Scaling Impact

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E55: Driving Lasting Economic and Social Change: DreamSpring’s Mission

In this episode of Scaling Impact, Sean Boyce hosts Anne Haynes and Marisa Barrera from DreamSpring to discuss their mission of supporting entrepreneurs and driving economic and social change. They explore the meaning of impact and the importance of equitable access to capital. Additionally, they delve into the role of nonprofit boards in fundraising, building a partnership with CEOs, and maximizing positive change.

Marisa Barrera is the Chief Impact Officer at DreamSpring, bringing over 27 years of experience to her role. With a background in public and international affairs, Marisa is dedicated to driving economic equity and inclusion through her work. Anne Haines, the CEO and President of DreamSpring, is a recognized leader known for her commitment to ethics and excellence. Under her guidance, DreamSpring has become one of the top-performing nonprofit microfinance institutions in the United States, providing funding and support to small businesses across 27 states. Anne’s vision and impact have earned her numerous awards and accolades, making her a respected figure in the industry. Here are a few of the topics we’ll discuss on this episode of Scaling Impact:

  • Equitable access to capital is essential in empowering entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds.
  • Regular communication, exposure to the organization’s work, and in-person meetings keep the board engaged.
  • Dream Springing transitioned from a larger board of directors to a smaller one to enhance governance and leadership excellence.
  • The composition of the board is carefully developed to best support the organization’s short term and long term strategic goals.
  • Technology expertise has been brought onto the board to support the development of Dream Springing’s in-house software.
  • The board’s role is to align its membership with the organization’s strategic goals and ensure impactful outcomes.
  • The episode provides valuable advice and insights for other organizations looking to achieve similar success.


Connecting with Marisa Barrera:

Connecting with Anne Haines:

Connecting with Sean Boyce:


  • 05:08 – “So as a nonprofit community development organization, we’re very committed to putting capital into the hands of underserved entrepreneurs and historically underserved communities. For us to make the broadest space economic and social impact, we believe that combining passion and heart and technology to support the scaling of impact are all critical inputs into some of the desired outcomes.”
  • 13:52 – “Nonprofit boards are also responsible for being advocates for the organization for ensuring sufficient financial resources for an organization, which means nonprofit board of directors mostly do need to get involved in fundraising. I think there are very few nonprofit boards where there isn’t, you know, some kind of fundraising responsibility that is actually a core part of a nonprofit board role.”
  • 25:57 – “And so we do find that it is important to cultivate through the board’s nominating and governance process, really mindful identification of board members who bring the experience, the networks, the background that are needed for a nonprofit’s mission fulfillment.”
  • 06:32 – “And when we are working with small businesses, it’s so important that every entrepreneur around the country, no matter what their background is, men, women, entrepreneurs of color, individuals with a disability, whoever that person is, if they’re dreaming of starting a business and have the tenacity and grit to launch it, we wanna make sure that they’re championed and have access to capital to start that business or to grow the business.”
  • 16:19 Sean: “So how do you keep the board engaged in the work that’s ongoing so that they can also maximize their impact and track progress?” .. Anne: “Certainly it begins before somebody becomes a board member with a series of really thoughtful conversations. There should be a committee of the board of directors or if it’s a very small board to start with, it could be the full board that evaluate who might be potential candidates that would be great for the organization, where the organization would be great for who they are and the passion they have.”