About Us

Our Obligation

ACLF was established in response to the financial needs of colonia residents who have no access to traditional financial institution. ACLF is structured on the self-help principles of democracy, that all, even those that have been deemed to be “economically inefficient” by a free market system, should have an opportunity and not necessarily relegated to a status requiring charity or government assistance. ACLF and others have an obligation to develop new and innovative systems that will allow the poor to participate and pull themselves up and join the rest of us, for their sake and ours.

Community Partnership

ACLF board members and staff are driven by a simple belief that the people, given the proper support, can succeed in addressing their needs. For us to succeed, we require the involvement of the people, not as clients, but as participants. As participants, they have a voice in the decision making process, along with the responsibility to ensure the success of the organization. It is only through this community partnership that we can overcome the age-old barriers of exclusion and economic injustice. Our executive board is composed of 2/3 colonia residents and a board committee of colonia resident members is involved in the research and development process.

ACLF is the only loan fund in the region designed to meet the non-traditional needs of the target population, and therefore, the demand for its products remains high and is increasing every day.

Policy Issues

ACLF’s has been extremely successful in providing financial products to colonia residents. We have become a national model for others wanting to serve very low-income families. Our success is directly related to building a CDFI that operates under a new paradigm in which we invest in “futures” and manage risk through cultural relationships, and in the process, become partners in the success of the family.

Our ever growing waiting list is reflective of our structure based on the single underwriting criterion, “the belief that tomorrow will be better because of my effort today.” We have come to understand that poverty is not about the lack of material goods, but about how you see yourself and about your vision of the future. We invest in the success of those who believe in a better future and through their example mentor others to believe in themselves.

Selection Criteria
ACLF has developed selection criteria based on what families and the elderly need to experience an adequate standard of living. We pay special attention to families living in dangerous or overcrowding conditions, families with disabled members, the elderly living on fixed income, and single mother heads of household. Given that the demand is greater than our ability to assist, we use need criteria in selecting families from the waiting list.

To date, ACLF has assisted over 500 families.