Blog

Navigating the Financial System with an ITIN

“Impossible” is not a word in Regina’s vocabulary. Her savviness and tenacity stood out to us within minutes of meeting her one Monday afternoon. She walked confidently through MAF’s door, took a seat, and launched into her story, painting a picture of a personal and financial journey marked by unwavering
December 12, 2019

Invisible Barriers: Navigating Financial Services with an ITIN

In this report, we see our clients’ financial lives are interwoven with larger communities and often relies on informal resources. We invite you to explore this issue with us, develop a deeper understanding of the barriers, their implications, and the innovative strategies others have developed to navigate in their financial
November 8, 2019

SB 455 Updates: CA Financial Empowerment Fund

MAF is sponsoring SB 455, also known as the California Financial Empowerment Fund, which would create a $4 million fund to support nonprofits delivering effective financial education and empowerment tools. SB 455 unanimously passed both California legislative chambers unopposed and gained statewide supprot from mayors and a broad coalition of
September 5, 2019

We saw it coming.

Ever since that dreadful day Trump descended down the escalator to announce his candidacy, we all knew deep down that it was the start of open season on immigrants. We’d seen it before. Desperate politicians using hateful dog-whistle rhetoric to dehumanize and scapegoat people of color. Never did I think
August 14, 2019

Introducing MAF’s newest program: LLC Loan Program

Meet the community where they are. At MAF, this is one of our core values. We’re constantly searching for ways to build new programs that uplift this principle. That’s why we are excited to launch our LLC Loan program: a program that will offer zero-interest credit-building loans to help individuals
August 12, 2019

Energy Watch Chronicles: How A Small Business Owner Sweetened His Customers’ Experience By Brightening Up His Shop

Whether you’re a San Francisco Bay Area native, or have only visited the city a handful of times, you may have explored the famed “North Beach/Little Italy” neighborhood and crossed paths with the candy shop Z. Cioccolato (cioccolato is the italian word for “chocolate”). The storefront is hard to miss
July 23, 2019

Testifying Before the Joint Economic Committee

On April 30, 2019, I testified before the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee’s hearing on “Expanding Opportunity by Strengthening Families, Communities, and Civil Society.” This bipartisan body was convened to make recommendations for improving economic mobility and strengthening social capital for underserved populations across the country. During the hearing, I
July 1, 2019

MAF Staff Spotlight: Doris Vasquez

Meet Doris Vasquez, MAF’s Client Success Manager. Though she’d never admit it herself, Doris embodies what it means to be a community leader. As MAF’s Client Success Manager, Doris is engaging with the community every day — enrolling clients in MAF’s programs, facilitating the monthly Lending Circles formations, supporting participants
June 6, 2019

My MAF Journey: Bridging Tech and Financial Inclusion

In celebration of the MAF Lab having hit its one-year mark, we want to recognize the role and work of our Tech Advisory Council in supporting our successes. We’ll be sharing a series of blog posts from TAC members, starting with one from co-chair Kathryn Weinmann.   Everyone should try
June 4, 2019

MAFista Spotlight: Samhita Collur

Samhita Collur has held many roles during her nearly three years at MAF. Officially, she’s been a Partner Success Manager and Communications Manager, but she’s also been a storyteller, a mobile app content developer, a community advocate, a strategist for new programs, a co-chair for an advisory council, and a
June 1, 2019

2019 MAF Summit: And the award goes to…

At Mission Asset Fund (MAF), we never pass up an opportunity to celebrate our inspiring and all-around incredible community members. At this year’s MAF Summit, we rolled out a red carpet of our own and took some time to acknowledge a few community leaders that embody the theme of the
May 30, 2019

Catalyzing Change: Antonio’s Story

Catalyst Miami is a member of MAF’s national Lending Circles network based in Florida’s Miami-Dade County. Through its diverse programs and services, Catalyst Miami is dedicated to fighting poverty and improving health, education, and economic opportunity in Miami communities. Catalyst Miami became an official Lending Circles provider in 2014, adding
May 28, 2019

A Galaxy of Her Own: Connie’s Mixcoatl

When you’re strolling down 24th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District, you can’t help but stop in your tracks as you are greeted by a display of luchador masks outside Mixcoatl’s storefront. The store’s name — Mixcoatl — means ‘milky way’ in the Nahuatl language. It’s an apt name for
May 24, 2019

‘Échale ganas, mijo’/’Give it your all, son’: PART TWO

What does ‘Transcend. Evolve. Take Flight.” mean to you? Read part one. ‘Ni de aqui, ni de alla’/’Not from here, nor from there’ I maintained my connection to my Mexican heritage and culture, but I also tried to understand and adapt to American culture. It always blew my mind when
March 20, 2019

MAF Sponsors SB 455: CA Financial Empowerment Fund

In the U.S. there is a wide array of financial products and services to help consumers build their financial lives. In addition to banks, there is a whole Financial Planning and Advice industry to assist consumers in making sound financial decisions. But for low-income Americans, access to this advice and
March 6, 2019

‘Échale ganas, mijo’/’Give it your all, son’: PART ONE

What does ‘Transcend. Evolve. Take Flight.” mean to you? Life’s about a dream I’ve always considered myself a dreamer — long before the term was used to identify a community of hard-working immigrant youth fighting for a chance to succeed in the land of opportunity. I interpret the term on
February 27, 2019

MAF Lab Spotlight: Shruti Dev

Meet Shruti Dev, MAF’s first Technical Project Manager in the MAF Lab. Shruti came to MAF from the for-profit sector with a background as a developer and business systems analyst in healthcare. As Shruti has moved onto other opportunities, we asked her to reflect on her time at MAF. MAF:
February 13, 2019

Boni: A Story of Self-Sufficiency

Today, Boni speaks about his life in the U.S. with a humble confidence. In the five years that Boni has lived in the country, he has built financial security for himself. He has navigated unfamiliar surroundings and financial systems with strength and savviness. Boni’s story is really a story of
February 6, 2019

MAF’s 12 Data Points of Christmas

Watch MAF's 12 Data Points of Christmas, a video featuring insights from the last decade
December 25, 2018

Rosa’s Story: An Advocate’s Journey

“My name is Rosa, and I received a check from you within only days of my request. You understand that this issue is incredibly time sensitive, and you did not neglect nor treat me as just a number. As a DACA recipient, this is something I have grown accustomed to,
December 19, 2018

Public Charge Statement Release: A Barrier to Upward Mobility for Immigrant Families

MAF recently submitted the below statement against the proposed public charge rule. We would like to encourage you all to also make your voice heard before the public comment period closes on December 10th. The Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition has designed an online comment portal to make the public comment
December 3, 2018

Introducing MAF’s new mobile app: MyMAF

MAF is excited to announce the launch of its new mobile app, MyMAF. MyMAF is a virtual financial coach designed to help low-income and immigrant families achieve their dreams and help MAF’s clients succeed financially in our programs. We’ll be celebrating the launch of the MyMAF app, the MAF Lab’s
November 27, 2018

One Decade of Lending Circles

We’re marking MAF’s 10-year anniversary by sharing 10 insights that have stood out to us from a decade of serving clients through Lending Circles, immigration and business loans, and other programs.
November 14, 2018

Public Charge: An Attack on All Immigrants

A few weeks ago the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposed rule that will change how the government looks at immigrants who have used or are likely to use public benefits. This proposed rule would enforce outrageous standards for evaluation, like using an immigrant’s credit report and score
October 11, 2018

What Resistance Looks Like: MAF’s DACA Campaign, a Year Later

The Trump administration blatantly targeted immigrants by rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on September 5, 2017. Shocked and angered by his actions, we did not retreat. We stood up and fought back. With little time to waste, we quickly transformed ourselves into a rapid response grantmaker
September 6, 2018

Why We’re Excited for the 2018 MAF Summit

At this year’s Summit, we’re bringing together thought leaders from a variety of sectors – nonprofit, finance, tech, and social sector. We can’t wait for the conversations and ideas that are bound to evolve from this incredible mix of advocates, policy makers, and creative thinkers. Check out a few reasons why
August 14, 2018

Join the Rabble!

Ten years ago, we started a movement in San Francisco, leading thousands of low-income and immigrants families throughout the country to become financially visible, active, and successful in the financial system. What started with our flagship Lending Circles program offering zero-interest loans, has evolved into a whole suite of products
August 1, 2018

We will keep fighting

My soul hurts to hear babies crying inconsolably for their parents, begging for help. I think about these little ones each time I look at my children, hoping that we will stop this madness and reunite them with their mothers and fathers who braved through that long and dangerous journey
June 21, 2018

In Their Own Words: The Hopes of Dreamers

Being responsive is one of the major goals of our organization and our R&D team. After a successful DACA renewal fee assistance program, we surveyed clients to identify ways in which we could continue to provide the best support. There’s existing research on DACA recipients’ family and employment situations, as
May 22, 2018

Deportation, Stress, and Fear

Over the past couple months, we’ve heard many of our clients pour out their fears and concerns over their future. The threat of deportation looms large for so many immigrant families, causing real anxiety and stress not only on parents, but their children. A new research article released by the
May 4, 2018

Here to help: reacting to the latest DACA court order

A third federal judge has issued a new DACA ruling. While the first two injunctions re-opened the program for the foreseeable future, this order is the first time since September 5, 2017 that there’s been a glimmer of hope that the Department of Homeland Security could be ordered to resume taking new DACA
April 30, 2018

Work and Bills: The Financial Concerns of DACA Recipients

To hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients and their families, a DACA permit represents hope. Hope for jobs, for family security, for a future worth fighting for. The threat of losing DACA has placed young people in a vulnerable financial position that’s keeping them and their families up at night.
April 20, 2018

Introducing MAF’s Self-Employment Webinar Series

In this new political context, when our community told us that maintaining financial security was their top concern, we decided to invest in promoting self-employment. We decided to invest in the ingenuity of our communities. This year, Mission Asset Fund debuted our self-employment webinar series. We designed this series to
April 19, 2018

DACA’s multiplier effect

In “DACA=Better jobs, stable families,” we explored the impact that DACA has on job opportunities and family security. With a work permit and the ability to get education, it’s no surprise that DACA recipients are able to get better quality jobs and have a greater sense of belonging in the
April 6, 2018

DACA = better jobs, stable families

$460 billion. That’s the estimated value that DACA recipients add to our GDP. In addition to the well-known economic impacts to our country, there is a good amount of research about the positive benefits the DACA program has provided to its 790,000 DACA recipients and their families. MAF was humbled
March 21, 2018

MAF Lab: R&D for social good

It goes back to the earliest days at MAF, when Lending Circles was not yet a program available across the nation and when the conversation about financial capability only centered around savings. Our founders knew that to create programs and services that actually made a difference, you had to orient
February 28, 2018

DACA: 44 States & 70 Countries

In September 2017, MAF launched the nation’s largest DACA fee assistance program serving 7,600 Dreamers across the country. In a series of blog posts, we’ll share information about who we served and what we’re learning about the financial lives of DACA recipients after launching a survey to thousands of DACA
February 26, 2018

#HereToStay: Announcing MAF’s new immigration loan programs

Mission Asset Fund is excited to launch new zero-interest, credit-building loans available throughout California to cover the USCIS filing fees for U.S. Citizenship ($725), DACA Renewals ($495), Green Cards ($1,225), Temporary Protected Status ($495), and Petition for Immigrant Relatives ($535). Eligible individuals can apply now at bit.ly/MAFheretostay.  We were inspired
February 23, 2018

How MAF launched the largest DACA renewal campaign in 3 days

The Trump Administration ended DACA on September 5, 2017, igniting a wave of anguish and fear in communities throughout the country. Since 2012, hundreds of thousands of young people came out of the shadows to register for the DACA program hoping that that would be the first step to becoming
January 13, 2018

DACA: The stories behind the checks

After September 5, 2017, MAF quickly mobilized to provide financial assistance to DACA recipients across the nation. Our campaign was inspired by our belief that DACA recipients and their families deserve the opportunity to continue building their future in this country. Hundreds of scholarship recipients shared with us the significance
January 10, 2018

Pilar’s Story: An ode to Prince and homeownership

Pilar celebrates her one-year homeownership anniversary this year. Her home is a beautiful, cozy, and peaceful place in South Minneapolis. She recalls the warm and loving home her mother created for her when she was young, and feels a sense of pride in the home that she has been able
January 5, 2018

Nora’s Journey: A story of strength

Today, Nora speaks excitedly about the prospect of buying a home. She shares the number of rooms she’d like to have, her ideal neighborhoods, and even hints at how she plans to decorate her kitchen. As she reaches the end of her second Lending Circle, she is developing the credit
January 1, 2018

Press Release: 5,000+ DACA renewal scholarships now available

Media Contact: (888) 274-4808 x206 marketing@missionassetfund.org $2,500,000+ Fund to Help Dreamers Renew DACA by October 5 San Francisco, CA – September 22, 2017 – Mission Asset Fund (MAF) today announced it has surpassed its original fundraising goal and will now be able to provide $2,500,000 in scholarships to 5,000+ Dreamers to
September 22, 2017

Press Release: 2,000 Dreamers to receive DACA renewal scholarships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: (888) 274-4808 x206 marketing@missionassetfund.org $1,000,000 Fund Announced to Help Dreamers Renew DACA by October 5 San Francisco, CA – September 13, 2017 – Mission Asset Fund (MAF) today announced it will provide $1,000,000 in scholarships to 2,000+ Dreamers to pay for DACA renewals by the October
September 13, 2017

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,
July 13, 2017

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
June 8, 2017

Claudia’s dreams: health, credit & a new bakery

When Claudia’s husband was offered a job in the United States, she encouraged him to take it and insisted that the entire family—the two of them and their two children—move from Guatemala to build a new life for themselves. It was important to Claudia that their family stay together. Three
May 25, 2017

Preparing yourself for financial emergencies

How you can prevent an immigration-related emergency from becoming a financial one  Detention and deportation can have a huge impact on a family’s finances. What happens to a car, apartment, or money in a checking account? Financial Emergency Action Plan for Immigrants This new resource is an action-oriented tool that offers
May 22, 2017

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
May 15, 2017

With ❤️, From: Mom, Charu, Mama, 엄마, Hajurmuma

From a thriving chocobanana business to a spicy pinch of kimchi that literally means “I love you.” At MAF, we’re always looking for an excuse to share stories. In celebration of Mama’s Day 2017, a few MAF staff members and Lending Circles clients told us about their moms, grandmas, and
May 5, 2017

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.
April 27, 2017

Wealth inequality and new Americans

The racial wealth gap is real, and it’s growing. But where do immigrants fit into this analysis? This post first appeared on the Aspen Institute’s blog. It was written by MAF’s CEO José A. Quiñonez in preparation for a panel on the Racial Wealth Gap at the Aspen Institute’s 2017 Summit on
March 20, 2017

Citizenship for New Yorkers

The $725 application fee is keeping one million New Yorkers from becoming citizens. Building a wall, the Muslim and refugee ban, sanctuary cities, an uncertain future for DREAMers: under the current administration, immigrants from all walks of life are under attack. In February, NPR reported that even green card holders are
March 16, 2017

Ventanilla: A Window of Opportunity

Mission Asset Fund (MAF) and the Mexican Consulates of San Francisco and San Jose have joined forces to support the economic empowerment of Mexican nationals across northern California and the State of Hawaii. This covers individuals across Northern California, including those in the Counties of Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey
January 1, 2017

Lending Circles at the Brown Boi Project

Building Credit & Confidence in LGBTQ Communities of Color Carla’s first experience with a lending circle came long before she began working with Brown Boi Project, and long before she’d heard of MAF.She knew them as “cundinas,” and she first encountered them at the Los Angeles clothing factory where she
December 2, 2016

Winners of the 2016 Super-Partner Awards

These fabulous #LCHeroes took home prizes at the Lending Circles Summit 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
December 2, 2016

LC Summit 16: Top 16 Moments

16 reasons why you can’t miss the next Lending Circles Summit Call me biased, but here are 16 reasons why the LC Summit was not only beautiful but hands-down one of the most exciting conferences of 2016: 1. This amazingly smart team built a prototype of a “Document Drone” to make sure that
December 1, 2016

Words from the Wise #LCSummit16

A Financial Coach, a scholar, and a philanthropist on what Lending Circles mean to them One of our favorite parts of the Lending Circles Summit was hearing from wise members of our community on what Lending Circles mean to them. Here are a few highlights. Frederick Wherry is a Professor of
November 22, 2016

On Food & Family: Isabel’s Story

Isabel joined a Lending Circle to help grow her business. This summer, her restaurant “El Buen Comer” opened in Bernal Heights. Isabel is a MAF client and entrepreneur who used Lending Circles to expand her already successful culinary business. She gave these remarks at the MAFter Party, a celebration of
November 22, 2016

Taking Financial Learning Beyond the Classroom

Lending Circles round out the Game Theory Academy Experience Jasmine and Pasha’s friendship began during childhood, when the two girls were elementary school classmates. Eventually they were assigned to different middle schools, and they lost touch. But the two young women shared a deep commitment to their educations and their
October 17, 2016

José Quiñonez named a 2016 MacArthur Fellow

The visionary Lending Circles program brings low-income communities out of the shadows. Today, the MacArthur Foundation announced this year’s class of MacArthur Fellows. Among the short list of esteemed awardees is José Quiñonez, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mission Asset Fund (MAF). The announcement has been covered by news outlets including the
September 22, 2016

Sonia: A Future Chicago Homeowner

Building Credit and Community through Lending Circles at The Resurrection Project Sonia arrived in Chicago from Puerto Rico one year ago with hopes to turn over a new leaf. As a result of a difficult divorce, her credit report was dotted with blemishes. A low credit score and considerable debt were
September 20, 2016

The Freedom to Move: My DACA Journey

How DACA gave me the opportunity to help others & make my parents’ sacrifices count. Before Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was announced in 2012, I spent all my time volunteering while enrolled in community college. When I reflect back on that time, I think I needed an outlet
August 15, 2016

6 Reasons You Won’t Want to Miss the Lending Circles Summit 2016

Members of our Partner Advisory Council share why they’re excited to converge on SF for #LCSummit2016 This October 26-28, MAF will host the first ever Lending Circles Summit in the city where MAF began – San Francisco. With a mix of networking, interactive design thinking workshops, and panels featuring Lending
August 11, 2016

Building Better: 2015 Annual Report

Take a look back on what you helped build in 2015 – and get a sneak peak at what’s next! MAF’s 2015 Annual Report Building Better tells the story of what’s possible when we continually challenge ourselves to build better partnerships, better technology, and better programs. In 2015, we’re proud to
July 28, 2016

It’s who you ask that matters

A conversation with a founding member paints a picture of what a new member-driven council will contribute to the Lending Circles program. It’s about keeping it real. As we grow and evolve, we know that engaging real people will be key to gathering feedback that improves and informs programs and
June 27, 2016

Strengthening the Voice of our Lending Circles Partner Network

MAF’s first Partner Advisory Council will provide an exciting opportunity to harness the insights of our partner network From our early years serving families in the Mission District, we believed that Lending Circles could benefit communities far beyond our San Francisco neighborhood. Knowing that organizations with deep ties to their
June 23, 2016

Innovations: Making the Invisible Visible

CEO Jose Quinonez gives a behind-the-scenes look into MAF’s origin story in MIT Press’s “Innovations” journal. The following excerpt was originally published in “Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization,” a journal published by MIT Press. Read the full essay here. I was 20 years old when I realized that my mother had
June 6, 2016

Passionate Leaders & Product Experts: Meet Our New Board Members

Introducing MAF’s new board members: Dave Krimm, Salvador Torres & Stephan Waldstrom Earlier this year, MAF had the pleasure of welcoming three new members to our Board of Directors. Read on to find out who they are, where they’re from, and what inspired them to join the board — from
June 2, 2016

The Power of Community: Expanding Opportunities for AAPI Immigrants

A community of nonprofits is building the financial capability of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) immigrants across the country. When you bring together families, friends, and neighbors to help each other achieve their shared financial dreams, you’re leveraging the power of community. This practice of lending and borrowing money
May 20, 2016

Waiting on SCOTUS, UCLA Looks to Lending Circles for Deferred Action

MAF’s collaboration with UCLA’s Undocumented Student Center will bring Lending Circles for Deferred Action to more Los Angeles communities. A current Supreme Court case could lead to skyrocketing interest in one of our signature programs, Lending Circles for Deferred Action. In 2014 , President Obama announced an executive action to
May 19, 2016

Celebrating the Many Moms of Our Community

This Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating all the “MAF Moms” working hard to create better lives for their families through Lending Circles. This Sunday is a day dedicated to the strong, wise, generous, and caring mothers in our lives. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating a few MAF clients
May 6, 2016

Honored with the Bullard Award by Princeton’s Wilson School

On April 9, the Students & Alumni of Color at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School honored me with the Edward P. Bullard Award. I was deeply grateful, and shared this message with my peers. Thank you so very much. It means a great deal to me to receive this award. I
April 20, 2016

Policy Must Uplift People’s Strengths, Not Criticize Their Character

A recent article from sociologist Philip N. Cohen underscores the importance of policies that respect the dignity & strengths of the families we serve. Last week Philip N. Cohen, professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and senior scholar with the Council on Contemporary Families, published an article in
April 13, 2016

Law School & Tamales: DACA Opens Doors for Kimberly

With the help of Lending Circles for DACA, Kimberly is finishing her degree and prepping her law school applications — all while helping her mom and sister grow their family tamale business. It’s hard to miss Ynes’s tamale stand. On weekday mornings in a quiet Oakland neighborhood, you’ll find all
April 1, 2016

Lending Circles Coming to More Los Angeles Communities

MAF is inviting Los Angeles nonprofit organizations to apply to become Lending Circles social loan providers. Mission Asset Fund (MAF) today announces the Build a Better Los Angeles initiative to expand Lending Circles in Los Angeles. Dynamic nonprofit organizations are invited to to apply to join MAF’s national network of 50+
February 16, 2016

Respect, Meet, Build: A Model for Financial Inclusion

Financial inclusion is about respecting people for who they are, meeting them where they are, and building on what’s good in their lives. Last week as part of CFED’s Assets & Opportunity National Week of Action, Mohan Kanungo—an A&O Network Steering Committee Member and Director of Programs & Engagement here at MAF—wrote about
February 1, 2016

Southwest Solutions & JPMorgan Bring Lending Circles to Detroit

Southwest Solutions, JPMorgan Chase & MAF launch peer Lending Circles to boost credit scores of Detroit residents. Southwest Solutions, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Mission Asset Fund (MAF) today announced the launch of Lending Circles, a new social loan program that will allow Detroit residents to safely build credit through
January 28, 2016

An Important Question for Every Relationship: “What’s Your Credit Score?”

From finding your next great relationship to paying for a special night out, having good credit is important. This blog was originally published on CFED’s “Inclusive Economy” blog as part of the Assets & Opportunity National Week of Action. We all love the excitement of getting a notification that someone is
January 26, 2016

Time to Reflect & Refresh: Announcing My Sabbatical

Jose Quiñonez, CEO of MAF, announces a three-month sabbatical, sponsored by O2 Initiatives. I’m taking a sabbatical! Thanks to a generous grant from O2 Initiatives, I start a three-month sabbatical on December 21st. Since 2007, I’ve had the privilege of building MAF from a neighborhood nonprofit into an organization with
December 16, 2015

Hierarchy of Financial Needs: An Introduction

MAF’s Hierarchy of Financial Needs provides a framework for evaluating every person’s economic well-being. Eight years into our mission to build a fair financial marketplace for hardworking families, we at MAF know that Lending Circles are empowering participants to build credit, reduce debt, and increase savings. But how do those
December 7, 2015

What It’s Worth: MAF Featured in New Book

Read CEO Jose Quinonez’s essay “Latinos in the Financial Shadows” in a new book on economic well-being. Earlier this year I was invited to contribute MAF’s perspective to a joint publication from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), with the support of
November 25, 2015

$1.5M Chase Grant Takes MAF to Next Level

JPMorgan Chase invests $1.5 million in MAF to expand Lending Circles further, faster. I’m thrilled to announce that JPMorgan Chase recently awarded MAF a $1.5 million, three-year grant to expand our signature Lending Circles program even further across the U.S. JPMorgan Chase is leading the financial capability field by making
November 24, 2015

Sandra: An Artist-Entrepreneur Brings Her Vision to Life

Sandra’s journey — and her dreams — represent the strength of the Mission community. Sandra’s creative style is all her own, but her story speaks for an entire community. She’s one of the visionary artists and entrepreneurs San Francisco’s Mission District has cultivated for generations. With Friscolitas, her mobile screen
October 29, 2015

Introducing Chris, MAF’s Product Manager

Chris is on a mission to put data and technology in the service of social change. As you may have noticed over the years, we’ve had great luck with Residency in Social Enterprise (RISE) fellows from New Sector Alliance. Today, we’re continuing that streak: We’re excited to bring on Chris
September 24, 2015

Meet Kelsea, Our New Development Manager

Kelsea comes to MAF with a passion for breaking down barriers to mainstream financial services. No stranger to new places, Kelsea McDonough has lived all over the world: from Santiago, Chile, and Granada, Spain, to San Francisco and Oakland, which she’s now proud to call home. But she originally hailed
August 31, 2015

Welcome Elena to the Partner Success Team

Elena’s passion for empowering communities and budding entrepreneurs makes MAF a natural fit. Elena Fairley is a brand new MAFista, but her connection to MAF began three years ago. She first heard about MAF during a presentation at the California Co-op Conference. She was passionate about supporting local community members
August 10, 2015

Behind the Credit Curtains in Houston

A trip to Texas to talk about credit invisibles and how Lending Circles can help Until recently, my time spent in Texas was limited to a single quick stop over after a study abroad program in Santiago, Chile. I barely had any time to take in the beautiful landscapes seemingly
July 19, 2015

NCLR Presents MAF with the 2015 Family Strengthening Award

This recognition from NCLR helps us pave the way toward a fair financial marketplace for hardworking families KANSAS CITY, Mo.—At the National Affiliate Luncheon held today at the 2015 NCLR Annual Conference in Kansas City, Mo., NCLR (National Council of La Raza) recognized two community-based organizations that belong to the
July 11, 2015

New Lending Circles Program in DC Area

Lending Circles to Debut in Washington, D.C. to Help Individuals and Entrepreneurs Build Credit Latino Economic Development Center and Northern Virginia Family Service launch peer-to-peer lending program in partnership with MAF and Capital One Washington, D.C. – July 8, 2015 – Latino Economic Development Center and Northern Virginia Family Service today
July 8, 2015

Passing up opportunities: my life before citizenship

My journey from DREAMer to U.S. citizen with Lending Circles for Citizenship People usually celebrate their first anniversary with paper, but I like to do things my way. I celebrated my 14th anniversary of living in the United States with paper: the N-400 form. This form is a promise my mother
June 24, 2015

Diana gets tails wagging with a small business loan

For Diana, dogs are so much more than little balls of love and fluff Growing up in Mexico, Diana’s mother treated dogs like they were members of their own family. But when Diana moved to San Francisco at age 12, her family no longer had the space to accommodate a
June 22, 2015

Dejando pasar oportunidades: mi vida antes de la ciudadanía

Mi camino de Soñadora a Ciudadana, y el ahora aprovechar todas las oportunidades gracias a Lending Circles para Ciudadanía Las personas generalmente celebran su primer aniversario con papel, pero a mí me gusta hacer las cosas a mi manera. Yo celebré mi 14 aniversario de vivir en los Estados Unidos
May 24, 2015

Diana consigue buenos resultados en San Francisco con un pequeño Lending Circles por negocios

Paseador de perros consigue un pequeño préstamo de negocios en San Francisco que le da un impulso a su historial crediticio y a su negocio Al crecer en México, la madre de Diana trataba a sus perros como si fueran parte de la familia. Pero cuando Diana se mudó a
May 22, 2015

Lesson Earned #4: (MAF) Metamorphosis

The best part about working for a small organization is the mobility that such a structure enables. When you walk through MAF’s offices, you’ll notice the colorful walls and vibrant artwork that are so reflective of the members we work with. If you look closely, you’ll see much of this
April 14, 2015

Bringing together a Better Bay Area

MAF is bringing together the 10 best ideas for a more financially empowered Bay Area. MAF is excited to announce the Better Bay Area initiative awardees! This moment has been months in the making. The Better Bay Area initiative launched late last year with support from Google, Y & H
April 6, 2015

Keeping Lending Circles hot with Chhaya

Check out how Chhaya CDC is using Lending Circles to support their economic development curriculum. The temperature crept down to -1 degrees on the streets of Jackson Heights, New York. Even in the frigid conditions of this harsh winter evening, the Jackson Heights neighborhood is the quintessential American melting pot.
February 26, 2015

Lesson Earned #3: Think Small

With such a heavy focus on bringing organizations to scale, we’ve forgotten the power community holds. Growing up, Mia Hamm posters plastered my walls – I even put one above my bed so the thought of joining the U.S. Women’s National team was my last thought at night and the
February 13, 2015

When Passion Ignites a Path

After an eye-opening experience at a cleaning service company, Reina Aguilera left to start up her own business. As a young child in her home country of Honduras, Reina Aguilera found herself cleaning and organizing her house so often that her family used to joke about her incessant need to
February 11, 2015

Partner Spotlight: Henry of CLUES

An active member of the CLUES community, Henry has become an avid believer in the power of Lending Circles. A firm believer in experiencing a product before trying to sell it, Henry was quick to jump on board to the Lending Circles program at MAF’s partner, Comunidades Latinas Unidas en
February 8, 2015

Doing More with Partners

MAF is partnering with the Mexican Consulate to offer Mexican DREAMers an Exciting Opportunity. MAF is thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Mexican Consulate in SF to support Mexican nationals applying to DACA through the Lending Circles for Deferred Action program. Through this program, DREAMers are offered a
February 5, 2015

Looking Ahead in 2015

We’re deepening our commitment to Deferred Action applicants and business owners with new programs. It’s a new year and we’ve got a number of new changes in our programming in 2015 as we take steps to help more people navigate the financial marketplace and realize their full economic potential. Origination
February 3, 2015

Building a Better Bay Area

Find out how you can be part of something big Lending Circles, selected as a top 10 finalist in the Google Impact Challenge, has given thousands of families across the U.S. an opportunity for a brighter financial future. There are currently over 203,000 families in the Bay Area unable to
January 15, 2015

Rosa: The Long Road to Citizenship

Obtaining U.S. Citizenship brings about a new phase in Rosa Romero’s life. After a lifelong career as a teacher in El Salvador, Rosa decided to move to the US. After her sister got her housing papers, Rosa left her sons, students and her life behind to pick up and move
January 8, 2015

MAF Says Goodbye to Founding Board Members

After years of guidance, MAF would like to say thank you to the three founding board members who will be leaving in 2015. As we welcome the new year, we’d like to take a moment to recognize our outstanding Board of Directors – seven amazing people who provide the vision and
January 6, 2015

Lending Circles for Deferred Action Expands in LA

Bringing financial support to immigrants seeking Deferred Action With President Obama’s recent announcement on Deferred Action, the need to focus our attention on the financial needs of immigrant communities is greater than ever. New reforms enable an additional 5 million immigrants the potential to apply for Deferred Action. Having already
December 16, 2014

Fremont Family Resource Center Delivers a Recipe for Success

What is the secret to our partner Fremont Family Resource Center’s success? Find out here! Fremont Family Resource Center (FFRC) provides wrap-around financial services that empower low-income communities throughout the tri-city area. FFRC is not just MAF’s longest active Lending Circles provider, but a star provider with a zero-percent default
December 12, 2014

Welcome Alyssa: MAF’s Partner Manager

Alyssa’s passion for microfinance and community connections brought her to the MAF team. Alyssa’s steadied approach to discovering a place at MAF speaks to her thoughtful nature. She knew about and believed in MAF’s work before even submitting her resume. In fact, Alyssa began talking to MAF staff out of
December 9, 2014

Give Credit where it matters

This December, support the credit-builders in your community. Here at MAF, we’re lucky to have the chance to watch incredible people use our products to reach their financial goals. This year, we’ve seen a lot of people come through our doors and leave as credit-builders. We’ve served close to 1000
December 3, 2014

Blanca: Building her Beauty Salon Business Dream

Blanca’s come a long way from her days braiding her sister’s hair. Blanca’s childhood wasn’t always happy. Growing up in Mexico, her family was not supportive of her drive to learn, and constantly told her that she would be better off learning how to clean and be a wife. The
November 27, 2014

Lesson Earned #2: Get Rid of the Door

Why community based solutions are more than just a nice thought. When I was working in a startup incubator space last summer, I had the chance to hear all sorts of advice on starting a business. What I remember so clearly was the old “get out the door” expression. Need
November 25, 2014

From Partner Extraordinaire to Board Member

Follow Aqui’s journey with MAF and how she became our newest board member. Expanding community with a new board member I am thrilled to announce that we have added a brand new member to our family – this month our board voted in Aqui Soriano, Executive Director of the Pilipino
November 21, 2014

A Warm Reception for Lending Circles in Minnesota

Thanks to our partner CLUES and a tight network of community nonprofits, we find lots of opportunity for credit-building in the Twin Cities Journeying to the “land of 10,000 nonprofits” as Minnesota is known was the perfect opportunity for MAF to visit one of its strongest Lending Circles providers and
November 17, 2014

Meet Karla Henriquez: MAF’s Program Coordinator

Find out how Karla Henriquez, MAF’s brand new programs coordinator, injects her fun-loving and warm personality into everything she does. Unlike many MAF staff members, Karla became part of the MAF community well before she had walked through its doors. Her friends and members of her family had participated in
November 3, 2014

Diving Deep into Member Culture

In an effort to better understand our member culture, the staff decided to take time to learn about the upcoming holiday, El Dia de los Muertos. Here at MAF, we feel it is important for us to connect with our members on a deeper level. In gaining a better understanding
October 31, 2014

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. 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
October 28, 2014

A Time to Celebrate MAF 2.0

A community comes together to mark the next phase in Lending Circles Last Monday, October 20th we opened our doors to over 150 members of the MAF family in celebration of MAF 2.0: the exciting new phase of our organization. Everyone from funders to clients and friends came to discover our
October 27, 2014

Javier: Striking Gold by Building Credit

An entrepreneur finds the secret to lifting up his business Javier began his entrepreneurial career in the United States with a carpet business. Now, as a licensed contractor, he renovates old rental properties to manage or resell. After spending nearly a year working on the first property he bought, when
October 24, 2014

Meet Jennifer Tse: MAF’s Curious Finance Associate

As MAF’s Finance Associate, Jennifer asks the important questions. Jennifer is one of the most inquisitive people I know. Though she works on the Finance Team as the Finance Associate, I’m lucky enough to sit across from her every day. Despite the fact that our job descriptions vary so much,
October 23, 2014

MAF Presents at Dreamforce

A conversation with MAF’s Product and Research Manager, Jeremy Jacob, offers a behind the scenes look at Dreamforce 2014 MAF has had a very long and successful history with Salesforce, both as a community and financial partner, so we were excited to participate in several presentations at this year’s Dreamforce
October 23, 2014

Meet Isis Fleming: MAF’s problem-solving master

As MAF’s “People, Fun and Culture” Manager, Isis helps MAF run like a well-oiled machine. Isis has a calm and steadied presence about her that can be felt all the way across the office. From what few office environments I have been in, I’ve come to see that the office
October 16, 2014

A New Mindset: The John R May Leadership Award

An award recipient reflects on the meaning of success This week, the San Francisco Foundation presented MAF with the 2014 John R May Community Leadership Award for addressing an issue that has particular relevance to the present time and place. The SFF Community Leadership Award recognized our many accomplishments in
October 10, 2014

Lesson Earned #1: MAF Moves Pretty Fast

Join me as I strive to earn 11 lessons through my contributions to MAF Check in each month to get a better picture of life here at MAF through the eyes of a recent grad looking to discover her next career step! MAF moves pretty fast: If you don’t stop
October 3, 2014

Product and Research Fellow joins MAF

Aparna brings a love of people and numbers to MAF’s research team My name is Aparna and I am the new Product & Research Fellow. Basically, my job is to work with MAF’s various teams, integrating technology and data to support and enhance what they already do so well; create
September 25, 2014

MAF welcomes new Marketing Fellow

Meet Tori, who’s passionate about social enterprises and making an impact! I’m so excited to be joining MAF’s team as the marketing fellow this fall. I’m a recent graduate of Davidson College (just outside of Charlotte, NC) where I studied international development. Outside of the classroom, I ran a student
September 24, 2014

Being an Advocate for Prosperity

Lessons learned from the 2014 Assets Learning Conference When I came to MAF last year as New Sector fellow, I knew very little about domestic economic development policies, since I was more interested and familiar with international development in college. So when the opportunity came up to attend the CFED
September 23, 2014

MAF wins prestigious Community Leadership Award

The San Francisco Foundation reveals the winners of the 2014 Community Leadership Awards This week, The San Francisco Foundation announced the winners of the 2014 Community Leadership Awards, recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Bay Area community. “Our work is to lift up the best practices and leaders who are
September 18, 2014

SB 896: A Special Policy Briefing

Join MAF’s CEO, Jose Quinonez, in a discussion on the historic passing of California’s SB 896 Mission Asset Fund warmly invites you to our SB 896 Policy Briefing webinar on Monday, September 29 at 10:00 AM PST. MAF’s CEO, Jose Quinonez, will lead the discussion on the historic passing of
September 17, 2014

Donor Spotlight on Robby Pinkard

Robby is passionate about energy and sustainability. Find out why he was inspired to be a MAF donor. Introducing our Donor Spotlight series, where we share a little about one of our Social Investors and thank them for taking action to support the financial empowerment of communities through credit-building. MEET
September 12, 2014

SPUR of the moment

MAF explores the connection between urban planning and financial access. It’s mid afternoon on an exceptionally warm summer day in San Francisco as people begin to file into a sun-drenched room at SPUR’s offices on Mission and 2nd Street waiting to hear about creating a new path to financial empowerment.
August 28, 2014

Leonor Brings Sunshine to the Community

Find out how Leonor used Lending Circles to launch a business to promote good health in her community For as long as Leonor Garcia can recall, the driving force in her life was to support her community. Even when she was a little girl in El Salvador, Leonor says she
August 27, 2014

SB 896 passes! CA becomes first state to recognize credit-building

It took just 13 months to build the future of nonprofit credit building In June of 2013, we started laying the groundwork for a piece of legislation that would change the way the state of California thinks about credit-building. Just last week, Governor Jerry Brown signed our bill, SB 896, into law. This
August 20, 2014

New Latthivongskorn: From dreams to medical school

New is a passionate public health advocate and the first undocumented student to enter UCSF Medical School It was near the end of high school when Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn realized that he wanted to make an impact on the American healthcare field. His mother was rushed to the hospital in
August 13, 2014

SB896: One signature away from history

After months of movement through the California Senate SB 896 has officially been sent to the Governor for final approval. Mission Asset Fund is thrilled to announce that as of this morning, after more than a year of movement through the California legislative process, we are a single pen stroke away
August 8, 2014

Forming a community with Lending Circles

When you join a Lending Circle, you aren’t just getting a simple loan. It was a chilly July evening in the MAF office in San Francisco; a gentle wind carried the pleasant smells and sounds of the vibrant Mission District through the streets. Inside the brightly lit MAF office, Doris
August 6, 2014

Welcome Ximena, Financial Services Manager

She brings her passion for business and community to the MAF team! Ximena Arias joined MAF as a Financial Services Manager in May 2014. With her passion for entrepreneurship and her multicultural upbringing, she was a perfect fit for the job. Born in Colombia, Ximena moved to the US at
July 30, 2014

Claudia: Becoming a U.S. Citizen

From Mexico to San Francisco, this stylist followed her dream and is a proud new U.S. Citizen There was a buzz of excitement in the crowd sitting in the balcony of the Paramount Theater in Oakland. Smiling families and friends waved American flags and excited children clutched bouquets of flowers.
July 24, 2014

Little Plates, Big Heart

Find out how MAF’s microloans can turn little plates into big business In the middle of La Cocina’s large kitchen in the Mission District, a small woman moved with the graceful precision of a swan. Gliding between steaming trays, boiling pots, and simmering pans like a gentle breeze, she smelled,
July 21, 2014

Delivering Lending Circles to The Mile High City

Find out what connects a lunchbox, social loans, and Denver, Colorado. As I carried my Dad’s tiffin (A small metal Indian style lunch) box through the airport before boarding my flight to Denver, a TSA agent dutifully inspected what appears to be an unusual metal container. Without a liquid or
July 16, 2014

Microloan Spotlight: Elvia Buendia, Cupcake Boss

Elvia loved desserts, so she followed her heart and opened her own cupcake shop! Elvia Buendia grew up in a small town on the outskirts of Mexico City. As the youngest of 6 children, she was raised in a protective, loving, moderate-income family. She had a passion for desserts which
June 24, 2014

Welcome Carmen Chan, DREAMSF Fellow!

Carmen, a Dreamer from Venezuela, shares her story and dream to help undocumented youth. Carmen Chan recently joined the MAF team as an Outreach Fellow through the San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs’ DREAMSF Fellowship. The DREAMSF Fellowship is an opportunity for DACA-approved youth to serve San Francisco’s immigrant communities while
June 24, 2014

Shifting the focus on finance: Interview with Sarah Peet

An insight into how Sarah Peet captures the essence of social lending and the people of Mission Asset Fund. Sarah Peet is a passionate photographer who specializes in destination wedding photography and originally from Vermont. She captured the stories of our Lending Circles members and staff for our new website
June 23, 2014

Love and Money

Yale Sociology Professor Fred Wherry explains how money can complicate love. What makes life worth living also makes it harder to navigate: Love. We love our families, our neighbors, and our houses of worship. Where our love lies, our treasure lies also. When a baby is born, we buy gifts.
June 23, 2014

Google Challenged

A look back on our incredible Google Challenge experience “You guys are not going to believe it!” Tara Robinson, MAF’s Chief Development Officer, said with a wild glint in her eye and a smile spreading across her face. Daniela Salas, MAF’s COO, and I were both eager to hear what her amazing news
June 20, 2014

Let’s Buddy Up: Joining the Lending Circle network

MAF collaborates with CABO to expand Lending Circles in Los Angeles When the Assets & Opportunities Network convened in December, Andrew Chang and I had just met, but we ignited a friendship that compelled us to find a way for our two organizations, MAF and CABO, to expand Lending Circles
June 19, 2014

MAF’s Emerging in LA

MAF is setting the stage for the future of Social Lending I recently started working at MAF and before I got in the door, Daniela, our COO, asked me if I wanted to attend a conference in LA. My reply was an emphatic yes! I’d only been to L.A once,
June 19, 2014

Screwing in the light bulb with GoogleServe

How many Google employees does it take to screw in a light bulb? We don’t know. But we do know how many Google employees it takes to elevate the user experience for our new online social loan platform: five. How did we get five Google employees in our office in
June 18, 2014

Training our partners for success

We travel to LA to form MAOF’s first Lending Circle Watching a group of people form their first Lending Circle is an inspiring experience, especially when that group will go on to form more Lending Circles in their own community. My colleagues, Mohan, John, and I trained staff members at
June 17, 2014

Lending Circles son bienvenidos a Miami!

Find out how MAF is making waves in Miami! Jose, Daniela, and I set off to visit a promising new community to bring the Lending Circles program, Miami! I had been waiting for this day ever since I joined MAF. Now the day was here and it fell on Cinco
June 15, 2014

Calling all Dreamers

Jesus Castro shares his own story and hopes it inspires others to apply for DACA. One of the things I find so empowering about our work at MAF is seeing young leaders follow their passion and give back to the community. Jesus Castro is one of those leaders who joined Lending Circle for Dreamers and has
May 26, 2014

California DREAMing: DACA and the making of an American dream

MAF member, Ju Hong, talks about Mr. Hyphen and the American Dream. Ju Hong is a man of few limitations. He is a research assistant with Harvard University, on the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP), a coordinator at the Men’s Center on the Laney College Campus, a graduate student at San
May 26, 2014

Behind the design: interview with Digital Telepathy

Check out the design thinking behind the creation of our new website! Our new website has been a labor of love for us at MAF, but we couldn’t have delivered the product without the brilliant design team at Digital Telepathy. Nate, Brent, and Eduardo were nice enough to take time out
May 23, 2014

MicroLoan Spotlight: Yeral Caldas, Feeding the heart

Yeral was born in Chimbote, a coastal city in Peru. He has two brothers and two sisters. His mother had her own business and his dad worked in the field. After his parents divorced, he would go back and forth between them helping them work during his vacation. He would
May 22, 2014

Vote MAF for a better bay area

MAF is a finalist for the Google Bay Area Impact Challenge. We need your support to make the top 4! We are excited to announce that Mission Asset Fund is a top 10 finalist in the Bay Area Google Impact Challenge, a competition for local nonprofits to share their vision
May 22, 2014

Leveling up with new social loan sites

Today we are thrilled to unveil a brand new website. But to us, it’s really more meaningful than just a new look. Welcome to our new digital home! Today we are thrilled to unveil a brand new social loan website.  But to us, it’s really more meaningful than just a new
April 11, 2014

Building momentum in Chicago

Senior Account Manager Daniel Lau shares his experience on bringing Lending Circles to Chicago I open an email from our CEO Jose: “Daniel, save March 31 and April 1 – we’re going to Chicago for a Lending Circles presentation!” All right! I love traveling and haven’t been to Chicago for a
April 10, 2014

The Credit Catch 22

There’s always a catch. With credit, there’s a Catch 22! It’s too easy for hardworking people to get stuck in this Credit Catch 22. For example, if you want to build a great credit history, you have to have lines of credit. But in order to be approved for lines
April 4, 2014

Is a new logo like getting a new uniform?

When a new nonprofit is founded, it’s usually someone’s cousin or friend who gets the task of designing the new logo. They do the best job they can and the organization eagerly eats it up, grateful that one more thing is done. Even if they don’t realize it, the staff
March 27, 2014

Shifting the focus on social lending

Jan Stürmann, a videographer based out of San Francisco, produced four awesome new videos highlighting MAF’s programs and how social lending really transforms people’s lives. He was gracious enough to share his thoughts with me on capturing our story and what he learned from the experience. What is your process
March 26, 2014

A dream no longer deferred

Edgar did something a few weeks ago that he had been dreaming of for the past two years. On a sunny day in San Francisco’s Mission District, Edgar walked into the Social Security Administration Office and began to fill out an application. You may remember Edgar and his partner Gustavo
March 26, 2014

Clearing the path for Lending Circles

Last month I joined Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) in Sacramento to introduce an important piece of legislation that will elevate the work of nonprofits who create pathways to the financial mainstream for underserved communities. Senate Bill 896 recognizes 501c3 nonprofits in California that offer affordable, credit building loans for individuals. I
March 26, 2014

Social loans enable affordable credit

How do social loans help people get a better deal? By giving them a chance to build on what they have. As a recent college grad myself, I know that just because I have a credit score doesn’t mean it’s a good one. In fact, many of my peers and I
March 26, 2014

This is what 5 years of social lending looks like

Five years ago, we never could have imagined releasing this publication. When MAF first started it’s social lending program, Lending Circles, we had no idea where it would go. We were just trying out a new idea. But then that idea grew its own legs. It growing and expanding –
March 15, 2014

Itzel: A DREAMer making a difference

I think things are going to go great and we’re going to look back and say, yes, we made a difference Itzel always knew she was undocumented, she had known it all her life. Her status had never really impacted her life in a major way. She was happy in
December 31, 2013

Jesus: young community builder

When immigration reform goes through, I want people to feel safe in a program like DACA. It’s here to help us. When Jesus was five years old, he immigrated to the U.S. with his parents. Jesus’ parents were busy working and job hunting that he and his brother would spend
December 31, 2013

Bruno: Design dream team

Bruno and his wife came to Lending Circles to jump start their graphic design business. Bruno and his wife, Micaela came to the United States ten years ago with dream of owning their own business. They had years of professional experience as screen printers in Mexico City but with little
December 31, 2013

Pablo: Aspiring Filmmaker

After participating in Lending Circles and Financial Education, Pablo figured out how to navigate the US financial system When Pablo moved to San Francisco 11 years ago from Columbia, he discovered that just because he had no debt, it didn’t mean he would have it easy in building a new
December 31, 2013

Helen: A Mom with a Dream

Helen came to Mission Asset Fund with a dream– to rent her own apartment Helen is a single mom who came to Mission Asset Fund with a dream– to rent her own apartment. An immigrant from Guatemala, Helen was an unbanked mother of two small children. Because she couldn’t afford
December 31, 2013

Luis and Zenaida: A family of chefs

An exhausting work schedule motivated Luis and Zenaida to envision a different future for themselves. Lending Circles helped them get there. Zenaida and Luis reacted differently when they found out Zenaida was pregnant. While Luis shed joyful tears, Zenaida worried about morning sickness. “But everything happened to Luis. He was
December 31, 2013

Veronica: A Visionary Restaurateur

Veronica reached her dream of owning a restaurant after participating in a Lending Circle. An immigrant from Mexico, Veronica came to Mission Asset Fund with a dream of owning a restaurant to serve her Mexico City favorites: gorditas, huitlacoche, huaraches, and pozole. With ingenuity and help from a local food
December 31, 2013

Aqui: Lending Circles with filipinos in L.A.

Aqui didn’t give up. She called Jose every few months to see if he was ready yet. Now her organization PWC offers MAF’s full suite of social loan programs. “Even though Filipinos are the largest Asian American population in California, no one else was addressing the issues of low-wage Pilipino
December 31, 2013

Alicia: Tamale trailblazer

Alicia went from door-to-door sales to owning her own tamale food cart, using Lending Circles to overcome her debt and lack of credit score. When Alicia first started her tamale business, she went door to door selling homemade tamales with her eight-year-old son, Pedro. Each week, she had enough money
December 31, 2013

Christina: an entrepreneurial fashionista

Fashion truck owner overcomes struggle to build credit history and a business at the same time Christina Ruiz is the owner of TopShelf Boutique, San Francisco’s first-ever fashion truck, opened in May 2012. A spin on the popular food truck movement, TopShelf is a traveling store full of hip yet
December 30, 2013

Olivia: cooking from the heart

Small business owners Olivia and Javier started Eleganza Catering but needed Lending Circles to reduce medical debt & build their business Olivia Velazquez and her husband, Javier Delgadillo are originally from Mexico and share a passion for cooking and for pampering the people around them. Together, they have 42 years
December 29, 2013

Leticia: Rising up

There is a saying when one hand helps the other hand, and together they applaud much louder than one alone. Leticia immigrated to the Bay Area in her late 20’s for a better life. In less than two decades, she owned two houses, started two successful businesses, and was married
July 11, 2013

Lending Circle Program Evaluation Released

At MAF, we’re all about understanding the impact of our work in the communities that use our products. Over the years, we have seen hundreds of people who have been on the margins of the financial mainstream walk through our doors looking for a way to help themselves navigate the
June 5, 2013

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