Tag Archives: impact

A small change makes a big impact

A small change makes a big impact

By Annette Vasquez

Annette is a Beneficial Banker at Beneficial State Bank based in Visalia, CA.

Every year, people from around the world come together to participate in a challenge that is not only fun, but also beneficial to themselves, their communities and our planet. The Northwest Earth Institute’s EcoChallenge invites you to set personal sustainability and wellness goals that often lie outside of your comfort zone—and to stick with those goals for two weeks. It may sound impossible to change your behavior at the drop of a hat, or it may sound like one small change from one person just won’t make a difference! However, each action is tallied on a platform that the NorthWest Earth Institute provides for participants, and when everything is added up, it’s clear how big of a difference each person has made. There is nothing better than sitting back and being genuinely being proud of your impact—which is why Beneficial State participates in the EcoChallenge.

Congratulations to this year’s Beneficial State EcoChallenge winners: Bethany, Jackie, and Amanda!

We asked our winners to share a few thoughts about how the EcoChallenge inspired them to make a well-being change:

Jackie Alcantar (Porterville, CA)
“I was born and raised in San Jose, CA. I moved to Porterville in September of 2016, and started to work with Beneficial State Bank in November of 2016 as a Legal Collection Department Representative. Beneficial State is an organization that encourages its employees to be ‘beneficial’ to their community and the earth. My own values align with the organization’s passion for environmental sustainability, and this year’s EcoChallenge inspired me to plant an herb garden. I was also encouraged to come out of my shell when I set a goal to chat with new colleagues and share ecofriendly tips. I felt proud to show my love for our planet and the people around me by participating in this fun workplace challenge!”

Amanda Wingfield (Porterville, CA)
“I was born and raised in the Central Valley, and I currently work in Beneficial State Bank’s Legal Collection Department. My hardest challenge was trying a new method of food preparation. As for my favorite result from the EcoChallenge—I now have a variety of plants in my kitchen! I was also able to involve my children in the goals I set for myself, which gave them the chance to learn more about the importance of environmental sustainability. This was a great introduction. I am planning on teaching my kids about other ways we can nurture our environment.”

Bethany Ambrosini (Porterville, CA)
“I was born and raised in the Central Valley. Due to the lack of water resources in this area, I focused on challenges that would help conserve water. I graduated from Fresno State with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and option marketing. I have worked in the banking industry for more than twenty years, and the majority of those years were with Finance and Thrift Company. Currently, I work as a supervisor in Beneficial State Bank’s Legal Collection Department. I am married with two kids, and I enjoy going to the coast or Lake Tahoe in my free time.”

Beneficial State’s Team Impact for the 2017 EcoChallenge: up to 1,216 pounds of CO2 saved; up to 1,625 gallons of water saved; and up to 1,915 minutes spent outdoors

Overall, Beneficial State’s EcoChallenge team saved up to 350,265 gallons of water and prevented roughly 29,305 plastic bottles and cups from being sent to the landfill. We collectively spent roughly 268,886 more minutes outdoors than usual, and spent about 453,143 more minutes exercising!

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s EcoChallenge! I challenge everyone to keep up the good work, and to join us for next year’s challenge. Whether you’re thinking of bringing the EcoChallenge into a classroom, the workplace, or even your home—it’s a great way to see just how easily you can help decrease your carbon footprint and establish healthy habits.

To learn more about how you can join next year’s EcoChallenge, visit: https://EcoChallenge.org/

This blog post reflects the author’s personal views and opinions, and does not represent the views and opinions of Beneficial State Bank and/or Beneficial State Foundation.

5 ways to go back to school with social entrepreneurship

5 ways to go back to school with social entrepreneurship

By Kate Rood | LinkedIn

Kate is Beneficial State Foundation’s Community Engagement Officer based in Portland, OR.

It’s been three years since I turned in my last final for the MBA program at Portland State University. Enough time has passed that back to school season this year is making me long for the structure of homework and the camaraderie of classmates. The more I work on movement building to align our financial systems with triple-bottom-line business models, the more I want to learn about social entrepreneurship in action around the world. I think movement building benefits from an attitude of lifelong learning, of always going back to school in some way. Whatever social, economic or environmental justice issue you’re committed to serving, I invite you to join me in starting a brainstorm list or a doodle in your notebook and setting new goals for learning about the dynamic field of social impact business.

Here are 5 ideas for how to “go back to school” with social entrepreneurship and resources to explore.


Oakland Indie Awards Vendor

A better bank is possible

A better bank is possible

“The power of storytelling is exactly this: to bridge the gaps where everything else has crumbled.” – Paulo Coelho

For the past ten years, Beneficial State has shown that a different type of bank—a beneficial bank—is possible. Our bank, through its unique model, produces meaningful social justice and environmental impacts, while remaining financially sustainable.

With $640 million in loans out in the community and more than 200 employees across three states, our efforts to share the impact of Beneficial Banking on our communities and planet are gaining traction–the Beneficial Banking movement is growing thanks to you who are aligning your money with your values and demanding better from the financial institutions intended to serve you. Collectively, we will transform the banking system to one that not only works for everyone, but to one that actually creates a just and inclusive society for all.

Collectively, we will transform the banking system to one that not only works for everyone, but to one that actually creates a just and inclusive society for all.

So, what separates Beneficial State from other banks?

For one, our triple bottom line, which doesn’t require our banks’ interests to be at odds with those of our customers–we’re working in collaboration with our customers and allies to heal our communities and our planet. Like Chapter 510, a youth literacy center in Oakland. And Patty Pan Cooperative, a worker-owned co-op farmer’s market stall and food catering service.  And Kirsop Farm, which grows and sells organic produce contributing to western Washington’s local food security and cultural identity.

For another, the bank’s economic interest is owned by a nonprofit foundation (Beneficial State Foundation), so we have zero private shareholders who might seek to maximize profit at the expense of our communities and planet.

And there’s our lending practice: we commit at least 75% of our loans to the new economy – and the remainder cannot work against our mission. And we’re totally transparency. You can read all about our lending and business practices here.

How do alternative bank models like this affect social change? What will it take to change the banking system for good? How can businesses and financial institutions work together to build an economy that is inclusive and equitable for all? In what ways can innovative financial products and services be used to combat social inequalities? What does “business for good” even mean?! These are just a few of the questions we’ll explore in our blog.

We invite you to join the conversation and share your thoughts as we highlight innovative solutions, share stories about social changemakers, and pose questions that will encourage you to think about the power of your dollars and how you can leverage that power to build a better world.

Jhana Valentine

Program Director
Clean Vehicle Financing Assistance Pilot Program

Originally from Iowa, Jhana spent the last five years in Portland, Oregon pursuing a degree in environmental studies from Lewis & Clark College. Both personally and professionally, Jhana is passionate about community development through sustainable business practices.