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This is Resilience


Resilience is what makes us get up when we fall. It’s why we travel long distances in search of a better life, no matter the perils. When we started Lending Circles, some said: “It won’t work. You’ll fail.” But we kept moving forward. That’s because our program is grounded in what matters most: family, community, and the relationships that bind us with one another.

In the last ten years, we scaled Lending Circles throughout the country, but we also changed the conversation about what matters in people’s financial lives. And we are proof that you can build and scale financial products while still staying rooted in community, true to your mission, and agile in your delivery. It’s how we step up to the plate to protect thousands of Dreamers. And this year, we are stepping up by going mobile.

MyMAF app is not just any app. This one uses the best of finance and technology for the good of the people. This one is about being culturally relevant and bridging the technology gap. More importantly, it’s about showing our clients that they matter – and that’s the secret of our success.

-Jose Quinonez

How We Rose Up

In 2018, we knew we couldn’t operate by the usual playbook. We innovated, launched five new programs and services, expanded two more, and laid the foundation to keep on creating new solutions.


With DACA facing a tenuous future, we knew we had to change course to help community members obtain affirmative relief. We doubled down on our commitment to Dreamers and immigrant communities and launched a zero-interest immigration loan program, covering the cost of becoming a citizen, obtaining a green card, and more. 


Amidst an onslaught of anti-immigrant and hateful federal policies, we fought back. While the current administration separated families at the border and proposed outrageous standards to receive a visa or a green card, we advocated for the freedom, dignity, and respect of our communities. And we are only getting started.


We talked to clients and partners across the country. We celebrated their triumphs and shared in their heartbreaks. And we provided a platform for them to tell their stories. As DACA scholarship recipient Rosa put it so beautifully, “The most powerful way to convey my message is to show people who I am.”


We believe in the power of partnership to achieve ambitious goals. We’ve worked with 65+ high-impact organizations to bring Lending Circles to their communities. In 2018, we were thrilled to welcome Canal Alliance of Marin County, CA into our national network of Lending Circles providers. We know we aren’t alone in this fight.


MyMAF gives clients autonomy to direct their financial journey. Clients decide where they want to begin, whether it’s learning about credit or watching a video about exploring their investment options. Clients can choose from 70+ action items to work towards, providing clients with a structure to create their own action plan. The app empowers clients to set the agenda based on what is most relevant to them and supports them with resources, tips, and motivation to get to their goal.

Mighty Financial Tools

MyMAF supports MAF’s program clients and financial coaching clients with another tool to help them achieve their financial goals!

MyMAF Launch Event

We officially unveiled MyMAF at a launch party on December 7th! MAF celebrated this milestone at SPUR’s space in downtown San Francisco with members of the community, our friends, and funders.

A virtual coach at your fingertips

MyMAF provides users with a virtual financial coach at their fingertips and gives them control in their financial journey.

    How We Transformed

    Technology and research have always been a core part of MAF’s work. But we realized that we needed to reorganize ourselves to fully harness the transformative power of technology to better serve our clients at scale. As a result, we created the MAF Lab: an R&D team that aims to build better products and programs to meet the needs of the communities we serve.

    The MAF Lab

    We’re bridging the best of the nonprofit and fintech worlds. We’re drawing on best practices in user research, design thinking, and agile development to create a virtuous research and development cycle. We research to assess strengths, understand needs, and then build products to leverage those strengths to meet those needs. We build products for people who are often left out of tech developments and formal financial markets.

    The MAF Lab is the apex of MAF’s strengths as a direct service nonprofit, a financial services provider, a data-driven tech organization, and a force for social innovation.

    We Deliver on Our Impact

    In 2018:




    2018 Programs Spotlight

    To Date:




    10 Years Programs Spotlight

    A Year of Financial Resilience

    MAF is proud to report another year of strong support from our amazing funder community, enabling us to serve more clients than before. As we look ahead toward growing and scaling our programs, we remain committed to fiscal prudence to ensure sustainability and high-quality programming for every community we serve.

    2018 Financial Snapshot


    This past year, we had strong performance across our key revenue streams. With several funders providing multi-year grants, we’re deepening our impact and continuing our work for years to come.


    We continue to invest in building programs that meet the financial needs of our communities. That includes Research and Development, to create scalable solutions to promote financial inclusion.

    10 Years Financial Snapshot


    Over the past 10 years, our supporters have invested nearly $30M in building resiliency and improving the financial futures of our communities.

    Creating Effective Financial Products

    We’ve created products to help communities build credit, pay for immigration applications, and secure their finances. Through all of this, our default rate has remained much lower than the industry average.

    One Decade of Lending Circles

    What better way to mark our 10-year anniversary than to reflect on strengths in the communities we work with? “One Decade of Lending Circles” features ten insights we’ve gained from ten years of social lending.

    64% Improved Credit

    64% of clients improve their credit score during their first Lending Circle. Credit-building is the number one reason clients join Lending Circles. And most are able to do just that during the program by increasing their credit score or establishing one for the first time.

    8% Purchased Assets

    8% of clients took mortgages or auto loans while participating in their first Lending Circle. Clients often join Lending Circles to work toward financial goals, such as buying a home or car for their family. Some purchase these assets during the 6-12 month program, and many others do so after completing their first loan with MAF.

    42% Share Finances

    42% of clients are financially interdependent with people outside their household. They lend or gift money to family and friends, and receive it back in kind. Many clients say they leverage relationships and social capital to secure their cash flow and financial lives.

    31% Are Entrepreneurs

    31% of clients are entrepreneurs. From working side gigs to being self-employed to owning a nanobusiness — clients are finding creative ways to monetize their skills and talents. Some even join Lending Circles to network and build a customer base for their business.

    57% Save Creatively

    57% of clients without a savings account still save money. It’s undeniable that certain financial products encourage consumers to save. But even without a savings account, clients are using other products and even informal tandas to set aside money for emergencies and long-term financial goals.

      Celebrating 10 Years

      In October 2008, we formed our first Lending Circle. In December 2018, we celebrated MAF’s 10th birthday with style! Hors d’oeuvres, craft cocktails, and 200 of our closest friends and allies.

      MAF ‘SHEroes’

      Alicia shares her incredible journey — from selling tamales in her kitchen to selling tamales at the Warriors stadium.

      Cheers to 10 years!

      Attendees bond over MAF themed drinks, like the Gin & Tanda.

      And we will continue to stand resilient in 2019

      If ten years has taught us anything, it’s that we need to keep up the fight. It’s about joining together to build breakthrough innovations that bring about real change to the communities we serve. Communities who are vulnerable to our nation’s broken immigration system need innovations to more easily firm up their status. Communities who are vulnerable to the latest economic scam need better access to low-cost financial products. Communities targeted with a long history of institutional racism need more opportunities to secure and build wealth. Let us not allow Silicon Valley to only provide radical advances for the 1%. Instead, let us join together to learn about the needs of our communities, and put our best thinking and resources forward to bring about real change to the 99%.

      More amazing things are happening:

      • Get innovative. The most inspired solutions come from embracing the beauty and complexity of the human condition. This April, we’re hosting a 2019 MAF Summit like no other. Join your colleagues in nonprofits, tech, finance and the social sector to cross-pollinate for social change.

      • Step it up with a new book. Credit Where It’s Due blends a history lesson on financial justice with an analysis of MAF’s own credit-building models. You’ll get the story of MAF and learn about a new framework: financial citizenship. Who wouldn’t want to participate in a financial system that fosters social belonging, dignity, and respect?

      • Follow the MyMAF Challenge. This year, we’ll be opening up a challenge for up to 10 nonprofits across the nation for the chance to win early access to a customized version of MyMAF. Stay tuned for updates about how to participate in or support the challenge.