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Michael Samson has been a supporter of Hebrew Free Loan for over 40 years, and he is a founding member of the Hebrew Free Loan Business Circle. “I know how to make money,” Michael says “but what gives me satisfaction is making a difference in people’s lives.”

Michael believes deeply in the model of interest-free lending as a way to build responsibility, self-sufficiency, and obligation. He encouraged his daughter to take out a Hebrew Free Loan when she was attending graduate school, for just that reason.

“Reputation is something you can’t buy,” Michael says, describing the lessons he’s learned over his 78 years. Michael worked his way up the corporate ladder to become Director of Import Operations for a national company, a position he held for many years. He worked with customers like Sears, Gap, and Walmart, among others.

He’s now a private lender who invests in construction and renovation projects in Northern California cities with large immigrant populations.

Michael’s great-grandfather emigrated to the U.S. in the late 19th century, where the extended family slept three to a room in a small house in East Los Angeles. He worked 6 days a week, 10 hours a day, to create a better future for his children. Michael’s parents too worked long hours, saving and investing until they became comfortable in their later years.

Michael enlisted in the Army in 1963, and when he returned to Los Angeles after his service, he expected to work in politics or civil rights. But he was offered a management position that was too lucrative to turn down — earning $625 a month — and his career in business was launched.

“For all America’s problems, whether real or perceived, there is still a lot of opportunity,” Michael says. This is exactly the reason he continues to be involved with Hebrew Free Loan — to ensure that people who are willing to work hard to overcome a challenge or pursue a dream have access to the resources they need to build successful, fulfilled lives.