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Access Youth Academy









After growing for 12 years in donated and rented facilities, Access Youth Academy is building a dedicated space, transforming a vacant lot in Southeast San Diego. Mission Driven Finance structured bridge funding with Alliance Healthcare Foundation to cover pre-development costs in this New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) project.

What they do

Access Youth Academy, a San Diego nonprofit, transforms the lives of underserved youth through academic mentorship and urban squash. Over a 12-year commitment from 7th grade through two years post-college graduation, Access helps youth thrive. Students embark on a curriculum of intellectual, physical, and social development where academic enrichment, sports training, and financial support combine to help them realize their full potential.

Access also provides pathways to elite colleges for underserved youth by tapping into underused athletic scholarships for squash. Since 2002, Access students have earned $6,300,000 in scholarships. 100% of Access alumni have graduated from high school and gotten accepted to college.

What they stand for

Access Youth Academy supports the long-term development of middle and high school students. They provide academic enrichment, sports training, and financial support to underserved students.

Why we invested

We collaborated with Civic San Diego, Alliance Healthcare Foundation, and The San Diego Foundation to coordinate an $800,000 pre-development bridge loan. This loan unlocked $12M to build the new facility.

With this new space, Access can reach more kids with ease. The new building will have more connectivity to the community and public transit. Having a dedicated building allows them to serve more first-generation college students and to earn income from the space during off-hours.

Check out our blog post about our collaborative funding process supporting Access Youth Academy.


06/2021 — Access Youth Academy moved into its new facility, which will enable the organization to serve more student-athletes.

07/2020 — An episode of the Apple TV+ show Little America is based on the inspiring true story of an Access alumna.

07/2020 — Access Youth Academy successfully repaid their Advance loan! They will soon open a new state-of-the-art squash and learning center to provide services to over 1,000 local students—880 more students than its current facility. Watch their interview with FOX 5 KSWB-TV & KUSI-TV to learn more.

Impact Segment

Inclusive infrastructure

Impact Vehicle

Advance Strategy

Date of Investment

January of 2019

Impact Geography

San Diego


Renato Paiva,
Executive Director

Year Founded



Successfully repaid