Marin Family Action (MFA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower low-income families and individuals to actively participate in improving their social and economic quality of life. We are a 501(c)(3) agency working to help create affordable and sustainable living for all in Marin County.
MFA is very passionate about the work it provides and feels that if our constituents know their right as consumers, and are shown the proper steps to address their financial matters, we will make a change, not only in their personal lives but also in the broader community.
Our objective is to educate families and individuals on using resources provided by MFA, including understanding their credit reports, their rights as consumers, dealing with credit card company’s, answering credit card judgments, filing for bankruptcy, and understanding how to stabilize their finances through adult and youth financial literacy workshops.
When the mortgage bubble burst in 2008, the non-profit added programs to help save homes from foreclosure.
(Image above: Executive Director Manny Fernandez in front of the Marin Justice Center which houses the offices of Marin Family Action.)
Marin Family Action was started in 1988 by Dorothy Hughes, who is included in Marin Women's Hall of Fame. She was known an an organizer who was always there when needed. (Community Action Marin named a Humanitarian Award after Dorothy Hughes.)
Manny Fernandez began giving free seminars in homeless and transitional housing facilities in Marin County. His seminars helped low-income families understand the steps needed to resolve credit problems and obtain affordable housing. The seminars developed into a program, which later merged with the already-established Marin Family Action (MFA).
In 2003, Manny became Executive Director of Marin Family Action. After four years of utilizing office space in the First United Methodist Church in San Rafael, MFA was asked by the Marin Community Foundation to participate in a one-stop shop of resources at the Marin Justice Center in San Rafael. Through MFA, Manny has been able to assist families in locating affordable housing, obtaining health insurance for children, repairing credit, gaining control of their financial situations, and learning the basics of home ownership.
Marin Family Acton's mission is to assist everyone who comes into the office find affordable housing. Due to the economic slowdown, MFA added services to guide families in severe financial need, which includes filing for bankruptcy and saving homes from foreclosure.
When the mortgage bubble burst, the non-profit started with one family by trying to obtain a loan modification to avoid foreclosure. It quickly became apparent that mortgage loan modifications were not working in most situations; modifications were not being processed based on government programs even though billions of taxpayer dollars were slated to avoid foreclosure.
(Image: Manny with his son, Nick, being honored at Heart of Marin Awards.)
Through Manny, Marin Family Action's focus has changed to Neighborhood Safety Programs, beginning with Neighborhood S.A.F.E. (Safe and Friendly Environment) in Novato, California. This is a pilot program started with a multi-pronged approach at making our neighborhoods and is supported by Novato Supervisor Judy Arnold, The Novato Police and Fire Departments, block captains on each street, and Union Bank.