Sandy Bower is the Founder of both Empire Pays, a credit card processing company and Vets Returning Home, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Sandy is also a proud lifetime Michigan resident. Beginning her “adult” life at only 14 she found herself homeless and a teenage mother at 15; Sandy knew she would have to work harder than most people to get ahead and raise her family. She developed respected community relationships with her strong work ethic, trustworthiness, and integrity. She has an almost 30-year history as a successful businesswoman in the credit card processing industry. Her desire to bring rectitude to the credit card processing industry prompted Ms. Bower to create her own company, Empire Pays (formerly EC Metro) in 1999.
After many years of hard work and dedication, Empire Pays is a highly respected company that prides itself on its fair, ethical, and competitive credit card processing program. In 2013, since most of Empire's staff had been with the company since inception, Sandy knew she was leaving the company in good hands and decided to semi-retire in order to fulfill her philanthropic cause. Knowing her heart would lead to the homeless, her research led her to the plight of the veterans. More specifically, veterans in crisis - those facing homelessness.
As a direct result of the success with Empire Pays, Ms. Bower founded and is the full time Volunteer Program Director at Vets Returning Home in Roseville, MI. After finding that there are over 50,000 homeless veterans in Michigan alone, most of them not receiving the benefits available due to the 2 year wait list, in addition to many others that are disadvantaged, disabled and/or homeless; Sandy just knew she had to do something that would make a difference.
Sandy cashed in her retirement fund, purchased an 11,000 sq. ft. facility that was formerly used by the Red Cross (which now houses 43 beds, including a commercial kitchen) and she got to work building Vets Returning Home from the ground up. Sandy solely funded the organization for the first year. Once the organization established its 501(c)3 status, she was able to receive donations and sponsorships from the generous community as well as implementing several fundraising campaigns a year.
Due to the bureaucracy involved, Vets Returning Home has never nor do they ever plan to receive government funding! The organization is funded purely by donations, sponsorships and fundraising by the community.
Although Sandy redirected her efforts into building Vets Returning Home, she continues to be a vital member of Empire Pays.