Financial Empowerment Logo and Description of Services

We are working to permanently break cycles of debt and vulnerability through financial workshops, asset and credit-building tools, and alternatives to predatory lenders.



Youth Financial Workshop Series

This workshop empowers teens to navigate the complex financial landscape of adulthood, ensuring they have the tools and resources to thrive and face financial challenges head-on. Participants will gain independence, responsibility, emergency preparedness, credit management, life skills, and ways to reduce stress.

Score prizes while learning! A gift card will be awarded to all participants for each session.


Daly City Series
Ages: 15 – 19 years
When: 6 week series on Tuesdays
March 12 – April 16, 2024, 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: 450 Martin St, Daly City, CA 94014 (Bayshore Community Center)

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San Mateo Series
Ages: 15 – 19 years
When: 6 week series on Thursdays
March 14 – April 18, 2024, 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: 24 Second Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401 (Peninsula Family Service)

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Financial Empowerment – Youth Financial Workshops or call 650.403.4300 x4105

We offer no-cost Financial Education Workshops. Each three-hour workshop covers the important topics of budgeting, money management, ways to build credit, and the benefits of using credit. To register please contact our Lending Support Specialist, at 650.403.4300 ext. 4105 or by email at

Our partner GRID works with low-income homeowners to install no-cost rooftop solar panels and help lower household electricity costs. Each installation is also an opportunity for community members and job trainees to get hands-on experience with solar power.

Our partner Peninsula Clean Energy is a community-controlled, not-for-profit, joint powers agency formed as a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program by San Mateo County and all 20 of its cities and towns in 2016, and joined by the City of Los Banos in 2020.

San Mateo and Santa Clara County Financial Empowerment Workshops

NOTE: All workshops will be held via Zoom.
Call us at 650-403-4300 x4105 to confirm a workshop. We will then email you the link and log-in information for that workshop.

Wednesday, January 104pm - 7pm
Saturday, January 139am - 12pm
Wednesday, January 244pm - 7pm (Spanish)
Saturday, January 279am - 12pm
Wednesday, February 74pm - 7pm
Saturday, February 109am - 12pm
Wednesday, February 214pm - 7pm
Saturday, February 249am - 12pm (Spanish)

DriveForward provides affordable loans to help participants purchase reliable used vehicles and begin the process of improving their credit. Life is infinitely more challenging when you must rely solely on public transportation; commutes become longer, errands more difficult, and arriving on time to work or school nearly impossible.

Many of the people we help are unable to cover expensive repairs on aging vehicles, cannot afford the high costs of buying a new car, or do not qualify for affordable loans through mainstream lenders. Through DriveForward, participants gain access to an affordable loan with the power to strengthen their personal and financial stability.

How it works

After applying, participants attend a financial workshop covering budgeting, money management, and the reasons and ways to utilize credit. Participants then meet one-on-one with a member of our Financial Empowerment Team to review their loan application, develop a working budget, and credit report.

Once completed, loan applications are reviewed by our Loan Committee. Upon approval, participants can begin looking for a vehicle! A third-party certified mechanic performs an inspection prior to purchase, ensuring vehicles are safe and qualify for financing.

Do I qualify?

To qualify, participants should:

  • Live or work in San Mateo or Santa Clara Counties
  • Have an annual household income of $101,000 or less (for a family of three)
  • Demonstrate ability to afford loan payments
  • Provide a valid California driver’s license by loan funding

*Income limits change each year and vary by county and family size. Please contact us for more information.

How to Submit Your Interest Form

Click the button below to begin your Interest Form Submission online, or contact a member of our Financial Empowerment team.

Submit Interest Form
  • For both Santa Clara and San Mateo County inquiries, call our Financial Empowerment Coordinator, at 650.403.4300 ext 4105 or by email.

Peninsula Family Service operates its programs and services without regard to race, color and national origin in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Any participant who believes she or he has been aggrieved by any unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI may file a complaint with Peninsula Family Service using this form.

Local support for this program provided in part by:

In countries all over the world, informal lending circles bring community members together to lend and borrow money. From the tandas and cundinas of Mexico to the hui of Asia, nearly every culture has a system for peer-to-peer lending.

In partnership with Mission Asset Fund, we offer Lending Circles, an innovative program that turns this decades-old tradition into a credit-building opportunity by reporting monthly loan payments to all three credit bureaus. With the opportunity to build or improve your credit, you gain access to more affordable loans, join the financial mainstream, and build up your emergency savings.

How it works

After applying online, participants attend an online or in-person financial education workshop to become more financially savvy and maximize the program’s impact. Then, six to twelve participants come together to form a Lending Circle and decide on a loan amount ($300 to $2400).

When the Lending Circle begins, each participant makes the same monthly payment ($50 to $200), which our partner, Mission Asset Fund, reports to the three credit bureaus (Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®). The loan recipient rotates every month until the entire Circle has received their loan. For example, 10 participants can form a Circle and agree to each contribute $50 a month, meaning a 10 month loan term for a total loan amount of $500.

Do I qualify?

To qualify, participants should:

  • Have an active email and checking account
  • Have a valid government issued ID, and Social Security Number or ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number)
  • Demonstrate an ability to afford the loan by providing two months of pay stubs and three months of recent bank statements
How to apply

Contact our Financial Empowerment Lending Support Specialist at 650.403.4300 ext 4105 or by email.

Upcoming Information Sessions

Peninsula Family Service is able to offer Lending Circles thanks to a partnership with Mission Asset Fund (MAF). As founders of this innovative program, MAF collaborates with select nonprofit partners to create credit-building opportunities across the country.

For both Santa Clara and San Mateo County inquiries, contact our Financial Empowerment Lending Support Specialist at 650.403.4300 ext 4105 or by email.

Without a bank account, families pay a premium to use check cashing services, losing their hard-earned income to these high service fee providers. What’s preventing them from joining the financial mainstream?  Often lacking financial role models of their own, unbanked individuals can find banks intimidating, may be unable to meet minimum balances, and worry about overdraft fees or fines.

In collaboration with Community Financial Resources, we offer a VISA prepaid debit card to give participants immediate access to funds with no monthly fees. By using direct deposit, paychecks can automatically be loaded onto the debit card, eliminating the need for costly check cashing. Funds are not only more accessible, but more easily tracked, helping families keep an eye on spending and develop better financial habits.

How it works

Our VISA prepaid debit card can be used wherever VISA is accepted. Unlike a credit card, you are spending your own money instead of borrowing from a bank. Via direct deposit, participants can load the card with their paycheck, benefits such as Social Security, and even tax refunds. That money is immediately available with no fees or waiting in line to cash a check. Using a debit card instead of cash creates an online transaction history to help participants track expenses and keep spending in line.

Do I qualify?

To qualify, participants should have a Social Security Number.

How to apply

For both Santa Clara and San Mateo County inquiries, contact our Financial Empowerment Lending Support Specialist at 650.403.4300 ext 4105 or by email.

We are able to offer our VISA prepaid debit program thanks to a partnership with Community Financial Resources (CFR). As founders of this innovative program, CFR collaborates with select community-based organizations to encourage beneficial money-management behaviors among low to moderate-income households.

Learn More

Interested in applying for one of our Financial Empowerment programs? Click the button below to fill out an interest form. Once submitted, a member of our Financial Empowerment team will contact you to assist with the next steps in the process.

Submit Interest Form

Have questions or need help applying? Contact us today.


Our Financial Empowerment programs are offered at:

Our main office in San Mateo:
24 Second Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94401
Our San Jose office:
2635 N. First Street, Suite 248
San Jose, CA 95134