When MAF was founded in the Mission District of San Francisco in 2007, the vision was always to grow. MAF’s leadership and supporters saw the potential of taking Lending Circles to communities across the country, to make affordable, safe loans and credit-building opportunities available to as many people as possible.
And oh, how we’ve grown! Since 2007, MAF has grown into a national network of over 50 Lending Circles providers in 17 states (and Washington, D.C.) across the country.
The Lending Circles Summit that took place in October was an opportunity to learn, to share strategies, and, of course, to celebrate. And celebrate we did. Lunchtime on the second day of the Summit was a formal affair: Elena and Mohan, Directors of Partners & Programs, gave out 12 awards to exceptional Lending Circles partners. The prizes: custom-made action figures.
Here are the winners.
The Squad Award: For outstanding commitment to PAC
Some squads are legendary, like The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Squad Award goes to the 7 outstanding members of MAF’s newly formed Partner Advisory Council (PAC) who have pooled their talents and strengths to form an unbeatable squad.
Jorge Blandón (FII), Leisa Boswell (SF LGBT Center), Madeline Cruz (The Resurrection Project), Rob Lajoie (Peninsula Family Services), Gricelda Montes (El Centro De La Raza), Judy Elling Przybilla (Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership) & Alejandro Valenzuela Jr. (CLUES)
The Little Giant Award: For creating huge results with a small team
This partner has proven that big things can come in small packages. This award goes to a partner with a small staff that has worked together exceptionally well to create big results.
Center for Changing Lives (Chicago, IL)
The Wacky Races Award: For creating a culture of fun and humor
This is a partner that understands that the prescription for vibrant relationships is a good laugh. From movie nights to scavenger hunts, this organization remembers to keep it fun. We recognize this partner for cultivating a meaningful culture with roots in humor.
Game Theory Academy (Oakland, CA)
The Batman Award: For soaring high with a 0% default rate
One of the most known and recognized, this partner continues to “spread its wings” with Lending Circles and soar very high with a 0% default rate and over $125k in loan volume.
Fremont Family Resource Center (Fremont, CA)
The Force Awakens Award: For being a force to reckon with
This partner is newer on the scene, but has already proven itself as an adept user of The Force like Finn and Rey. They advocate for their community, ask great questions, and continue taking on new challenges in the spirit of serving their clients.
Hacienda CDC (Portland, OR)
The Thor Award: For demonstrating enduring strength
This provider has flexed its Lending Circles muscles by running three different programs: Lending Circles, Lending Circles for Citizenship, and Lending Circles for Deferred Action.
Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF) (Los Angeles, CA)
The Wonder Woman Award: For exceptional support for women
This heroic provider works with many immigrant women who are establishing economic independence in the US for the first time.
Chinese Community Center (Houston, TX)
The Falcon Award: For elevating the conversation
The Falcon Award goes to a Lending Circles provider that really knows how to speak up and “Tweet!” This award goes to an organization who is actively sharing creative, informative (and bilingual!) content, both about their programs & about relevant news and current events.
Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) (Washington, D.C.)
The Flash Award: For remarkable implementation speed
This relatively new provider has hit the ground running so fast that if you blink, you might miss them! They formed four Lending Circles within their first five months. We’re blown away by this world record for speed and excited to see what more is in store.
Korean Youth + Community Center (Los Angeles, CA)
The Spiderman Award: For casting extensive webs of support
This “friendly, neighborhood” superhero uses all tools at their disposal – social media, press opportunities, referrals, and creative events like Lending Circles brunches – to cast extensive webs of relationships. They even describe Lending Circles outreach as “a breeze”!
The Resurrection Project (Chicago, IL)
The Yoda Award: For sharing a wealth of wisdom
This learned and wise partner was one of the first to join the Lending Circles network. Since then, they’ve amassed a wealth of knowledge. But what’s even more amazing is how generous they are with their expertise. Just like Yoda, they are a mentor and coach, and they spread their wisdom across the galaxy.
The San Francisco LGBT Community Center (San Francisco, CA)
The Iron Man Award: For leveraging technology for good
Check out this tech-savvy superhero! They’ve really figured out how to combine technology and social justice. In addition to offering Lending Circles, this organization regularly partners with FinTech startups to offer their community members new apps to meet their clients where they are and help them reach their financial goals.
Catalyst Miami (Miami, FL)