IN 2013, THE NEW online lending company LightStream was looking for a way to do good in the world that also felt like part of the company’s DNA.
LightStream’s loans were already paperless, which had a direct positive impact on trees and forests. But the company wanted to pour more energy and resources into forest conservation and decided to partner with American Forests to help restore fire-damaged wilderness areas by donating a tree for every loan it funded.
“The idea was to find a partner or cause that would allow us to give back in a greater way that was related to our story,” says Kristin Shuff, LightStream’s senior vice president of marketing. “What better way to give back than to do even more to support trees.”
What began as a focus on post-wildfire recovery in Montana has blossomed over eight years into a robust long-term slate of coast-to-coast projects, from restoring degraded watersheds in California, to supporting urban tree planting efforts in Miami and Houston, to helping educate the public about the value of trees.
And soon, the company expects to celebrate a major milestone — 1 million trees.
“It is an incredible accomplishment to have supported the restoration of so many essential forests,” says Jad Daley, president and chief executive officer of American Forests. “With projects in 23 states, LightStream has helped bring back to life forests that we rely on to purify our air and water, slow climate change and provide habitat for wildlife and recreational areas for people.”
Each time LightStream funds a loan, the company sends its customers a notification that a tree has been planted on their behalf.
“Our American Forests partnership is a reflection of LightStream’s culture and purpose,” Shuff says. “Supporting the environmental and educational efforts of American Forests fits closely with the values we support for our company, our teammates and our customers.”