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Nile Sisters Development Initiative









What they do

Founded by Elizabeth Lou in 2001, the mission of the Nile Sisters Development Initiative (NSDI) is to educate, support, and offer training to refugee and immigrant women and their families to help them overcome barriers to social and economic self-reliance.

Fleeing Sudan’s civil wars in 1999 and arriving in the U.S. as a refugee with a college degree in public health, Elizabeth quickly realized the culture shock and discrimination immigrants and refugees face when adjusting to American life.

Elizabeth set out to provide services such as culturally informed training in nursing careers to help refugees and immigrants arriving in their new home country. For her work, Elizabeth received the President’s Volunteer Service Award from U.S. President Barack Obama in 2012.

Why we invested

NSDI’s leadership team sought funding from an impact-aligned lender to finance the acquisition of a 12,000-square-foot building to expand operations and course offerings in order to serve more refugees and immigrants.

Located in the City Heights neighborhood near major transit, this new property allows the organization to offer licensed vocational nurse (LVN), home health aide, and phlebotomy training programs, in addition to their existing certified nursing assistant (CNA) training course. The building’s tenants will include other organizations which support the community such as union organizations, a long-term legal clinic, and other nonprofits.

Mission Driven Finance invested in NSDI from both the San Diego-focused Advance Strategy and the national People on the Move portfolio which offers commercial loans to organizations empowering immigrants, refugees, asylees, low-income economic migrants, and survivors of trafficking. One in four San Diegans is born outside of the U.S. Supporting NSDI’s ability to grow their career training programs for newcomers in San Diego was a mutual win for Advance and People on the Move.

Mission Driven Finance also invited Civic Communities, a local lender, to join us on this investment. Together, we are helping NSDI serve more immigrants and refugees.


In 2024Q1, Mission Driven Finance sold the Nile Sisters Development Initiative loan to co-investor Civic Communities, which allows us to redeploy the capital to support other impact-focused entrepreneurs. Exiting via an early sale to a community creditor left Nile Sisters in a good place.

Impact Segment

Skills training & workforce development

Impact Vehicles

Advance Strategy

People on the Move

Dates of Investments

August 2022

Impact Geography

San Diego, California


Elizabeth Lou

Year Founded



Loan was sold to Civic Communities