Press Release

2019 Chapman Prize Awarded to Opportunity Fund, a Leading Nonprofit Microlender

Prize Comes with a Cash Award of Approximately $90,000

The Council on Foundations and the Daniel and Barbara Chapman Trust today announced Opportunity Fund as the recipient of the 2019 Chapman Prize.

For more than 25 years, Opportunity Fund has served as a trusted partner to small business owners in underserved communities by providing access to capital and fostering a proven path to prosperity through investing in entrepreneurs. In fiscal year 2019, Opportunity Fund provided more than 3,200 loans to hard-working small business owners, investing more than $117 million, which helped create and sustain nearly 10,000 jobs across the country.

As the winner of the Chapman Prize, Opportunity Fund will receive a cash award of approximately $90,000 from the Trust. Virginia natives Colonel Chapman and Mrs. Chapman died in 2011 and 1998, respectively. At his death, Colonel Chapman established the Trust to recognize and honor the efforts and achievements of a charitable individual or organization that has made significant contributions to American society in the prior year.

“In fulfilling the legacy of Colonel and Mrs. Chapman, we are honored to support the work of Opportunity Fund as it impacts lives nationwide and changes the trajectory of underserved communities and underrepresented entrepreneurs,” said Patricia Barron, Principal Vice President at Burke & Herbert Bank, which serves as the trustee of the Trust.

Council on Foundations member, Heising-Simons Foundation, a California-based family foundation nominated Opportunity Fund.   In its nomination submission, Heising-Simons noted, “Opportunity Fund has been committed to the idea that small amounts of capital and the right advice can help enterprising entrepreneurs who lack the resources—but not the resolve—to succeed.”

Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $900 million, and is committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

“Economic inequality is one of the defining challenges of our time. Entrepreneurship provides a meaningful pathway toward economic prosperity and work to ensure equitable access wherever talent and hard work are found,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO of Opportunity Fund. “We are honored and deeply grateful to receive the 2019 Chapman Prize to help advance our mission to create an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrants and minority small business owners.”

Each year, the Chapman Prize focuses on a different theme. This year’s theme centered on economic prosperity. For 2020, educational success is the selected theme, and the Prize will be awarded to a charitable individual or organization who has made significant improvements toward long-term advancements in education. This year, the Council on Foundations served as the administrator of this award.

“The Opportunity Fund is doing great work to spur economic renewal in communities that are often overlooked by traditional lenders,” stated Kathleen Enright, President & CEO, Council on Foundations. “It is our pleasure to serve as a partner in awarding the Chapman Prize to celebrate their great work and honor the legacy of the Daniel and Barbara Chapman Trust.”

As trustee for The Daniel and Barbara Chapman Trust, Burke & Herbert Bank worked with the Beneficiary Selection Panel and is helping to ensure that the Chapman Prize creates the lasting legacy that Daniel and Barbara desired.  Burke & Herbert Bank is a community bank headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, offering a full array of financial products and services.  Trust and estate planning services are provided through Burke & Herbert Trust Services.


About the Council on Foundations
The Council on Foundations exists to help philanthropy be a strong and trusted partner in advancing the common good. Building on our 70-year history, we are charting a course for the field where funders display high integrity, earn and maintain the public's trust and serve as excellent stewards of philanthropic resources. We imagine a world where givers of all kinds are sophisticated and vital players in creating more equitable communities and a better world.

About Opportunity Fund

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $900 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

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