Opportunity Fund

For twenty five years, Opportunity Fund’s mission has been to drive economic mobility by delivering affordable capital and responsible financial solutions to determined entrepreneurs and communities.

 

As a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and the largest micro lender in California, Opportunity Fund believes small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting changes in their own lives. The organization is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by.

In FY2018 alone, Opportunity Fund invested more than $92M in the dreams of nearly 3,000 entrepreneurs in California and beyond.

We’re working with disadvantaged entrepreneurs who don’t have time in business or the collateral or the credit score to get a loan from a bank. We’ve developed the methodology to lend to them so that it’s successful both for them as the borrower and us as the lender.

— Eric Weaver, founder and senior adviser of Opportunity Fund

One group of disadvantaged entrepreneurs are self-employed truck drivers, especially those that drive long distances. They have vital but incredibly tough and underpaid jobs, regularly logging cross-country miles, spending a night or two at home, then repeat the long travel cycle. In addition to these tough working conditions, drivers often experience challenges in purchasing their own trucks, facing strict requirements from banks to provide 20 to 40 percent down on a truck loan. That’s money drivers often don’t have.

Self-employed truckers are some of the hardest working but lowest paid workers in the United States. We fundamentally haven’t developed financial services that will benefit low-income communities.

— Caitlin McShane, Communications Director

Opportunity Fund’s Trucking Program provides loans to independent long-haul truckers to purchase a new or used truck, retrofit their existing truck with a reduced-emissions filter, or make needed repairs. Since 2010, Opportunity Fund has invested more than $220 million to more than 4,500 long-haul trucking loans in the state of California.

And a key to the program’s success is establishing relationships with partners like Beneficial State Bank, says Opportunity Fund. Since 2013, Beneficial State Bank has partnered with Opportunity Fund to purchase loans from their trucking portfolio, thereby supporting thousands of California drivers in improving their financial well-being as well as our state’s air quality. Channeling much-needed capital into the hands of these entrepreneurs has profoundly impacted our communities and environment for the better.

We need organizations like Beneficial State Bank and Opportunity Fund that move money from wealthy communities into less wealthy communities in smart ways that really create opportunity for people.

— Eric Weaver, founder and senior adviser of Opportunity Fund

Read Opportunity Fund’s full report on the impact of its trucking program, here.

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