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

DriveForward provides affordable loans to help participants purchase reliable used vehicles and begin the process of repairing 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 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 $83,000 or less (for a family of three)
  • Demonstrate ability to afford loan payments
  • Provide a valid California driver’s license

*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:

Self Help FCU

In countries all of the world, informal lending circles bring community members together to lend and borrow money. From the tandas and cunidas 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 two credit bureaus. With the opportunity to build or repair 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:

  • Earn no more than 80% of the Area Median Family Income
  • Have an active email and checking account
  • Have a valid government issued ID, and Social Security Number or ITIN
  • Demonstrate an ability to afford the loan by providing two months of pay stubs or three months of recent bank statements
How to apply
  1. Go to LendingCircles.org and select Peninsula Family Service as your Lending Circles provider
  2. Complete the online application
  3. Once your application has been submitted, you will be contacted by a Peninsula Family Service representative who will walk you through the next steps
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, call the Financial Empowerment Coordinator, 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 predatory lenders. 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 pre-paid 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 prepaid debit card looks and acts just like a credit card—accepted anywhere a Visa debit card can be used—but you’re 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 or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

How to apply

For both Santa Clara and San Mateo County inquiries, call the Financial Empowerment Coordinator, at 650.403.4300 ext 4105 or by email.

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

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 finemp@peninsulafamilyservice.org.

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.

October 28, 2020virtual 4pm - 7pm
October 31, 2020virtual9am - 12pm
November 4, 2020virtual4pm - 7pm
November 14, 2020virtual9am - 12pm
November 19, 2020virtual4pm - 7pm
December 5, 2020virtual9am - 12pm
December 9, 2020virtual4pm - 7pm

Re-entering the workforce as an older adult can be challenging. Whether you’re coming out of retirement, looking to change careers, or have experienced a layoff, Peninsula Family Service is here to help.

Our Second Careers Employment Program prepares participants for today’s competitive job market through mock-interviews, vocational counseling, goal planning, resume workshops, paid internships, on-the-job-training, and employment referrals.

How it Works

Each participant is matched with a job coach who mentors them through their entire job search process, including:

  • Skills assessment
  • Resume development
  • Employment referrals
  • Interview preparation

For participants needing additional employment training, we provide paid internships at community service and public agencies. These internships offer an unparalleled opportunity to gain valuable on-the-job-experience and current references while participants continue to look for non-subsidized employment.

Do I qualify?

Our Second Careers Employment Program offers job assistance and paid internships to adults who are:

  • Age 55+
  • Unemployed
  • Reside in one of the four counties we serve (San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo)
  • Legally eligible to work in the United States
  • Have an income at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Level

In addition, we provide job search assistance to individuals age 60+ who live in San Mateo county or age 50+ who live in Santa Clara county, regardless of their income level.

How do I apply?

Those interested in joining our Second Careers Employment program are invited to schedule an in-person meeting by contacting Brenda Brown, Director of Second Careers, at 650.403.4300 ext. 4385 or by email.

Employ an Older Worker

Our Second Careers Employment program relies on public agencies, organizations, and businesses who appreciate the skills older workers have to offer. If you have an open position to fill, would like to host an intern, or hire a participant on trial through our on-the-job experience program, please contact Brenda Brown, Director of Second Careers Employment Program, at 650.403.4300 ext.4385 or by email.

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

Did You Know?