OpptToGive, or Here’s Why We Just Donated to Three of Our Employees’ Favorite Charities!

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At OppLoans, giving back to our employees means giving back to their favorite causes.

When someone asks what it means for OppLoans to be a “socially responsible lender,” there are a lot of different answers we could give.

We could talk about how we’re lending to folks who are locked out from traditional bank loans due to poor or thin credit histories.

We can point them towards our lower APRs and more generous payments that help people avoid predatory payday lenders and their awful debt cycles.

We can even talk about how we report payment information to the credit bureaus—which means that our loans can help customers improve their credit scores over time.

But social responsibility is about more than just our loan products. It’s also about who we are as a company. Not only do we treat our customers to a world-class customer service experience, but we also seek to make a positive impact in the lives of our employees and the communities surrounding us…

So we decided to do more

That’s why we started OpptToGive.

It’s a program that enables our employees to vote quarterly for their peers who regularly go above and beyond in service of our company-wide commitment to social responsibility.

The winners for this first OpptToGive award were our Director of Training Temeka Cartwright, Office Manager Katie Cochran, and Loans Supervisor Jesse Wright.

Once the winners were announced–to thunderous applause from their fellow employees–each  winner was asked to select a favorite charity to receive a $1,000 donation.

Meet the charities!

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Katie selected The Pat Tillman Foundation (@pattillmanfnd), which invests in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships—building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others.

“The Pat Tillman Foundation supports our nation’s active-duty service members, veterans, and their spouses with academic scholarships and programmatic support,” says Ethan Armstrong, Development Manager for the foundation.

“Every donation allows PTF the opportunity to continually put its Tillman Scholars in a position to succeed. Donations like this one from OppLoans make a real difference.”

Katie has been working with The Pat Tillman Foundation since 2006. “They are essentially partners with Arizona State University, my alma mater where I played soccer for four years,” she says. “Pat Tillman was an all-American football player for ASU so there are ties to both entities for me.”

“I have been very active in ASU Alumni Chapters throughout the US which includes participating in Pat’s Run every year and organizing Pat’s Run Shadow Runs in three different states (Chicago, Washington DC, and Savannah, GA),” says Katie. “I have been running in, volunteering for, and/or organizing Pat’s Run since 2006. I also participate in other Pat Tillman Foundation events throughout the year.”

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Temeka chose Order of the Eastern Star Nee-Ah Chapter #875, a non-profit organization that gives back to the less fortunate and assists in communities through fundraisers and donations.

Temeka also has personal connection her charity, Nee-Ah Chapter #875. In fact, she helped to found it!

“I believe in giving back to my community and helping those that are less fortunate than myself and Nee-Ah Chapter #875 is the vehicle of Purpose,” she says.

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Jesse chose non-profit Young at Heart Senior Pet Adoptions (@youngatheartpet), which finds loving homes for adoptable senior pets and offers a peaceful sanctuary life for those that are less adoptable.

“Young at Heart is very excited to have been selected as one of the three charities benefiting from OppLoans’ OpptToGive program,” said Executive Director Dawn Kemper.

“As an animal rescue specializing in helping senior pets, donations like these allow us to provide much-needed veterinary care, food, and medication to older dogs and cats that are in need of a new home in their golden years.”

We have the best employees. Really.

“OpptToGive is another example of our socially responsible principles in action,” says Jared Kaplan, CEO of OppLoans. “We’re the fastest growing online lender to the subprime consumer and while we do offer a stronger, lower cost, and more flexible product, the true driver of our success is our staff and the relationships they build with our customers.”

According to Temeka, she’s not sure why she won, “but I am honored that so many of my coworkers thought so much of me to write a nomination.”

(We can tell you why Temeka won: Because she’s freaking awesome.)

“I am truly flattered and honored. OppLoans has a very beautiful and unique culture that OpptToGive highlights,” says Temeka. “We are all individuals working to reach individual, departmental, and company goals. And it’s great to know that while we are all working so hard we still have time to recognize our fellow co-workers.”

Katie says that she loves how “OppToGive allows people to really support each other and puts a smile on so many faces around the office Not just the winners.”

“I also love that it is such a positive outlet for people to say something great about their coworkers that they might not otherwise communicate.”

A gift we’ll keep on giving

These may be our first OpptToGive donations, but there are going to be many more in the future. We’ll be handing out the award four times a year—with every recipient getting $1,000 towards the charity of their choice.

“OpptToGive is an opportunity to reward those peer-selected high performers and give to their charities of choice. It’s a perfect illustration of our company, our culture and our character. We look forward to making similar gifts every quarter,” says Kaplan.

Kemper adds: “As a nonprofit operating solely on the generosity of pet lovers, Young at Heart is so grateful to be awarded such a wonderful donation.”

Keep your eyes peeled for more OpptToGive announcements in the near future—and give us a follow on Twitter at @OppLoans for all the latest and breakingest company news.

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