Mission Asset Fund documents informal lending to help communities rise out of poverty.
Statistically, Jose Quinonez should have been doomed. As a 9-year-old he came to the US from Mexico, newly orphaned. Fast forward 3 decades and he’s got two prestigious degrees, a successful business and a MacArthur grant under his belt.
A ton of work and some help from his community led Jose to UC Davis and then Princeton before he founded the Mission Asset Fund.
The Fund’s designed to help low-income communities put informal lending circles on paper so that their transactions help the community build credit. This snowballs into bigger opportunities, like starting a business or buying a house.
The non-profit helps funnel the loans to people who really need it, like immigrants applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
“This isn’t just a recognition of me. It’s a recognition of the ingenuity of our community, of the people who have to find a way to survive under the hardest circumstances.”
It’s that work that impressed the folks at the MacArthur foundation. They just awarded Jose their “Genius Grant” for his ingenious to solution a problem that’s both common and crippling to low-income communities.