Somali Family Service

Project Description

Our culturally sensitive investment allowed Somali Family Service to grow a critical economic development program and develop more diversified and sustainable funding.

What they do

Somali Family Service of San Diego (SFS) provides support to East African immigrants and refugees in San Diego

What they stand for

SFS envisions a better quality of life for Somali and other East African immigrant and refugee populations in San Diego. Since its inception, the organization has provided culturally and linguistically appropriate programs and services for New Americans from East Africa. There are nearly 30,000 people who escaped turmoil in Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea who now call San Diego home. SFS supports families in becoming self-sufficient and contributing members of the San Diego community through programs developing leadership skills, financial literacy, health education, and career planning.  

Why we invested

SFS launched an initiative which provides support for transportation micro-enterprises. These provide non-emergency medical transportation and light translation services, which help increase culturally-sensitive access to healthcare and improve economic stability. Our investment provided cash for SFS to run this program while they await reimbursement from City of San Diego Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

We structured this transaction in accordance with Islamic financing principles, thanks to support from The California Endowment, a private donor, and scholar-attorney Umar Moghul of Roberts Moghul Partners.

Read about the investment structure on our blog.

Learn more about Somali Family Service on their website.

Updates:

6/2019 — Our innovative investment with Somali Family Service was featured in Next Billion.

4/2020 — During COVID-19, SFS has been assisting refugees with applications for unemployment assistance and CalFresh food benefits, as well as navigating general questions about online learning, transportation, public health, and mental health. SFS’s COVID-19 response was recently featured in The San Diego Union-Tribune, where President and CEO Ahmed Sahid shared that “the organization normally serves at least 3,000 families a year…but last week alone it served at least 1,000 people…that number will grow in the coming week.” The nonprofit is raising funds to support this growing need with the SFS COVID-19 Relief Fund.

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Project Details

  • Impact SegmentSkills Training & Workforce Development
  • Impact VehicleAdvance
  • Investment Details$200,000 loan made in October 2018
  • Impact GeographySan Diego
  • LeadershipAhmed Sahid, President & CEO
  • Year Founded2000