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March 2021 recap

To be completely frank with you, this letter has been one of the hardest to write. We have so many things we’d like to celebrate with you—and we will—but it’s also been a trying time.

Our hearts ache for the lives and livelihoods lost in a year of this pandemic. Our team is majority people of color and one quarter identify as AAPI, so this month on top of this year on top of our whole lives experiencing various flavors of inequity and injustice—has been a lot.

While we’re continuously processing individually and collectively, we can say with certainty that we’re more committed than ever to building a world of inclusive opportunity, to co-creating impactful strategies with community leaders around the U.S., and to supporting our team wholeheartedly.

It's bittersweet that Mission Driven Finance has been growing like a wildflower through this time. I'm hopeful that our growth is due to more folks remembering our shared humanity and that there are better ways to operate together.
The inaugural cohort of Community Finance Fellows (L–R): Benson Ochira, Essence Rodriguez, Louise Jordan, Crystal Sevilla, and Andrew Moncada
I joked with our team that the only way to make sense of this month was to list things without trying to stitch together a coherent narrative. Maybe that wasn’t a joke.

> MDF turned five years old last week! Investment strategies are making moves At MDF, every month is Black Futures Month, Women’s History Month, Indigenous People’s Month, AAPI Awareness Month, Latinx Heritage Month, and many more, but in March we specifically recognized: The inaugural Community Finance Fellows graduated today!
  • They’ve individually and collectively grown so much in our year together
  • Helped move more than $7M into the community
  • And taught us a thing or two about changing the face of finance, access to finance, and our own understanding of finance
  • Our goal is to launch the second cohort this summer. If you want to help make that happen, please consider making a donation via the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego (select designation of funds: other + enter MDF Impact Fund) or reach out.
[VIDEO] Fellows Reflect on Their Experiences
Stay well and take care of each other,
Lauren Grattan
Lauren Grattan
Co-Founder & Chief Community Officer
Borrower Central

Loans for small businesses & nonprofits that support people on the move

The People on the Move program serves organizations that better the lives of immigrants, refugees, low-income economic migrants, and survivors of trafficking. Learn more and take the next steps for a loan here.

Quick links:
Get Started

COVID-19 loans for nonprofits

Dreams for Change programsCongratulations to Dreams for Change for receiving a loan through the San Diego County COVID-19 Small Business & Nonprofit Loan Program!

Dreams for Change responds to the needs of communities by creating innovative and cost-effective programs to empower and stabilize the lives of underserved families and individuals, having supported more than 33,000 people so far through cost-effective interventions.

Interest-free nonprofit loans are still available. Please share with San Diego leaders you know!
Explore Nonprofit Loans
Know a small business or nonprofit doing great work but could use additional capital to have an even greater impact? ⤵
Refer a Borrower
Investor Central

Advance Strategy

In case you missed it, Living Cities committed $2 million to Advance as part of their mission to close racial income and wealth gaps in the U.S. Communities across the country are curious about how we are shaking things up here in San Diego.

The MDF team with Robert CarterCongratulations to Carter Transportation Group on joining the Advance family.

Carter Transportation Group is a minority-owned general freight delivery service that operates nationwide. They know that hiring from your community is one of the best ways to make an impact. Ninety percent of their current team are BIPOC and they’re looking to hire formerly incarcerated and justice-involved individuals as they grow.

A child reads on a sofaCongrats also to BrainLeap Technologies which creates assessment tools and video games to train attention skills in children. 

We love the innovation we saw in BrainLeap in its approach to addressing attention challenges in children, and we recognize that the three co-founders—Jeff Coleman, Dr. Leanne Chukoskie, and Dr. Jeanne Townsend—all bring in diverse professional and industry experiences and connections.

Freedom100 Fund

Okunlola and family

Last month, the Freedom100 Fund provided $9,000 of a $10,000 bond to free Okunlola (pictured here). Okunlola was immediately reunited with his family, thanks to the persistence of Freedom for Immigrants and the power of the Freedom100 Fund.

As of February 28, seventy-nine people have been freed from ICE jails and prisons thanks to our community of investors and donors.
See Our Impact Areas

Updates from our portfolio: What else we're reading:

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