Few organizations have had as much impact as the nonprofit Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF). The Foundation was created 58 years ago, to serve disadvantaged families and individuals in the Los Angeles region. Today, MAOF is the largest Latino-focused family services organization in the United States. MAOF is dedicated to elevating the socio-economic conditions of the Mexican American community, while preserving the pride, values and heritage of its culture. MAOF collaborates with government agencies, public and private foundations, and corporate America to fulfill its mission. At SCE Credit Union, we consider ourselves afortunados to contribute to that effort.
The needs of a diverse community
Simply saying MAOF contributes to a vibrant, self-sufficient Mexican American/Latino population is an understatement. The organization’s services are quite comprehensive, addressing the many, varied needs of a diverse community. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach and so MAOF takes a broad view and remains in a permanent state of growth and expansion.
The Mexican American Opportunity Foundation tackles a multitude of challenges and issues. They include early education, early Head Start and regular Head Start programs. Childcare, an issue at the forefront of our country’s national agenda, is a service MAOF provides. At the other end of the spectrum, MAOF connects people to services for older adults, including transportation and home delivery meal services. They work with food banks and community development organizations. And, all of that just scratches the surface.
Setting the standard
The Mexican American Opportunity Foundation puts an emphasis on education as the foundational tool necessary to build success. Organizational excellence keeps the programs running smoothly and able to adapt. Ethical standards at the MAOF set the standard. Community partnerships, a “hands on” Board of Directors, and strong support from corporate leaders, combine to make MAOF the premier provider of human services in the Greater Latino community of California.
More than 50% of households in L.A. live in liquid asset poverty, meaning they don’t have enough in savings to sustain living above poverty for three months. That number is 76% among Hispanic or Latinos. MAOF financial coaches help with developing budgets, researching financial products, dealing with debt and responsible use of credit.
This is where SCE Credit Union comes in. Susy Contreras, MAOF’s Community Development Director says, “To produce results, our financial coaching relies a great deal on access to products. SCE Credit Union provides accessibility.” Many of the people MAOF works with are dealing with debt, don’t have a good credit score or haven’t established credit yet. “SCE Credit Union has been able to help many of our clients,” Contreras states, then relates a particular success story. “Recently, we referred someone to the Credit Union who was paying 26% on their credit card debt. Now, thanks to SCE Credit Union they’re paying 5% on a loan.” Contreras says SCE Credit Union has helped with car loans and down the road there’s a possibility mortgages could come into play.
From early childhood education to family services, to job training and help for seniors, the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation is like a supermarket of services for the traditionally underserved and often overlooked. For those hoping to turn things around and looking for a chance to improve their circumstances, MAOF is a great place to begin. For many who live in the Golden State, they offer a genuinely golden opportunity.