by LINDA FRABL | photos by Spark Photography

A Giving Entrepreneur

faces_vanheel1Renee VanHeel, a local businesswoman with a charitable disposition, has exhibited entrepreneurial skills ever since she was a young girl growing up in Minnesota. By the time she was 18 she had inherited her dad’s flailing costume jewelry business and, 20 years later, she was the sales manager for its showrooms all across the country. She recalled, “I was raised in a family business so I have been self-employed my entire life. I knew at age 10 that I would own my own business!”

Now Renee is the founder and president of Pay it Forward Processing, a credit card processing company, and its corresponding Every Swipe Benefits Charity. Her company enables businesses to easily deposit their net proceeds directly into their chosen charities without paying extra processing costs. Renee exclaimed, “In just two years we have donated over $100,000 to carefully vetted nonprofits such as the ALS Association, the American Institute for Cancer Research, and the Boys & Girls Club, to name a few.”


Name: Renee VanHeel
Profession: Founder and President of Pay it Forward Processing and Every Swipe Benefits Charity
Community: Rancho Bernardo – Montelena since 1998
Hobbies: Hanging out with family and friends, hiking, travel
Favorite Local Spots: Rancho Bernardo Inn, Lake Hodges, Cork and Craft, Barrel Room, Discovery Shop


Renee and her husband moved their family to Rancho Bernardo from Minnesota in 1998 because the milder climate was healthier for the eldest of her three sons, who was born with a rare form of arthritis. Renee explained, “The humidity of the Minnesota summers was destroying him. When we reached the calm, sunny Rancho Bernardo weather, I knew this was where he could thrive.”

With firsthand knowledge of the importance of healthy living, Renee also created GCE Health, a health and wellness business that provides corporate wellness programs and individual health coaching. She elaborated, “Knowing how important my health is in correlation to how well I work, I formed GCE Health to coach others toward gaining their optimal health.”

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Always wanting to extend service to others (“I have the polite Midwest hospitality driven into my soul,” Renee laughed), Renee was especially motivated to do her part after the 2007 Rancho Bernardo fires destroyed her home. Renee and her fellow RB residents established Fired Up Sisters, an organization that helps other fire survivors recover physiologically and emotionally.

In her free time, Renee loves doing puzzles, traveling to new places, and reading. Grateful for her wonderful Rancho Bernardo surroundings, Renee proclaimed, “Our community is incredible because family-friendly people are always willing to lend a hand.” It sounds like the perfect location for someone as giving as Renee.