Client: Dr. Janiece Mackey, founder of Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA)
Client Location: Denver, CO
CDFI Service Area: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, IL, KS, MO, NC, NE, NM, NV, NY, OK, TX, UT, WA, WY
Financing and technical assistance, with support from the Finance Justice Fund
As a student in the Colorado public school system, Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) founder Dr. Janiece Mackey often felt like she was slipping through the cracks. At the age of 25, after doctoral studies in education, she founded YAASPA to create opportunities in the social sciences and public sector for local African American youth. Today YAASPA provides young people with innovative programs that encourage civic engagement, racial identity development, and career self-efficacy.
When the organization found itself already at the brink of its capacity and facing additional demand for its programs generated by the racial justice movement and COVID-19 pandemic, YAASPA turned to DreamSpring. YAASPA needed funding to meet the basic needs of the community, including helping with food deliveries and health access while also creating collaborative healing spaces so youth could talk, process, and heal. DreamSpring stepped in to assist YAASPA with applying for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding as well as other financial support.
With the help of DreamSpring, YAASPA has grown with a slate of new staff hires, an expanded internship program, a coalition of Black community leaders, and the addition of new career pathways programming in public health and public administration.
“Thanks to the loan from DreamSpring, we didn’t have to reduce our services. We were able to engage with the community in ways we hadn’t before. We knew we were going to need much more capacity, whether it was just us holding space, or broadening our work,” said Dr. Mackey.