For over a decade, MAF has developed financial programs rooted in the strengths of low-income and immigrant communities. In this spirit, MAF’s signature Lending Circles program supports people in building and establishing credit, saving money, and achieving personal financial goals.
But we didn’t stop there. We partner with nonprofits across the country so that more communities can access all the unique benefits of Lending Circles. In 2019, with support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, MAF launched the Lending Circles Communities campaign in search of nonprofit organizations interested in partnering with us to bring Lending Circles to their communities.
We had the opportunity to travel and connect with hundreds of incredible nonprofit leaders in San Diego, Phoenix, New York, Houston, Atlanta, and Charlotte.
“Building credit is essential for people who want to escape the cycle of poverty. But the reality is that millions of people, due to a variety of circumstances, remain credit invisible and do not have access to affordable loans, credit cards, or means to save for emergencies,” said Darlene Goins, head of Financial Health Philanthropy, Wells Fargo Foundation. “It’s been such an honor to work with Mission Asset Fund and we’re excited to help bring Lending Circles to new communities and increase access to zero-interest social loans and education to help more people overcome financial barriers and build wealth.”
On the road, we heard countless stories of widespread financial insecurity and the complex challenges that nonprofits contend with every day. What struck us the most was the unyielding dedication to community – despite differences in geography, vision, and programming, the nonprofit leaders we met all shared a commitment to uplifting clients with safe, relevant, and effective financial tools. And the current realities of the coronavirus and economic crises have only deepened the need for impactful programs like Lending Circles.
We’re thrilled to announce that we are welcoming 7 incredible nonprofit organizations to the Lending Circles Network: A New Leaf, Casa Familiar, Chinese Community Center, Common Wealth Charlotte, Neighborhood Ministries, Refugee Women’s Network, and SER Jobs. Beginning October 1st, this new cohort will dive into a month-long Lending Circles training program. After that, they’ll start doing community outreach and forming their very first Lending Circles. Read more about the new Lending Circles providers below and stay tuned via social media for updates on their program launches!
A New Leaf
A New Leaf is working to address the Phoenix Metro community’s most challenging issues including homelessness, domestic violence, poverty, and mental health. Lending Circles will be integrated into a diverse array of programming by staff and trained volunteers facilitating group education classes, workshops, and one-on-one coaching, as a tool for reaching financial and asset building goals.
San Diego, CA
Casa Familiar allows the dignity, power and worth within individuals and families to flourish by enhancing the quality of life through education, advocacy, service programming, art and culture, housing, and community economic development. They serve a predominantly Latinx community in the San Ysidrio neighborhood. Casa Familiar plans to integrate Lending Circles into their Financial Opportunities Center.
Chinese Community Center
The Chinese Community Center (CCC), a United Way Agency, was founded in 1979. Since then, CCC has expanded its programming to offer comprehensive, wraparound services that address the needs of Greater Houston residents from any racial or ethnic group and at any stage of life – from early childhood to retirement age. CCC operates a Financial Opportunity Center and plans to integrate Lending Circles with their financial coaching programming.
Common Wealth Charlotte
Common Wealth Charlotte’s mission is to support low-income wage earners to achieve higher levels of financial capability, less reliance on financial assistance, and ultimately, enhanced financial security. They pursue these objectives with trauma-informed financial education (TIFE), asset- and wealth-building strategies and programs, and access to non-predatory banking and financial services.
Neighborhood Ministries’ mission is to break the cycle of poverty in inner-city Phoenix. They have helped low-income Phoenix residents transition from poverty to economic self-sufficiency by providing workforce development, job training, and financial education since 1982. Neighborhood Ministries plans to integrate Lending Circles into their workforce development programming.
Refugee Women’s Network
Refugee Women’s Network (RWN) is an organization founded for and by refugee and immigrant women. For over 20 years, RWN has worked to lift up the voices and leadership of women at home and in their communities. Lending Circles will be an excellent complement to their core Economic Empowerment Program, which supports clients in job readiness, entrepreneurship, financial education, and more.
SERJobs helps individuals from low-income communities transform their lives through the power and purpose of work. Through SER’s four core services of career coaching, occupational training, employment services, and financial empowerment, clients are provided support, hope, and the opportunity to achieve their career and financial goals. SER plans to integrate Lending Circles into their vocational training and financial stability coaching and mentoring.