San Francisco's Carnaval in Trouble

Mission institution facing loss of funding

The Mission Neighborhood Center, which puts on the annual Carnaval festival and has been operating for 50 years, is struggling to keep its books balanced.

The non-profit is stuck in a bind, in danger of losing public funding but without enough money to hire administrators to get private funding.

Were the organization a regular business, "I would have filed for bankruptcy already, honest," director Sam Ruiz told Mission Local.

One problem is that a creditor, bank Wells Fargo, restructured a line of credit, which left the organization with higher monthly payments on the debt.

Generally, non-profits across the city are struggling with lost public money from cutbacks by cash-strapped city and state departments, as well as more difficulty finding private donors with money to spare.

But by nature of its age and its size, if the Mission Neighborhood Center were to fail, it would be a tragic loss for the neighborhood.

And not just because Carnaval is such a great parade and party, but because in a city where it's hard enough to raise children, the early education programs it offers are invaluable. Photo by Tarah Betinol.

Jackson West can thank a similar organization in Seattle for his own pre-school education.

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