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 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:

Self Help FCU

Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE) has partnered with Peninsula Family Service (PFS) to help low-to-moderate income individuals. Electric Vehicles are better for the environment and can save you over $1,000 a year on fueling and maintenance costs! There is an incentive of up to $4,000.

How it Works

Apply to the DriveForward Program to receive, free financial coaching, affordable vehicle loans, and an incentive up to $4,000 on the purchase of a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.

Do I qualify?
  • Live in San Mateo County
  • Annual income less than $51,040 for an individual, $68,960 for a family of two, and $104,800 for a family of four
  • Ability to charge the vehicle at home or work
Steps to qualify:
  1. Attend a PFS Financial Education Workshop
  2. Meet one-on-one with a PFS Credit Specialist
  3. If approved, find a reliable used vehicle and get it inspected
  4. Purchase a qualified vehicle

Download Flyer in English 
Download Flyer in Spanish

Call the Financial Empowerment Coordinator, at 650.403.4300 ext 4105 or by email.

In countries all of 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.

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.

Wednesday, April 74pm ? 7pm  
Saturday, April 109am ? 12pm
Thursday, April 154pm ? 7pm
Wednesday, April 284pm ? 7pm(Spanish)
Wednesday, May 54pm ? 7pm
Saturday, May 159am ? 12pm
Thursday, May 204pm ? 7pm
Wednesday, June 94pm ? 7pm
Saturday, June 129am ? 12pm
Thursday, June 174pm ? 7pm
Wednesday, June 304pm ? 7pm(Spanish)
Wednesday, July 74pm ? 7pm
Saturday, July 109am ? 12pm
Thursday, July 224pm ? 7pm
Saturday, August 79am ? 12pm
Wednesday, August 114pm ? 7pm
Thursday, August 194pm ? 7pm
Tuesday, August 314pm ? 7pm(Spanish)
Thursday, September 24pm ? 7pm
Saturday, September 119am ? 12pm
Wednesday, September 224pm ? 7pm
Saturday, October 99am ? 12pm
Wednesday, October 134pm ? 7pm
Tuesday, October 194pm ? 7pm(spanish)
Thursday, October 214pm ? 7pm
Wednesday, November 34pm ? 7pm
Saturday, November 69am ? 12pm
Tuesday, November 94pm ? 7pm
Wednesday, December 14pm ? 7pm(spanish)
Saturday, December 119am ? 12pm
Wednesday, December 154pm ? 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.

Mature Worker Job Coaching Program

In 2000, the ratio of older workers (55+) participating in the U.S. labor force was 13 percent; by 2050, this is projected to increase to 24 percent. Within Santa Clara County, there are more than 175,000 older workers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2013), and this number will continue to grow. Peninsula Family Service and NOVA Job Center have joined forces to ensure that this significant population receives the necessary services to remain competitive within the Silicon Valley workforce.

-One-on-one job-search coaching
-Hiring perspectives directly from local employers
-PEER (Professional Experienced Employees Roundtable) groups
-Exchange ideas on career and job-search topics
-Discuss & set realistic job-search goals
-Establish new network connections
-Special workshops addressing mature worker topics
          First Impressions & Presenting a Vibrant Image
          Managing Income in Later Career Stages
          Navigating the Multigenerational Workforce

-Resident of Santa Clara County
-Age 50+
-Legal right to work in US

To learn more, contact: Anne van Tonningen
Email: avantonningen@peninsulafamilyservice.org


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?