Skinny Gene Project founder Marlayna Bollinger presents in front of the audience at the CitySAIL pitch competition in July. Photo courtesy of CitySAIL.

Skinny Gene Project founder Marlayna Bollinger presents in front of the audience at the CitySAIL pitch competition in July. Photo courtesy of CitySAIL.

The Skinny Gene Project, a San Diego-based nonprofit working to prevent Type 2 Diabetes, raised a $100,000 impact loan from Mission Driven Finance. It will use the additional funding to acquire compliant data systems and grow its workforce.

The company, led by Executive Director Marlayna Bollinger, brings diabetes prevention programs to at-risk communities. For example, it provides one-on-one counseling, online classes and community cooking classes to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

It also screens patients who might not know that they had blood sugar levels within a prediabetic range, or reported other signs that they might likely be prediabetic.

Bollinger incorporated the Skinny Gene Project’s parent company, the J Moss Foundation, after Congress authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish the National Diabetes Prevention Program. It was started to create partnerships between public and private organizations to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. The Skinny Gene Project said it was one of the first organizations in San Diego to join the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

Sustainable Business Model

Two months ago, the Skinny Gene Project graduated from City SAIL, a local business accelerator for nonprofit companies put on by Mission Edge and funded by the City of San Diego. The program provides nonprofit startups with business tools and mentorship, helping founders develop sustainable business models that bring in earned revenue with donations.

Bollinger said the nine-week program was helpful in accelerating her company’s growth.

Important Guidance

“The City SAIL Program helped me reframe my whole understanding of our business and propel us forward,” she said in a news release

City SAIL was a spinoff of Mission Edge’s SAIL accelerator, which it started in 2017. To date, more than 40 organizations have graduated from the accelerator programs

The next cohort for Mission Edge’s SAIL program will take place in spring of 2020 and applications will open in January.

“SAIL is designed to help nonprofits and social enterprises ask and answer key questions about their business model and the impact they will have in the community. It encourages them to define and communicate the value they are providing in a way that is both sustainable and investment ready,” Mission Edge CEO Ken Davenport said in a news release. “The Skinny Gene Project is a great example of this.”