted with what could be characterized as “predatory lawsuits”. Some business owners – including the former owners of iCafe on Irving Street in the Sunset District of San Francisco –were forced to sell their business in the face of steep legal fees stemming from ADA-compliance-related lawsuits. At a press conference this morning, City of San Francisco Supervisor Carmen Chu remarked, “It’s difficult enough for small businesses to stay afloat during this time, and we want to ensure that businesses are equipped with information and other tools to minimize the impacts of potential lawsuits. At the same time, we understand the need for providing access to the disabled community.”
(San Francisco, CA / June 10, 2009) Opportunity Fund has been selected by Kiva, the online microfinancer, as one of two partners to bring Kiva’s innovative social lending to small business owners in the United States. Until now, Kiva.org has been a portal for person-to-person lending exclusively to the developing world; now, through the partnership with Opportunity Fund, individuals will be able to lend directly to small businesses in the Bay Area.
Opportunity Fund Secures $27M in Funding to Increase Access to Loans and Accelerate Small Businesses Growth
Opportunity Fund, a leading Community Development Financial Institution, creates the largest Small Business Impact Fund in the country that lends directly to underserved entrepreneurs, helping the California-based organization expand its offerings across the country.