Mission Asset Fund (MAF) is a San Francisco-based nonprofit whose mission is to create a fair financial marketplace by expanding access to financial services, savings, and investment opportunities for low-income communities. MAF fills key gaps through offerings such as Lending Circles, immigration fee loans, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal assistance grants.
José Quiñonez, the founder of MAF, is a finalist for the San Francisco Chronicle's fifth annual Visionary of the Year Award, which salutes leaders who strive to make the world a better place and drive social and economic change through employing new, innovative business models and practices.
In 2016, the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFE) sought to augment their SF Energy Watch direct install program by offering targeted, low interest loans to cover project "co-pays" (out of pocket costs) for qualifying small businesses. Through a competitive solicitation, SFE awarded MAF a seed grant to co-develop and incorporate MAF's ability to provide small, zero interest "microloans" to help SF Energy Watch customers; the following year, the offering was expanded to include the East Bay Energy Watch. Not only does the program increase access to energy efficiency for cash strapped micro-businesses contending with high Bay Area costs, but because MAF reports repayments to credit bureaus, borrowers improve their credit ratings, which in turn opens additional financial opportunities.
With the approval of the BayREN Business Plan in 2018, including new Commercial programs, MAF is now working with SFE to extend this unique offering to the entire Bay Area small business community.