Starting November 1, donations can be made on the Create Jobs for USA website or at your local Starbucks.
So what is it? The Starbucks Foundation has donated $5 million seed money to get the program started. From there, it will grow based upon donations. This money goes to the OPN to be distributed by member lenders. The process is broken down on their website:
Opportunity Finance Network® is a national network of community lending institutions that invest in opportunities to benefit low-income, low-wealth and other disadvantaged communities in the U.S. OFN’s network of more than 180 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) finances community businesses that often find it challenging to secure financing from conventional financing institutions. Combining innovation and determination, these hand-selected CDFIs are performance-oriented, responsible, and affordable lenders that spark job growth in the areas where it is needed most.
The Starbucks Foundation has donated $5 million seed money to get the program started. From there, it will grow based upon donations. This money will be used to provide loans to "underserved community businesses, which include small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate, and affordable housing."
One local CDFI is the Chicago Community Trust Loan Fund.
CNN Money explains further:
For every $5, the CDFI should be able to lend out $35. According to estimates compiled by Opportunity Finance Network and independent economists, a new job will be created or saved for every $21,000 loaned, or every $3,000 donated.
Because these are loans, as repayments are made, the money can be lent out again, continuing the continuity to funding additional businesses.
Mark Pinsky, who heads up the Opportunity Finance Network, told NPR:
Many banks would shy away from the kinds of loans these community lenders make, and, in fact, their default rate is a bit higher. But, Pinksy says, their performance is laudable given the populations they serve and the risks they take.
"We are profitable institutions. Our lending is profitable, but we are not profit-maximizing," he says. "And in the space between profit and profit-maximizing, there is a lot you can do if you are willing to work with your borrowers [and] give them the help they need to succeed.
"And that is key to what we do."
So what can you do?
- Go to the Create Jobs for USA website to learn more. While you're there, why not make a donation or share your story?
- Go to Starbucks and crab that Pumpkin Spice Latte that's already been calling your name and donate while you're there, too.
- Get involved on Facebook and Twitter.
We all have the ability to create change, even through small moves. Join in!