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Native Initiatives
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The CDFI Fund's Native Initiatives are designed to overcome identified barriers to financial services in Native Communities. These initiatives seek to increase the access to credit, capital and financial services in Native Communities through the creation and expansion of CDFIs primarily serving Native Communities.

The origin of the Native Initiatives dates back to September 1994 when Congress passed the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act which created the CDFI Fund and mandated that it conduct a study of lending and investment practices on Indian reservations and other lands held in trust by the United States. Specifically, the study recognized barriers to private financing, identified the impact of such barriers on access to capital and to credit for Native peoples, and provided options to address these barriers.

Since the November 2001 release of the Native American Lending Study, the CDFI Fund has embarked on a number of initiatives designed to overcome barriers preventing access to credit, capital and financial services in Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities (collectively referred to as "Native Communities").

Specifically, the Native Initiatives work to overcome these barriers through two principle strategies:

  • a complementary series of training programs that seeks to foster the development of new Native CDFIs, strengthen the operational capacity of existing Native CDFIs, and guide Native CDFIs in the creation of important financial education and asset building programs for their respective communities; and

  • a funding program, known as the Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program (description below), that is targeted to increasing the number and capacity of existing or new Native CDFIs.

In addition, in July 2009 the CDFI Fund released its Native Initiatives Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2009-2014 to build upon this record of success. In preparing this plan, the CDFI Fund reviewed and analyzed data from three main sources: the Native American Lending Study; feedback from listening sessions conducted in fiscal years 2007 and 2008; and trends and data analysis from the NACA Program applications and awards since fiscal year 2004. Subject to the funding and resource availability, the CDFI Fund will use this Strategic Plan to guide the implementation of its Native Initiatives.

Most recently, the CDFI Fund launched the “Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities” study, which will provide policy-makers, tribal governments, tribal community organizations, and economic development practitioners with detailed analysis and quantitative research that can lead to actionable recommendations for improving access to capital and credit in Native Communities. The final report will be available to the public. View the current status of the study at www.cdfifund.gov/nativestudy.

Furthermore if you have questions, comments, or seek more information about the programs below please contact the Native Initiative team members directly: Click Here.

Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program

Through the NACA Program, the CDFI Fund provides funding to build the community development capacity of Certified Native CDFIs, Emerging Native CDFIs, and Sponsoring Entities, and to increase access to capital in Native Communities. Funding is offered in two forms:

  • Financial Assistance (FA) awards - The CDFI Fund makes awards of up to $750,000 to certified Native CDFIs. The awards are made in the form of loans, grants, deposits, and equity investments to support the Certified Native CDFIs financing activities, and require the Awardee to match the CDFI Fund's award dollar-for-dollar with funds from a non-Federal source.

  • Technical Assistance (TA) grants - TA grants of up to $150,000 are offered to Certified Native CDFIs, Emerging Native CDFIs, and Sponsoring Entities. Awardees may use TA dollars to increase their capacity to serve Native Communities and/or to create or become certified Native CDFIs.


An organization wishing to apply for FA through the NACA Program must be either a certified Native CDFI or be able to be certified by the Fund at the time of application. Organizations that are Emerging Native CDFIs or Sponsoring Entities may only apply for TA grants. For more information on CDFI Certification: Click Here.

  • Certified Native CDFI - is an entity that primarily serves a Native Community (meaning, at least 50 percent of its activities are directed toward serving Native Americans, Alaska Natives and/or Native Hawaiians).

  • Emerging Native CDFI - is an entity that primarily serves (see above) a Native Community and that demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Fund that is has a reasonable plan to achieve Native CDFI certification within a reasonable timeframe.

  • Sponsoring Entity - in an entity (typically a Tribe or Tribal entity) that proposes to create a separate legal entity. That entity will emerge and eventual become certified as a Native CDFI.

For more detailed information, please refer to the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) found in the Application Materials section below.

Applicants selected to receive an award (Awardee) should visit the Information for Awardees webpage for post-award guidance on reporting and maintaining program eligibility.


  •   FY 2015 NACA NOFA
  • September 29, 2014
  •   FY 2015 NACA
          Application Deadline:
  • November 24, 2014
  •   FY 2015 NACA
          Awards Announced:
  • Summer 2015

     Application Materials    
     Supplemental Resources    
     Past Awards    
     Program Materials Archive
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