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Governor Spotlight: Lauren Beard

By Kelli Walker

If you spend any time with Lauren Beard, you’ll find yourself joyfully swept up in her forward-moving, passionate energy. Opportunity International is fortunate to be in Lauren’s purposeful orbit; she is a vocal advocate and generous supporter of creating sustainable change in the lives of people living in poverty. Last October, she raised almost $23,000 to support The Rise, Opportunity’s program to reach women in Malawi.

Growing up, Lauren and her family lived in several different states, including Maryland, California, and Texas; she spent most of her teen years split between Minnesota and Atlanta. After graduating from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, she started her now 13-year career with Cloudmed, an R1 Compnay, which is committed to providing hospitals—and in turn, their patients—with the best and most efficient revenue cycle management and streamlined operations. Lauren currently serves as the regional vice president of client development.

Lauren chose to move to Chicago in 2020, a city she loves, and a place certainly made brighter by her presence. In addition to being an active member of her church and volunteering with GRIP Outreach for Youth, she intentionally sought a nonprofit to support that would align with her personal commitment to Christian values and serving others in a way that is both fiscally sound and dignified.

“What caught my attention about Opportunity that sets it apart from similar organizations is this: the loan is just the beginning. The majority of their strategy and efficacy is fueled by educational resources and accountability support provided on the ground through trained case workers living in these countries. This model empowers each community group member leveraging the loan to create a sustainable business model that pulls their family, and sometimes their entire community, out of poverty.”

Last fall, Lauren organized a 35-mile bike ride through her beloved city of Chicago.

Supporters could sponsor her ride, or join her on the scenic route, including a couple of stops at Chicago locales. Her mother even rode a portion of the journey alongside her from Florida to support from far! She exceeded her goal and raised an astonishing $23,000 to support the women of Malawi. Opportunity’s Graduation program walks with women on their journey from ultra-poverty to sustainable livelihoods for their families. During the two-year program, women are given life-changing assets, training, and support. The heart of the program? The commitment of these women to doing the hard work of transforming their lives. Empowerment creates positive change. Change nourishes hope. It is a virtuous cycle made possible by diverse people around the globe coming together to make a difference.

After her successful “Bike for a Cause” event, Lauren furthered her support by providing helpful fundraising tips she used to reach her goal with Team Opportunity’s runners competing in the New York City Marathon. The newly launched endurance challenge program provides an opportunity to play an active part in ending extreme poverty by taking on extraordinary running, climbing, and hiking events worldwide.

We are deeply grateful for Lauren’s optimism, action, and dedication to serving others. We look forward to cheering on Lauren as she continues to be a humble servant leader and a force for good, reflecting in word and in deed a true heart for others:

"Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity." -Luke 6:38


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