Financial Pride through Lending Circles

Find out how MAF & the San Francisco LGBT center have allied themselves to help all families gain financial stability to thrive.

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The San Francisco LGBT Center, as part of it’s 7th annual bi-coastal LGBT Economic Justice Week, awarded three exemplary community members and one community organization for their work in ensuring the economic stability, and mobility of the LGBT community.

MAF was honored to be chosen as the winner of this year’s Ally Award.

MAF has been talked about a lot lately. We’ve been recognized by various groups in many ways for the work that we do. The national recognition has been tremendous, but accepting the Ally Award at the LGBT Center on behalf of MAF was a particularly special moment for me.

IMG_7181Bank of the West representative Justin Knepper presented the award with the following introduction, “The partnership between MAF and the Center has served as a crucial resource for the local LGBTQ community, granting clients access to secure, affordable and socially responsible capital – opening doors that previously were far too often slammed shut. Participation in a MAF-powered Lending Circle at the LGBT Center has helped more than 150 clients to save money, develop their credit histories, boost their credit scores, and improve their overall financial health.”

For seven years the San Francisco LGBT Center has been creating visibility around the financial shadows that many LGBT people find themselves in.

In San Francisco alone less than 50% of economically stable LGBT couples own property. LGBT youth are twice as likely as their peers to find themselves homeless or in a state of economic uncertainty. We’ve worked with many LGBT couples who have been living in the financial shadows. I shared the story of Edgar and Gustavo, a couple who experience financial instability because they are undocumented and LGBT.

For me, standing on this stage with Celve Jones, Miss Major, and Dr. Kortney Zeigler, people who have fought hard for their communities, and have become icons of movement building and empowerment is an honor. Just being mentioned with these amazing community leaders is a testament to how Lending Circles are building bridges toward brighter futures for communities across the nation.

MAF will continue to work closely with the LGBT Center, to be an ally to all families, no matter what form they take. MAF will continue to bring our voice to highlight the issues of financial invisibility and uncertainty among the LGBT community. MAF will continue to help all communities out of the financial shadows and create pathways toward the financial mainstream.

We want to help everyone move past just surviving, we want to see them thrive. The stronger our families are, the stronger our communities become.


Mohan Kanungo is the Director of Engagement at Mission Asset Fund. Mohan joined MAF in 2013 to lead programs that financially empower youth. Since then, his role has expanded to explore potential partners for MAF’s social-loan programs. Outside of work Mohan likes to frolic with his various pets, engage with community groups, and stroll around Oakland.