February, 15, 2024 – San Diego, CA – San Diego Foundation and Mission Driven Finance announced today that $5.2 million lent to nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic has been successfully repaid with less than one-tenth of one percent in losses.

“Through this loan program, we were able to quickly assist nonprofits alongside our government and financial services partners, while addressing our region’s most critical needs during a turbulent time,” said James Howell, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer at San Diego Foundation. “San Diego Foundation is committed to serving our community as a proactive and creative solutions provider made possible by a generous donor base and a deep board and staff commitment to impactful investment and fund management.”

The San Diego County COVID-19 Nonprofit Loan Program supported 26 nonprofits offering diverse services throughout the region. These included Angels Foster Family Network, which connects children in foster care with loving families; Anza-Borrego Foundation, which supports education, research, and conservation programs benefiting the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park; and Space 4 Art, which builds a creative regional economy by encouraging innovation and interaction between artists, educators, youth, and community members.

“Remembering the devastation COVID-19 wreaked on our nonprofit ecosystem, it is incredibly powerful and gratifying to see a relief interest-free loan program for nonprofits where over 99% of the capital is repaid, early, to our investors. This program demonstrated that investing in our community generates transformational returns for a more inclusive, prosperous, and connected society,” said Louie Nguyen, CFA, Chief Investment Officer at Mission Driven Finance. “This is of course thanks in no small part to the visionary support of San Diego Foundation and Alliance Healthcare Foundation.”

“The loan helped us pull through in a time of uncertainty. Knowing there’s money coming in stabilized progress on major projects, including purchasing land and formulating a multi-year strategic plan,” said Bri Fordem, Executive Director, The Anza-Borrego Foundation. “The cash flow provided organizational continuity; where other organizations were pulling back; we were able to move forward. It also helped us feel lighter; when things were getting pretty dark due to the pandemic, it helped lift the scarcity mindset and allowed us to think differently about our finances.”

Seeded by San Diego Foundation, the loan program was launched in April 2020 to assist San Diego County communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund provided zero-interest gap financing to San Diego County-based nonprofits, particularly for those providing front-line care to affected communities, with a priority on those serving communities disproportionately affected by the global pandemic and its economic consequences.

“This trust-based loan program helped keep the doors open at many of our safety-net organizations at a critical time during the pandemic, and no doubt supported many individuals and families in need. We were grateful to be in a position to support the community through this important program,” said Sarah Lyman, Executive Director, Alliance Healthcare Foundation, which also invested seed funding in the program.

The loan amounts ranged from $150,000 to $300,000, with loan terms ranging from 18 to 30 months. The loans supported nonprofits with their operations, employee retention (and even growth in some cases), rent, and other vital community programs during a difficult and extraordinary time. Over 91% of the organizations supported by the loan program feature women in key leadership roles, while 95% of organizations feature people of color in leadership positions.

San Diego Foundation plans to reinvest the $5.2 million in housing-related efforts as part of its commitment to much larger impact investing, alongside government, nonprofit, and developer partners, to address this pressing need in our region through the San Diego Housing Fund. The San Diego Housing Fund is an investment fund to improve housing accessibility that partners with investors, developers, and property owners to create housing for all San Diegans.

About Mission Driven Finance

Mission Driven Finance is an impact asset management firm dedicated to building a financial system that ensures good businesses have access to sufficient, affordable capital. Built from the ground up with a single purpose—to make it easy to invest in your community—all of their funds and structured products are designed to close financial gaps that will close opportunity gaps. They work with local and national investors to help them create the impact they want and work with businesses and community partners to help them get the capital they need. Mission Driven Finance was launched in 2016 in San Diego, CA, and is a Certified B Corporation. In 2023, Mission Driven Finance was selected for ImpactAssets’ IA 50 Fund Manager list, a category for experienced impact fund managers with a minimum three-year track record. Learn more at missiondrivenfinance.com.

About San Diego Foundation

San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region. Our strategic priorities include advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy to realize our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities. For more than 48 years, SDF and its donors have granted $1.7 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at SDFoundation.org.


Lorena Nava Ruggero, San Diego Foundation, lruggero@sdfoundation.org, 619-814-1365