Author: Kelsea McDonough

Meet the Adelante Advisory Council


This group of passionate MAF advocates is fundraising and friendraising for justice

At the end of 2016, an exciting group formed at MAF: the Adelante Advisory Council (AAC) is MAF’s first-ever committee devoted exclusively to leveraging the best of fundraising and marketing resources to garner support for MAF’s programs and, more importantly, to raise awareness about the issues facing people living in the financial shadows.

The seven members of the AAC are passionate Bay Area professionals, each of whom brings a unique set of skills and expertise. They are united by their shared belief that everyone deserves a fair shot at financial freedom. AAC members collaborate with the MAF team to support fundraising initiatives, provide strategic advice, and serve as ambassadors for MAF’s work and mission.

Please join us in welcoming the Adelante Advisory Council to the MAF family! If you’re interested in becoming a member of the AAC, please reach out to kelsea@missionassetfund.org. We’d love to hear from you.

Read on to get to know a few of these new MAF ambassadors and learn why they joined the AAC.

Sally Rothman – Director of Operations at Wanelo

“I joined MAF because I believe that everyone deserves equal financial opportunity. Certain communities, particularly low-income and immigrant families, are currently excluded from the financial marketplace. The work that MAF does is crucial to building opportunity and an even playing field for all.”

Jessica Leggett – CEO of Seven & Gold LLC

“I’m hoping to help spread the news about the incredible work MAF is doing and grow our supporters so we can expand and deepen our impact.”

Cyana Chilton, Equity Investment Analyst at Capital Group

“I joined because I am inspired by MAF’s work and I’d like to participate in making our financial system more inclusive.”

Peter Meredith – Marketing & Fundraising Consultant

“I believe that innovation is essential in creating a more just world. I look forward to helping MAF build its base of support so it can expand its pioneering work.”

Dave Krimm – President of Noe Valley Advisors

“I joined MAF because I’m passionate about the positive impact that microloans can make for low- and middle-income families and individuals, particularly in immigrant communities. I joined the AAC to help broaden and strengthen MAF’s outreach to individual donors, and shape our communications at a time when low-income and immigrant communities are under extraordinary pressure. Now more than ever, MAF’s financial services can be a critical resource.”

Many thanks to all of our Adelante Advisory Council members. Special thanks to Sally Rothman for contributing content to this article.

Champion Spotlight: Meet Gaby Zamudio


She’s a bilingual UI developer and ping pong pro who’s passionate about using tech for good.

Meet Gaby Zamudio, a bilingual developer specializing in UI and an all-around positive, people person who’s always looking for opportunities to use her tech skills to support local nonprofits. Gaby is the Co-Founder of Meraki Creative, a community for women entrepreneurs and a former developer at Thoughtworks. Since 2016, she’s been a member of MAF’s Technology Advisory Council (TAC), a group of professionals from leading Bay Area tech companies who provide leadership, advice, and counsel to help MAF use technology to best meet the financial needs of low-income consumers.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Gaby and learn more about what drives her to support MAF.

MAF: Tell us about yourself. Hobbies, interests, passions?

GZ: I’m trained as a UI developer and designer and I love finding creative ways to display data and information. I recently had the opportunity to serve as an instructional assistant in a front-end development course at General Assembly here in San Francisco.

A fun fact that most people don’t know about me is that I played table tennis (a.k.a. ping pong) growing up, and had the chance to represent my region at competitions. Usually I was the only woman participating, which prepared me for the tech industry, where I often have a similar experience.

MAF: What issues spur you to action?

GZ: First, social justice has always been important to me. I was raised during a period of internal conflict in Peru when there were two powerful terrorist parties, so it was a dangerous time. Many people disappeared. My mom worked for a human rights organization and my dad was a sociologist and activist. My mom put so much into her work. As a child, I remember wishing I could see her more, and then opening my heart to realize that maybe other people needed my mom more than me. I felt conflicted because unlike many others, I had food and a safe place to sleep. But I so easily could have been in their position. This experience shaped my commitment to creating a more socially and economically just world.

Second, I care deeply about immigrant rights. I moved to the U.S. from Peru by myself at age 19, so I can relate to the experience of immigrants in this country.

Finally, I’m passionate about the environment. Growing up in a mining town, I’ve seen how these industries contaminate our communities. If we don’t protect our environment, we won’t be able to make progress on other issues like social justice and education.

MAF: What made you want to get involved with MAF?

GZ: I first heard about MAF through a friend who had participated in a Lending Circle, and I immediately recognized the practice. In Peru, many people participate in panderos to save money for big purchases while being accountable to a group. I love how MAF connects the practice of saving in a group with credit-building and financial education.

When I moved to the U.S. by myself, the financial system here was completely new to me. I didn’t know what credit was.

When I started college, it was confusing to navigate the student loan process. I could have easily taken out more loans than I needed and gotten myself into a hole I couldn’t get out of. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. But my experience taught me that everyone – not just immigrants – can benefit from more information and tools to navigate the financial system.

A few years after first learning of MAF, a friend suggested I look into MAF’s new Technology Advisory Council (TAC). Nonprofits don’t usually have the same resources for tech that for-profit companies do, and I’m honored to use my technical expertise to add to MAF’s tech capacity and help create a bigger impact.

MAF: Why do you invest your time and skills in the work we do together?

GZ: For me, it’s about empowering people. At the first TAC meeting, I had the chance to meet Luis, who now owns D’maize, a Salvadoran restaurant in San Francisco. A loan from MAF enabled him and his wife to build credit scores and then access bigger loans to grow their business. They eventually hired staff from their community, and now they give back by donating catering for their son’s events.

I hope to be a granito de arena (grain of sand) supporting this amazing ripple effect.

MAF: What are you looking forward to in our work together in the next few months?

GZ: I’m looking forward to supporting the development of the Lending Circles App and seeing the final version once it’s ready. I feel proud to have helped shaped the design of this one-of-a-kind app. I hope the MAF team feels just as proud! I’m also excited to reflect on what we’ve learned from this process as we move forward with more tech products.

FinTech pros and consumer advocates


Meet MAF’s four passionate new members of the Board of Directors: Alex, Cara, Lissa, and Sagar

MAF is thrilled to welcome four new members to our Board of Directors! They bring rich experience in law, financial tech, consumer advocacy, and business. Read on to learn more about these inspiring leaders and what motivates the work they do.

Meet Alexandra

Before joining her current law firm as a Financial Services Partner and lead of the FinTech team, Alexandra worked as Senior Counsel in the CFPB’s Office of Law and Policy.

Alexandra learned about the power of informal lending practices at an early age while growing up in Monterrey, Mexico.

Her grandmother, a landlord, used to organize tandas to help tenants afford rent and other expenses.

Alexandra remembers witnessing firsthand how the capital from tandas helped people cover medical bills, car repairs, and other unexpected expenses. She’s eager to bring her legal training, experience in consumer protection, and deep personal connection to fair lending to her role with MAF.

Meet Cara

As a corporate attorney for Dropbox, Cara brings valuable experience in the legal, finance, and tech spheres to her role as a Board Member. Before Dropbox, she held the role of Vice President & Counsel at BlackRock, where she specialized in alternative investment vehicles and provided advice on legal, regulatory, and general corporate matters.

Cara has an inspiring track record of leveraging her skills and expertise in the interest of justice.

Since becoming an attorney, she has provided pro bono immigration legal services to many of the same communities that are part of MAF’s Lending Circles network.

When asked what drew her to MAF, she shared, “What I see in MAF excites me deeply: an organization that has already found a sustainable, elegant, and effective way to foster financial inclusion of communities most in need.”

Meet Lissa

With 12 rich years of experience as a management consultant at McKinsey, Lissa is passionate about all things teams: cultivating and retaining talent, adapting to change, and building a purposeful culture. As Co-leader of McKinsey’s OrgSolutions, which provides clients with innovative design technology and advanced analytics to help them make the best decisions for their organizations.

Lissa shares that she’s long been dedicated to tackling income and asset inequality at its roots.

Over the past year, she’s found herself growing ever more passionate about defending the idea of an inclusive America.

She sees great potential in MAF’s Lending Circles model, which she describes as “both powerful and powerfully simple.”

Meet Sagar

A seasoned tech and finance professional with a passion for social justice, Sagar currently directs Strategy and Operations at Salesforce. In addition to his tech savvy, he brings valuable experience as a former member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters leadership board in Chicago.

His passion for financial inclusion stems from his family’s immigration story.

When his parents came to the U.S. from India, they had little savings and no credit history, and they struggled to make ends meet.

It was the generous help of family friends that helped them get on their feet and begin to build a future for themselves. Sagar knows that a strong social network can make or break someone’s ability to thrive, and he sees his role with MAF as an opportunity to build that network for others.

We’re delighted to welcome Alexandra, Cara, Lissa, and Sagar to MAF’s board!

We’re grateful to them for lending their skills and talents to help us take our work to the next level. ¡Adelante!

Champion spotlight: meet Jessica Leggett


She’s a MAF donor and Board Member who brings passion and creativity to everything she does.

Follow our Champion Spotlight series, where we introduce you to our great Social Investors and honor their actions to support financial empowerment through credit-building.

Meet Jessica Leggett, a skilled and experienced investor and entrepreneur. Originally from Texas, Jessica spent 15 years investing in commercial real estate in New York City while supporting several youth-oriented education organizations in her spare time. When she and her family relocated to the Bay Area two years ago, she combined her passion for service with her career aspirations, founding Seven + Gold LLC, a mission-based investment platform that provides capital and strategic advisory services to early stage companies.

A dedicated donor, Jessica joined the MAF Board of Directors in the summer of 2016. She also serves as the Co-Chair of MAF’s Adelante Advisory Council, a group of Bay Area innovators helping to raise financial support and awareness for MAF.

We had the chance to sit down with Jessica to chat with her about her professional journey and what motivates her to do the work she does.

MAF: Tell us about yourself. Hobbies, interests, passions?

JL: Supporting social impact is a cornerstone for my family, whether it’s volunteering in my son’s preschool class to serving meals to those in need or investing in mission-driven companies. By focusing on social innovation, my goal is to leave a positive legacy for my children and future generations. I also take great satisfaction in the creative arts and design in any form – whether it’s personal endeavors like pottery, home design, or even enjoying beautiful spaces like my local coffee shop! I also love being outside and especially being near water, so I enjoy going on hikes, fly fishing, and boating. The energy and pace of the city have really helped me appreciate the contrast and importance of getting outdoors.

MAF: What issues spur you to action?

JL: For me, it all boils down to creating opportunity for all. I want to help solve systemic issues that create disadvantages for certain communities. Within that construct, I’ve focused on a few major issues. First, economic inclusion: making sure that everyone has access to opportunities to live a good life and a safety net for the inevitable bumps in the road. Second, education: making sure every child has access to age-appropriate curricula and appropriately resourced learning environments. Many areas within our communities are severely resource-constrained, putting children at a disadvantage. Third, the environment: minimizing our impact on natural resources and identifying ways we can take responsibility and be accountable for improving our world.

MAF: What made you want to get involved with MAF?

JL: Shortly after my family moved to San Francisco, I spoke with MAF’s executive team at a Tipping Point Community board match event. A goal of mine was to join the board of a small but impactful organization, with potential to grow and serve clients across the country. I was really drawn to the organization’s focus on creating system-wide change with broad scalability. I was attracted to MAF’s national reach and scalable approach, and appreciated the professionalism of MAF’s staff and the data-driven approach to creating social impact. Joining the board was a perfect fit!

MAF: What are you looking forward to in your work with MAF in the next few months?

JL: I am excited to see how MAF continues to address the ever-changing needs of its constituents, like developing innovative products to address the current crisis facing the immigrant community.

I can’t wait to see MAF continue to challenge the status quo and create broader and deeper impact. I am really proud to be part of this terrific organization.

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