WW Public Policy Fellow José A. Quiñonez receives MacArthur Grant

Jose Quinonez at his office in San Fransisco. (photo courtesy of: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Jose Quinonez at his office in San Fransisco. (photo courtesy: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Among this year’s MacArthur Fellows is 1993 WW Public Policy Fellow José A. Quiñonez. The new “Genius Grant” recipient is the founder and CEO of Mission Asset Fund. This San Francisco-based non-profit works with community lending circles to report repayment to formal financial institutions. Lending circles or rotating credit associations, a traditional cultural practice in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, allow communities to pool their resources and distribute loans to one another. Since many minority, immigrant, and low-income households do not hold bank accounts or use traditional banking services, they have no credit report. This makes obtaining credit cards and bank loans impossible. Mr. Quiñonez’s “visionary leadership is providing low-income and minority families with the means to secure safe credit, participate more fully in the American economy, and obtain financial security,” says the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Mission Asset Fund has facilitated over 6,000 loans totaling $6.2 million in 18 different states.

Mr. Quiñonez earned his B.A. from the University of California at Davis in 1994 and went on to obtain an M.P.A. from Princeton University in 1998. He is one of 23 MacArthur Fellows, each of whom receives a $625,000 no-strings-attached grant over a six-year period.


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