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Living and Giving:

Stories And Causes You Care About

A Credit Card for Buying and Doing Good

By Leo Ramirez Posted on June 17, 2016

by Caitlin O'Dowd

Businesses are often born from unexpected coincidences. No matter what Stephen Garten did, he often heard the words of his father, “Do the right thing.”

He’s tried to make the phrase the mantra for his life, and he was thinking about his dad when he realized there were about $16 billion in credit card reward points going unused annually in America.

Garten signed up for his first credit card with rewards only a few years ago and noticed that redeemable points quickly accumulated. And he didn’t know what to do with them.

Which is why Charity Charge originated.

Garten created a partnership with Commerce Bank and MasterCard to to allow an individual card user to earn 1% cash back and give it to a nonprofit charity of their choice. The card, called Charity Charge, provides all the benefits of a major credit card without additional costs.

“Charity Charge was born not only as my way to give back but to make it incredibly easy for others to do the same each and every time they use their credit card,” said Garten, CEO and Founder of Charity Charge.

Garten’s idea empowers cardholders to earn, donate, and make a positive impact every time they swipe their card. Charity Charge also provides users an online dashboard to track contributions to selected causes.  

“Thanks to my parents I grew up comfortable,” Garten said. “But I never felt entitled to anything. So, while looking for something, anything to redeem my earned points for, I heard my dad’s voice telling me to, ‘Do the right thing, son.’ I knew I needed to take those reward points I thought I deserved and put them to work for someone deserving. Someone in need. That’s when I realized his message to me was about to become my message to the world. ‘Do the right thing.’”

Charity Charge will be hosting it’s launch event next Tuesday, June 21st at 5 p.m. at Lustre Pearl East in Austin, Texas. The company will be celebrating the public release of the Charity Charge World MasterCard. The public is invited.

“One of the big credit card companies asks: ‘What’s in your wallet?’” Garten said. “We prefer the question: ‘What’s in your heart?’”

Check out Charity Charge at https://www.charitycharge.com/about/ to sign up for your card today.


Author: Leo Ramirez

Leo is the co-founder and CEO of Encast, an organization dedicated to improving the way CSR professions create, manage, and measure CSR programs. Leo is passionate about the role that culture plays in business success. Leo has launched and managed social ventures, lead multi-disciplinary teams, and built solid relationships with civic and corporate leaders. His 25-year career has spanned executive management, business development, consulting, nonprofit management, technical support and engineering positions with Southwest Key Programs, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Coremetrics, Trilogy and Apple.

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