How a Shared Focus on Community Brought Kelvin Beachum to Earnin
Earnin is building a better financial system for everyday people, but we know we can’t do that alone. We’re always looking for friends who understand our cause, and today we’d like to introduce one of our newest allies.
After growing up in the small town of Mexia, Texas, Kelvin Beachum went on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern Methodist University. Beachum currently plays professional football as an offensive tackle for the New York Jets and is also a speaker, and philanthropist. We recently spoke with him here at Earnin HQ about how his upbringing and emphasis on community drives his outlook and led to his discovery and support of Earnin.
Earnin: What made you interested in Earnin?
Kelvin Beachum: You know, I had been looking at the fintech (financial technology) space for a while. I was thinking about ways in which communities can be built and communities can be brought together. And there was a guy over at one of Earnin’s investors by the name of Chris Lyons that told me about this company, Earnin. So, I started asking people in Texas, “Have you ever heard of Earnin? Have you ever used it?” and got a quality response. And ultimately, came to a decision where I had conviction in what you all were doing and the community you were building. It was actually equipping people and empowering people, and for me that was impactful.
E: Community is something that’s very ingrained in both what Earnin stands for as well as in our product. What does it mean for you and how have you dedicated yourself to community?
KB: The thing is I realized that God has blessed me with a phenomenal platform to play the game of football, and at any point in time, I could still be in Mexia working on cars. For me to understand that, I need to be able to go and serve. Being able to go and serve at soup kitchens and being able to do food distributions are one thing. Being able to go and tell young people about the impact of STEM or STEAM education, science, technology, engineering, and math, and being able to equip them with some of the tools to be ready to come into this tech ecosystem that’s really just booming right now, I find that’s important to me. So for me the service aspect, the community building, that’s something that I’m going to do regardless if I’m playing football or not. I want to do it for as long as I can because I realize how important that is to so many people.
E: It sounds like hunger is one of the most important causes for you. Can you share a little about why you focus on that area?
KB: We grew up on, they call it food insecurity now, but we grew up poor. That's just what it was back in Mexia, and in the rural environments you really just don't have the access [to fresh food]. Everything is fried. I mean it's Jim's Crispy Fried Chicken. That's the only restaurant in the city, other than McDonald's and Whataburger. So, it's seeing that that was a life that I was exposed to, and now it's interesting to see how things have changed for me, and to be able to impact people with the opportunity to have fresh vegetables. I think Ram (Earnin CEO) talked about this earlier. He talked about that we spend more on overdraft fees than we spend on fresh vegetables. When you think about the hunger epidemic that's not only happening here but around the world, that's unreal. And we waste so much food, as well. So many things that are somewhat broken, and I'd rather be a part of the solution than just talking about the problem.
E: You came from a small town. How does that impact your worldview?
KB: I think it gives me a different context because I came from Middle America, so when I hear companies that are talking about impacting Middle America, that gets me excited. When you think about Earnin and what you all have done, you’re impacting Middle America. There’s people in Mexia, Texas that can use this product. There’s people in Nebraska, there’s people in North Dakota, there’s people in the Midwest that can use this product. When I find companies that have the ability to, yes, be able to win on the coast, but also win in the middle of the country, I’m fascinated by those things.
E: I have a quick question before you go. You can plead the fifth if you don’t want to answer. Warriors or Raptors?
KB: Raptors! I’m a Kawhi Leonard fan. I told y’all I’m from Texas, I love the Spurs. Love the Spurs, so I hated to see Kawhi go, but I was so happy to see him beat down on y’all boys.
Even if we disagree on basketball (go Warriors!), we’re glad Mr. Beachum can recognize Earnin’s commitment to building a service that helps average workers. Whether it’s through providing food to the needy, educating the next generation, or helping our friends and neighbors access the money they’ve earned, our shared focus on fellowship brings us together. We’re proud he has our back as we expand the Earnin community and keep fighting for financial fairness.