It was one of those small-world/Westport moments.
Years ago Jeff Manchester met Mehmet Sezgin, a potential banking partner, in Istanbul.
They discovered a connection: Jeff graduated from Staples High School in 1985, Five years earlier, Mehmet was a Turkish exchange student there.
Jeff moved back to Westport several years ago. Mehmet is now in Miami. But they’re collaborating on a project with global implications. It’s a way for American credit card users to raise money to help Ukraine, through purchases at 20,000 retailers and restaurants — including several here in town. It aids Ukrainian merchants too.
Jeff has over 25 years experience in the “payments space,” as an executive vice president and the leader of card programs at GE Money. He’s now in charge of business development at myGini. The company that helps banks and financial institutions provide loyalty programs and personalized promotions to customers.
When a consumer downloads the Worthy app on their phone, and enrolls their Mastercard or Visa credit or debit cards, whenever they dine or shop at a participating merchant, they get cash back — and cash will be sent to UNICEF for Ukrainian children too.
For example, one Westport merchant — Iganzio’s — offers 4% cash back: 2% to the purchaser, 2% to the charity.
Other Westport participants include
- Pane e Bene
- Rye Ridge Deli
- Shake Shack
- Via Sforza
- Village Bagels
- Vineyard Vines
In addition, for any Ukrainian-owned small business in the US that joins myGini’s network to offer cash back to American cardholders, myGini will waive set-up and marketing fees. myGini will also match that merchant’s total amount given as cash back to consumers, and donate it to UNICEF USA.
It’s a win-win-win: for consumers, merchants, and (especially) Ukrainian children.
Thanks to Jeff Manchester and fellow Staples alum Mehmet Sezgin, myGini is pure genius.