The Insight Center provided legal support for the selection and formation of legal and governance structures for the Mission Asset Fund (MAF). MAF was established to help low-income, mostly immigrant residents of the San Francisco Mission District build a more secure economic future for themselves and their families through asset building—access to financial services, savings, and investment opportunities.
MAF grew out of Levi Strauss & Company’s decision to earmark a $1 million contribution for a Mission economic-development fund. The contribution represented a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the company’s former garment factory located in the Mission. A volunteer steering committee, comprised of six community leaders and a Levi Strauss Foundation representative, was formed to develop the fund, and it identified meaningful community participation in the fund’s design and operation as an important value. The committee undertook an extensive community-engagement process to explore residents’ visions of the fund and priorities in building their economic futures. Over 300 residents participated in individual conversations and community forums.
It was determined that a nonprofit membership corporation was the entity best suited to incorporating community participation while achieving the fund’s other objectives. The new corporation’s governing documents institutionalize community participation by providing that the majority of its board members be residents of the Mission.