Stephen Garten is the CEO of Charity Charge, which is based out of Texas. Charity Charge is a Master Card, allowing members to give one (1) percent cashback to the charity of their choice, with the maximum selection being three (3).
Garten’s dream of providing the world with an everyday giving platform, began approximately four (4) years ago.
Charity Charge is associated with Guidestar and Network For Good, which are two (2) of the top premier nonprofit database and donation processing companies, in the United States.
AU: How did you come up with the idea for Charity Charge?
SG: When I signed up for a new credit card four (4) years ago and when it came time for me to redeem my points and cashback, I did not see anything I was wanted.
I did not need more stuff.
I logged off of the bank’s website, feeling frustrated and a little disappointment.
Everything began to click, when I received an email from the nonprofit which I supported that year. The organization was asking for donations, to help with their end of year fundraising budget gap.
Then I thought, what if I had a credit card which would allow me to earn cashback, for that nonprofit.
AU: Did the death of your father, play a role in your decision to create Charity Charge?
SG: My father passed away ten (10) years ago from cancer and his death, most definitely played a role in my decision.
My father was a generous nice guy, who treated everyone he encountered with respect and everyone thought highly of him.
I remember growing up sitting at the dinner table, the phone would ring and he would give. He would tell the representative on the phone, put me down for whatever I gave you last year.
When this idea began to flourish, I thought of what he always said, and that was to “do the right thing.”
This credit card needed to exist.
AU: How are people able to designate to the charity of their choice?
SG: It is quite simple, you can go to our website charitychoice.com, select get the card and then you are taken to the screen where you are able to literally search for any nonprofit, including K – 12 public school, religious organization, college or university by name.
Once a nonprofit is selected, you proceed to the bank application and then through our online dashboard, you may choose or change your selection at any time.
AU: How does it make you feel to know, the company you created is changing lives?
SG: The feeling is incredible. On Tuesday we launched publicly and Fast Company broke the story, on Wednesday the Today Show somehow picked it up and featured us, Thursday Huffington Post wrote a story and Friday Chronicle of Philanthropy put it out.
Right now, Charity Charge is national news in the terms of social entrepreneurship, financial services, credit cards and philanthropy.
It feels so good to know, that the vehicle which I created, is going to be a world tool for everyday giving.
People now have the ability to give, day in and day out.
AU: What do you see in the next year for Charity Charge and what is your ultimate goal?
When I started this company, I was a young entrepreneur, I chased a lot of shiny objects, I got distracted and I was not always the best at prioritizing.
The number one (1) thing that has allowed us to achieve this level of success, is that I am focused on doing the little things right every day.
The big picture is, I see this company as a movement of everyday giving.