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
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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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.