Portfolio Partner Profile

Self Help Enterprises

Formed in 1965, Self-Help Enterprises (SHE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to self-help housing, sewer and water development, housing rehabilitation, multifamily housing, and homebuyer programs in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The goal of SHE is to help farm laborers and other low-income families to help themselves. This concept of "self-help" is based upon the conviction that, given the proper tools, individuals can and will do the work necessary to improve their living conditions. SHE follows its mission to improve the lives of low-income residents in the San Joaquin Valley through housing and related programs and services. As of 2016, Self-Help Enterprises has helped over 6,100 homeowners build their homes. Self-Help Enterprises has also repaired over 6,000 homes and provided over 9,800 individuals and families with homeownership education and counseling. Under their sustaining neighborhoods initiatives, Self-Help has assisted over 2,000 homeowners with buying a home on the open market as well as over 29,800 families with safe drinking water and sanitary sewer infrastructure. In total, Self-Help has impacted the lives of over 55,000 individuals.

Featured Impact Story


Impact Story

SHE scholarships

Mercedes Rosales of Exeter was awarded one of two $1,000 scholarships from Self-Help Enterprises, a community development organization whose mission is to work together with low-income families to build and sustain healthy homes and communities. Mercedes’ family purchased a home in Exeter after participating in Self-Help Enterprises’ (SHE) housing counseling and education program. She graduated with honors from Fresno State where she studied sociology. She plans to pursue her master’s degree with the goal of becoming an academic advisor/school counselor. The scholarships are named after Doris “Do” Dooley, former SHE Board member and dedicated friend of the organization. It was established to help the children of families who have participated in one of SHE’s programs to further their education. The students are selected by SHE’s board of directors based on academic merit and commitment to community service. “Self-Help Enterprises is proud to award these scholarships to students in the communities we serve,” said Tom Collishaw, CEO of Self-Help Enterprises. “We applaud their achievements and are honored to support the next generation of leaders in their pursuit of higher education.” The Doris “Do” Dooley Scholarship is possible because of the vision and generosity of many people including the Dooley family. Since 1997, Self-Help Enterprises has awarded 123 scholarships totaling $98,750 to deserving students.

Impact Story

Goshen Village Book Nook


Nearly one-third of adults living in Tulare County are functionally illiterate, 10% higher than the state average. Just as it strives to help low-income families find safe, affordable housing, Self-Help Enterprises wants to make sure children have every opportunity to avoid pitfalls of not being able to read. On June 4, Self-Help Enterprises (SHE) opened the doors to the Goshen Village Book Nook with a ribbon cutting celebration at Goshen Village Apartments. The Book Nook, housing over 500 children’s and young adults’ books, is the first of five onsite literacy centers designated to increase access to reading materials and support family literacy in rural communities. Children and teens at Goshen Village can use the cozy, woodland-themed Book Nook to read a diverse selection of books during the onsite after-school program hours. “This is a collaborative effort that creates a literacy enriched environment for kids to explore, learn, and enhance their reading skills,” said Tom Collishaw, President and CEO of Self-Help Enterprises. “We are committed to creating safe learning environments for residents and their children.” The Goshen Village Apartments, like the community of Goshen, has residents who are bilingual or whose primary language is Spanish. Therefore, children’s books are available in Spanish to encourage reading among Spanish speaking families. The opening of the Book Nook is timed with the ending of the school year, as the new Book Nook increases educational opportunities for children who have limited access to books, especially during the summer break.

Impact Story

Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability


Residents in Porterville and the surrounding communities who rely on private water wells as their primary source of drinking water may have been consuming water with contaminants such as nitrates. Self-Help Enterprises, a community development organization that works with communities on water and wastewater issues, offered free water well testing to help residents learn about their water quality. The program, funded by the Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability (CV SALTS), collected and tested water samples at no cost to the resident. Norma Garcia, who lives on a ranch near Porterville with her husband and two toddlers, participated in the program and learned that her well water was unsafe. “When I got the call I immediately stopped using the water,” says Garcia. “I was worried about my children’s health, so I stopped using it for cooking and even washing food.” “Thousands of Tulare County residents rely on private wells, and don’t know what contaminants are in their drinking water,” says Abigail Solis, a Community Development Specialist with Self-Help Enterprises. Thanks to Self-Help Enterprises, more people are becoming aware of the healthiness of their water supply in Tulare County.

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Sectors and Topics:

Affordable Housing
Community Development


North America


United States

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