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Our Research

San Francisco, EST 2014

Guided by our values, MAF’s research uplifts the good in people’s lives. We know our clients are financially savvy and respect them as the experts in managing their finances — so we focus not only on the barriers they face but also on the strategies that they use to navigate these challenges and achieve their goals. Our research shines a light on their financial journeys and strategies, and use these insights to push for legislation and systemic reform that moves us toward a more equitable financial mainstream.

What data are we drawing from

Over more than a decade, MAF has worked with over 10K clients, building a total loan pool of over $10 million. Our research draws on the unique insights and depth of information we have from these clients. During our engagement in our clients’ financial lives, we are able to collect 800 data points on each individual – spanning the personal and credit profiles of our clients.

Why we do research

The Research team works with the community to put our data and analysis to work for clients. We provide actionable insights, inspired by clients’ financial lives, that we, other financial services providers, philanthropists, policy makers, and members of the community can use to inform our work. By rigorously developing these insights from our programmatic data, we are able to:

  • Support MAF’s core values of meeting our clients where they are, respect their expertise, and build on their strengths and innovations.
  • Help guide the development of future programs that respond to our clients’ needs and realities.
  • Share our learnings with other organizations to help them better work with the communities we serve.
  • Capitalize on our data to help our clients, partners, and others advocate for a fairer financial marketplace.

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

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

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

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

#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  We were inspired

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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