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The Sisters of the Holy Family are proud to be a sponsor of the RCIF

The Religious Communities Investment Fund’s (RCIF) new $200,000 loan to Mission Neighborhood Centers  (MNC) is sort of like the lifeboat on a ship. Parked on the decks, it’s preferably unused – but it sure comes in handy when you need it.

“Awaiting reimbursement is probably the most stressful part of administering a non-profit,” says MNC executive director Santiago “Sam” Ruiz. That kind of stress “stifles the organization, it keeps us from being creative or from providing access to  immigrants and other populations.”  For an organization that for 50 years has survived and served the neediest in one of San Francisco’s toughest neighborhoods, that kind of stress is unacceptable.  Today MNC’s services include 9 Head Start locations that enroll 360 children and their families, six youth/family centers that reach 1,200 youths between 16 and 24 each year with comprehensive programming, and two senior centers that serve more than 700 bilingual, low-income seniors each year.

Nancy Pelosi during her speech, in the back ED Sam Ruiz, gala chair Tiffany Rasmussen and Board chair Jim Salinas, Sr. (Photo by Katia Fuentes, MNC)

Nancy Pelosi during her speech, in the back ED Sam Ruiz, gala chair Tiffany Rasmussen and Board chair Jim Salinas, Sr. (Photo by Katia Fuentes, MNC)

As MNC celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a gala on April 23, the support of the community for this organization was evident – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke glowingly of MNC’s mission, and supporters included major corporations, foundations and a cross-section of people from the Bay Area.


Yet, as for every non-profit, the day-to-day challenges never recede. RCIF’s loan allows access to working capital, says Ruiz, helping to solve “the perennial problem organizations like Mission face.” Grants and contracts never come with money up front, he explains. “When grants come in there is a time lag between establishing the program and receipt of reimbursement.” So, for instance, MNC’s innovative program with the California Department of Education –the first in California, blending Federal Head Start dollars with CDOE money to provide full-day child care for 198 needy children – cannot survive without available cash. “CDOE only reimburses quarterly,” says Ruiz. But because the loan can be used like a line of credit and dollars replenished when reimbursement arrives, “we know we can meet payroll,” he explains. At a 3 percent interest rate, one which Ruiz says makes MNC’s partners’ “jaws drop,” the loan represents an enormous level of support from the religious communities in RCIF for crucial programs that span the generations.

For more information on Mission Neighborhood Centers, visit www.mncsf.org

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