MAF’s Vision for Showing Up & Doing More
As vaccines roll out, many of us see a light at the end of a long tunnel. But this light is dimmer for immigrant families who have been repeatedly excluded from federal COVID-19 relief.
As we look to recover, how can we show up & do more to help immigrant families rebuild their financial lives faster?
On Tuesday, May 11th, we introduced a vision for MAF’s future and gathered to discuss how all of us—across sectors—can show up and do more for immigrant and low-income families.
Reflecting on 2020
At the outset of the pandemic, the MAF team moved swiftly to show up in ways that mattered. We launched a Rapid Response Fund to support immigrant families who were hit hardest by the pandemic and denied federal aid. We delivered direct assistance to families left last and least to help them weather this crisis. Since the Fund’s launch in April 2020, MAF has distributed over 50,000 grants and counting to immigrant families, small business owners and students. Here is the behind-the-scenes story of how it happened.
Our Vision For The Future
As José Quiñonez, MAF’s CEO, said in the closing of the video, this work isn’t over, and we can’t do it alone. As an organization, we’re moving forward from the same foundation that has guided us the past 14 years: a community-centered approach focused on the people we serve.
Our community-centered approach is actually quite simple. We meet clients where they are and create programs that build on what is good and true in their lives. We work to scale solutions using the best of technology and finance because we know that financial security is foundational to every dream realized. And we use our learnings and insights to advocate and organize our collective power for systemic change.
This community-centered approach is our guide for doing good work that is rooted, timely and relevant to the communities we serve. It’s how we can realize meaningful social change. It’s not just theory.
We start by listening to our clients.
In the wake of the pandemic, immigrants are surviving on just 15% of their pre-pandemic income. Families are falling behind in utility bills and rent. Some owe thousands of dollars that will be hard to pay off in the future. In MAF’s national survey, we found that 4 in 10 families are behind in rent and at risk of eviction.
And it all could have been avoided. Immigrant families were denied up to $11,400 in stimulus checks.
Most families could have paid their monthly bills in full with $1,200. In other words the stimulus checks could have helped immigrant families cover their bills for nine months or more.
We respond to client realities with new products.
MAF is launching the Immigrant Families Recovery Fund (IFRF) with $25 million seed funding to put these insights to work helping families recover.
This fund will provide cash grants of $300 per month for up to two years to 2,500 families with children. MAF’s recovery fund will focus on undocumented immigrants across the country who have been excluded from federal assistance. We’re putting equity front and center to focus on marginalized families with the least income sources and most financial strains.
We’re going beyond cash grants. We are also providing direct, timely and relevant services to help families recover faster with financial coaching, education and self-advocacy training. We plan to evaluate and study everything about our engagement with immigrant families so that we can lift up what works, share stories and push for policy change in real time.
We scale what works.
We are also expanding the tried and true programs that work – we’re building on our long track record of successfully helping families improve their financial lives by expanding our credit-building programs even more.
We are investing over $6M into Lending Circles, our award winning program that is rooted in the timeless tradition of people coming together to help one another. We are investing over $10M in immigration loans to help people apply for citizenship, DACA or green cards. We also plan to invest over $9M in small business owners, entrepreneurs who need their first lender to believe in them and their dream.
We create a culture of engagement.
Financial security is not just about finance. It’s about power and voice. For this reason, we are investing in our technology to enable a culture of engagement for our clients.
The team is hard at work expanding our MyMAF app and SMS platform to provide relevant, accessible information about issues that matter. These technologies are empowering clients to take action from the personal to the national levels. Ultimately, clients can lead the field to better solutions.
This is our vision for showing up and doing more.
We’re investing $70M over the next three years to build our infrastructure and expand our programs to help immigrant families recover faster.
We know that the road ahead to building a more equitable future is a long one, but together we can make sure the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter for immigrant families.
So, how can you help by showing up and doing more?
We invite you to take a look at this webinar recording where we lay out our vision for the next three years.
You can learn more about how to support our programs by reaching out to our philanthropy team at [email protected].
We encourage you to follow along with us on social media for updates as we launch the Immigrant Families Recovery Fund.
Finally, share with us on social media how you are #ShowingUpDoingMore for immigrant and low-income families.