This month I sat down with Shreya Shah Sasaki, our COO and resident social determinants of health nerd, to discuss her work with local nonprofit MAAC. Shreya has a Masters in Public Health and provides invaluable insight into improving health outcomes through social change. She joined the board of MAAC in November of last year and sits on the Human Resources, Board and Program Excellence, and Fund Development committees.
“For me, it always comes back to social determinants of health. All of MAAC’s impact pathways come back to improving a family’s health outcomes.”
—Shreya Shah Sasaki, COO of Mission Driven Finance and MAAC board member
What first attracted you to MAAC?
They’re great at what they do and have an amazing history of supporting communities in San Diego since 1965. While MAAC started out serving Mexican-American communities in the South Bay, today they serve all communities throughout the county. They also have an amazingly dedicated team. Every employee I’ve interacted with is committed to the MAAC mission and happy to work there. And MAAC is just as committed to their staff as their staff is to them. This commitment is built into their organizational structure and evident with the quality jobs, wages, and benefits they offer.
Which issues that MAAC addresses resonate the most with you personally?
Gosh, I like them all. They’re all connected. For me, it always comes back to social determinants of health. All of MAAC’s impact pathways come back to improving a family’s health outcomes.
I especially love what they do in affordable housing, healthy homes, substance abuse treatment and early childhood development. They run many school readiness programs throughout the County, a community charter school for disadvantaged youth in Chula Vista, create affordable housing and make existing homes healthier, and operate recovery homes for substance abuse. These programs make a measurable difference for each family involved, and they originated from deep listening to what the community needed to feel stable and thrive.
Can you tell me more about the healthy homes project?
MAAC gives low-income households the opportunity to make sorely needed repairs to their homes that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. By utilizing contracts with SDG&E and the State of California, they’re able to offer free weatherization and energy efficiency services, such as replacing inefficient appliances and sealing windows. This doesn’t sound like glamorous work, but from a public health perspective, they’re really doing injury prevention work. If a family is heating their home with the stove because their heater doesn’t work, that’s a huge safety risk.
“If you’re looking to progress on issues of affordable housing, early childhood development, and public health, look to MAAC to see what they’re doing.”
-Shreya Shah Sasaki, COO of Mission Driven Finance and MAAC board member
What is one thing you’d like people to know about MAAC?
A lot of what MAAC is doing for our communities is hard to capture in one sound bite, but they’re doing some amazing things. If you’re looking to progress on issues of affordable housing, early childhood development, and public health, look to MAAC to see what they’re doing.
How does your work with MAAC intersect with what we do at Mission Driven Finance?
MAAC helps individuals in recovery homes connect with job training. During a visit I had with a person in recovery, I discovered that upon recovery program completion, the individual plans on receiving job training with Kitchens for Good. Lucky Bolt, one of our borrowers, aims to hire Kitchens For Good job training graduates!
MAAC also works with many municipalities on affordable housing development. For their mixed use development in Logan Heights, Comm 22, MAAC partnered with San Diego Habitat for Humanity to develop part of the parcel. This is one of the sites where our collaboration with Habitat accelerates affordable homeownership for families through the homebuilding investment strategy.
Visit MAAC’s website to learn more about the incredible work they do here in San Diego.