Hi, I’m Stephen.
Even though my dad, Larry Garten, was a lawyer and lived by precedents, motions and admissible evidence, with me he pretty much only had one rule. His lex una (one law) if you will. “Always do the right thing son.” My father gave to many charities and nearly every outreached hand who asked for his help. In our house growing up, we would joke that when he got a phone call, one of us needed to beat dad to the phone. We knew if someone was calling to ask for a donation, dad just couldn’t say no. He felt he was lucky enough to have the means to give so he always did. My dad passed away from cancer at the age of 53 when I was a sophomore in college, but his message stays with me still.
My dad and me two years before he passed away. He taught me how to live, how to love and the importance of giving back.
You may be wondering what my dad’s giving has to do with Charity Charge? Well, a few years ago, I succumbed to the relentless marketing bombardment and signed up for a credit card with a rewards program. Everyone else seemed to have one. Or four. After a while I noticed quite a few rewards points piling up so I went online to see what treasures I could receive. Maybe a new Keurig, a pair of night vision binoculars or a suitcase. After all, I earned those points and that entitled me to a reward. Thanks to my parents I grew up comfortable but 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 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 used their credit card.
Every year over $16,000,000,000 in credit card rewards points go unused and expire. Doesn’t it seem like they could be put to good use by schools, organizations or charities? That reminds me of my dad’s only other go-to-line: “If you have to ask the question, you already know the answer.”
I know we not only live in a friendly universe but a giving, grateful and thankful one as well.
One of the big credit card companies asks: “What’s in your wallet?”. We prefer the question “What’s in your heart?”.
CEO & Founder