Opportunity Fund

Rating: 4.38 stars   8 reviews

Issues: Homeless & Housing, Human Services, Economic Development

Location: 111 W Saint John St Ste 800 San Jose CA 95113 USA

Mission: Opportunity Fund advances the economic well-being of working people by helping them earn, save, and invest in their future.
Results: Opportunity Fund is the leading provider of microfinance loans and savings products in the Bay Area. We are also a key partner to affordable housing developers in the region. In the past 15 years, we have helped -Invest $180 million in the Bay Area -Made $15 million in loans to 1,200+ entrepreneurs -Enrolled more than 3,300 people saving for the future -Helped finance over 8,000 affordable homes MICROLENDING: Every $1 we lend to a local small business generates almost $2 in new annual economic activity, through new spending, wages earned, and tax revenues. Our small businesses clients have an 90+% survival rate and create or sustain an average of 2.4 jobs per loan. MICROSAVINGS: 70% of program graduates continue to save after they graduate from our microsavings program, and 70% open savings accounts for their children. 90% feel more confident about their ability to succeed financially.
Target demographics: At Opportunity Fund, we help our neighbors, the hard-working people getting by on modest wages in the Bay Area. Some are refugees from around the world. Some live in homeless shelters even while holding jobs. Others start businesses on the side to help make ends meet.  All of them share a determination to build a better life for their families. We help our clients get a foothold and get ahead. We help them join the financial mainstream. We achieve this by lending a helping hand, through our award-winning approach that includes financial education, microfinance loans, matched savings accounts, and affordable housing financing. We serve clients who are: 70% Women; 45% Immigrants; 40% Latino; 20% Asian/Pacific Islander; 10% African American; 41% Single Mothers (in IDA Savings Program)
Direct beneficiaries per year: 700+
Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area (San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland)
Programs: Opportunity Fund operates three programs that form an integrated and effective approach to fostering economic self-sufficiency: 1. Microsavings: Opportunity Fund is a national leader in providing Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), matched savings accounts for the working poor that combine financial education and incentives to help families build financial stability. Opportunity Fund matches client savings 2:1, and participants exit the program with up to $6,000 to invest in a home, education, microenterprise, retirement, citizenship, or just emergency savings. Through our microsavings program, low-income families develop the financial skills and savings to begin to accumulate assets and move into the financial mainstream. These IDA clients gain tools to manage their financial resources; an opportunity to develop a lifelong pattern of savings; and a realistic chance at getting on the path to wealth creation. Opportunity Fund has enrolled more than 3,300 clients in our IDA program. These families have saved and earned $12 million. 2. Microlending As the Bay Area's largest microfinance lender, Opportunity Fund is proving that small loans, combined with customized business coaching, can help low-income entrepreneurs become self-sufficient business owners. Our loan products and technical assistance help microentrepreneurs who are most removed from the financial mainstream gain access to credit, learn financial management skills, and start or build an enterprise. Our goal is to enable these small business owners to increase their family income and begin to accumulate financial assets to support their families and contribute to their communities. Our microlending program opens up a path to entrepreneurship and self-employment, primary routes to asset acquisition and self-sufficiency for Bay Area low-wage workers who cannot make ends meet. Opportunity Fund has provided $15 million in financing, to 1,200+ Bay Area small business owners considered "unbankable" by conventional lenders. - 72% of loans have gone to minority-owned businesses - 60% to women-owned businesses - 91% to businesses owned by people with low- or moderate-incomes. 3. Community Real Estate Opportunity Fund is also a catalyst for increasing the Bay Area's supply of affordable housing and community infrastructure. Through early stage, gap and permanent financing for real estate projects, we have helped build over 8,000 new units of affordable housing, along with schools, child care centers, and other social services. In total, Opportunity Fund has originated over $165 million in loans to non-profit and for-profit real estate projects providing high community impact in low-income neighborhoods

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 4 stars  

Opportunity Fund is a truly innovative organization that is dedicated to phenomenal results for the low-income clients they serve. They did a 2 year longitudinal study following the people who graduated from their savings program. 75% of program graduates continue to save today — saving an average of 10% of their annual income. Equally exciting, 70% of those savers had opened savings accounts for their children, pointing towards a generational change in financial knowledge.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Reading their research. Talking to the Executive Director.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None that I know of.

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Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I applied for a business loan for a 10k to hire one employee and to buy some equipment for my business. I had a face to face interview, sent all the required docs and my credit score is 700. I contacted Opportunity fund like 5 times regarding my app. nobody responsed to me for about a month and eventually they declined my app. because they're not sure if I'm able to pay about $150 monthly payments with my salary of 50k and the profit from my business!!! So, my advise to you guys DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME, and try to find another lender.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Nothing. Opportunity fund just wasted my time.

Ways to make it better...

Opportunity fund contact their customers on time not to make them wait for a several weeks for response.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

Being on a board, you get an inside look at how a nonprofit operates. I am so impressed by Opportunity Fund! Great client service, lives changed, amazing staff, strong financials, and the capacity to manage big growth as the word spreads about the power of microfinance in the US.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the low income, hard working small business owners and individuals served who are pulling themselves out of poverty with Opportunity Fund's assistance.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

22 people found this review helpful

Thanks to the Opportunity Fund I was able to finally put my finances together and achieve a better credit score. They also helped me save for the start-up cost for my business and provided me with a micro-loan to help my business grow. Thank you so much Opportunity Fund for the wonderful work that you do.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

working with their dedicated staff and feeling like my life is in order thanks to their sage advices regarding finances and business management. It's also great to meet with other clients and to see what they are doing. It's nice to see others who share similar goals with me and to see them succeed is very inspiring.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

22 people found this review helpful

Opportunity Fund is a warm approachable lender that helps you realize your dreams and potential. With them, it didn’t feel as if there was this gatekeeper saying, ‘You can’t have, and you can’t succeed.'

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

For a small business owner like myself, it is crucial that we are able to access the kind of business advice and support that Opportunity Fund provides. We need to know how to be most effective with the loan that we got and run our business in a professional matter – that’s how we can make our business a success.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Ways to make it better...

I knew all the things I learned from Opportunity Fund's business advisor before I started my business!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Vintage Sweets

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

23 people found this review helpful

I personally do not know where to begin about LCD, now called Opportunity Fund. Where do you start to explain how a company can allow you to put your dreams into action, when all you need is a financial boost? They have been more than helpful, proactive, and an honest company. LCD became our family and I cannot thank the staff enough for taking an interest in our events and ACTUALLY coming out to support. Thank you Opportunity Fund! It's about more than money!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

how we are able to conduct business and build relationships with other companies. LCD truly paved the way for us to network and align ourselves with other key businesses and community figures.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

host more events in San Francisco and research to find more feasible ways for artists to TRULY feel safe taking loans to advance their careers.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

working WITH LCD on our events and allowing them to participate and provide financial insight to Independent artists in the Bay Area.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

genuinely interested in helping the community - no matter what color, orientation, gender OR neighborhood.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

TRULY provide not only loans, but grants to those who really need the funds AND afford a better outreach plan of action.

Ways to make it better...

my schedule worked better with the workshops they have planned in the city.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

1. outreach to the greater Bay Area (only thing I can think of b/c once you know about them and meet the staff, you are hooked!)

One thing I'd also say is that...

this organization is one of the best I've fun across and I can only hope my company's passion for what we do is felt as much as theirs.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-4-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

25 people found this review helpful

Opportunity Fund (then known as Lenders for Community Development) not only mentored me through the loan qualification process to purchase my small business, but also helped me secure a line of credit with a traditional bank. As I succeeded and stumbled in my first few years, they provide legal resources, education, and helped me start a savings program for my future.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the community that forms amongst the clients.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

clever, energetic, and caring.

Ways to make it better...

I had taken advantage of all the resources available to me when my business was struggling.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the disbelief/ lack of knowledge amongst small businesses or solo-entrepreneurs that this kind of help is available to them.

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-7-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

15 people found this review helpful

Having volunteered with Opportunity Fund for a year, I can attest to the difference that it really makes in the lives of Bay Area residents. The Bay Area is one of the most expensive areas to live in the US, and Opportunity Fund is extremely helpful to lower income residents. However, it is not just helpful in that it provides loans - it also provides financial education and helps people save money for bigger investments, something they might not be able to do on their own. I volunteered at an Opportunity Fund evening benefit where guests included partners and IDA clients. Everyone seemed so committed to building a community.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the significant number of people who have been able to turn their lives around in a very real way.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

court big donors

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting all the people who make it happen

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

gregarious and charming, always willing to help or explain something about the organization and really believed in what they were doing.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

make an even bigger impact upon the number of low income families able to live with dignity and self sufficiency.

Ways to make it better...

I had known a little more about the organization before volunteering

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

getting the word out about how it works

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-7-01

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