Social entrepreneur Stephen Garten ’04 was the second guest in the Alumni Association’s “Conversation With” webinar series featuring notable alumni. The December 2 conversation was led by seasoned podcast host Zack Garber ’06.
After reflecting on his favorite McDonogh memories and impactful moments, Garten described his journey from studying at Washington University in St. Louis to starting his own company in Austin, TX. Recognizing an inequity in financial accessibility for nonprofits, he set out to offer a solution by creating Charity Charge, a “business” credit card designed specifically for nonprofits. Today, the company works with national organizations with up to $100 million in revenue, including United Way and YMCA chapters. Charity Charge also offers consumer credit cards that automatically donate one percent of all purchases to a nonprofit of the individual’s choice.
Garten thanked the McDonogh community for helping him get started and acknowledged that he wouldn’t have been able to succeed without the valuable network. He also shared a nugget of advice with attendees saying, “Follow your passion and put your time and energy into activities you really enjoy. If you are starting a company, make sure you are solving some sort of problem. Once you determine the need and have an idea, get feedback, and see how it sticks.”
Watch the Conversation With Stephen Garten '04.