CDFI Impact Blog



Program Notes: Checking in with Native Initiatives Notes: Checking in with Native Initiatives<div class="ExternalClassD20E0A45160B4D609466FA461EF2C3F2"><p>As we come to the end of National Native Heritage Month, I want to take a moment to highlight the CDFI Fund’s recent activities dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities nationwide. </p><p>I recently was honored to participate in the <a href="" target="_blank">2016 Native Convening in Atlanta</a>. It was an opportunity to have a fantastic, engaged conversation around community development in Native Communities and the work of Native Community Development Financial Institutions (Native CDFIs). </p><p>One of the topics for the Convening was the new <a href="/programs-training/Programs/native-initiatives/Pages/native-communities-study.aspx" target="_blank">“Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities” report</a> (the Report), commissioned by the CDFI Fund and published by the Native Nations Institute with support from the Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Foundation. The CDFI Fund commissioned the Report as a follow-up to its 2001 Native American Lending Study, which analyzed access to capital and financial services in Native Communities, identified barriers to access, and provided options to address the barriers.</p><p>At the Convening, I found that the Report sparked discussion around how we can better coordinate with Tribal entities and governments and encourage the development of Native entrepreneurs, as well as the overall state of the Native CDFI industry.</p><p>One of the key takeaways from the new Report is that while barriers to capital and credit still exist in Native Communities, Native CDFIs are playing a critical role in raising the financial capability of their communities and increasing local access to credit. Native CDFIs are truly making a difference.</p><p>I am proud of that, and of the role the CDFI Fund has played in supporting the growth and ability of Native CDFIs to provide critical financial services, business and homeownership loans, and financial education in Native Communities. </p><p>The Report also found that data on financial barriers and financial services in these communities is still difficult to come by, which will be a challenge for the CDFI Fund and for CDFIs going forward. We are making progress on that front, however. In 2016, the CDFI Fund awarded First Nations Oweesta Corporation a prize through our <a href="/news-events/news/Pages/news-detail.aspx?NewsID=230" target="_blank">2016 CDFI Prize Competition </a>for their proposal to develop Opportunities Through Impact System (OTIS), an impact tracking platform designed specifically for Native CDFIs. The goal of the OTIS platform is to provide the technological resources—combined with the technical assistance of First Nations Oweesta—to help Native CDFIs demonstrate their impact in their communities. I look forward to seeing what they are able to achieve. </p><p>I believe the Report will continue to drive discussion about the best ways to spur economic growth in Native Communities, and the CDFI Fund is thoughtfully considering the Report’s findings as <a href="/news-events/Pages/story-detail.aspx?StoryID=6" target="_blank">we plan our initiatives for the next few years</a>. </p><p>I don’t want us to lose sight of what we have achieved so far, however. We are still finding success and impact with our Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program). We had eleven first-time awardees in the <a href="/news-events/Pages/news-detail.aspx?NewsID=231" target="_blank">2016 round of the NACA Program </a>– a sizable achievement considering there were only 38 awardees in total. And our “Building Native CDFIs’ Sustainability and Impact” training series, which wrapped up in 2016, provided more than 2,300 hours of direct technical assistance and coaching to Native CDFIs. As we look to 2017 and beyond, I am dedicated to providing quality training and assistance to Native CDFIs, and to finding new ways we can encourage economic growth and prosperity in Native Communities nationwide. </p><p>Be sure to check out the “<a href="" target="_blank">Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities</a>” report and the CDFI Fund’s <a href="/news-events/Pages/story-detail.aspx?StoryID=6" target="_blank">Strategic Plan </a>to learn more. </p><p> <i>Amber Kuchar-Bell is the CDFI Fund’s Program Manager for the CDFI Program and Native Initiatives</i></p></div>Amber Kuchar2016-11-29T19:00:00ZPrograms and Initiatives20GP0|#12da016b-d497-4568-a2bf-23bc3f22d03c;L0|#012da016b-d497-4568-a2bf-23bc3f22d03c|Native Communities;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532
CDFIs Promote Young People's Financial Capability in Native American Communities Promote Young People's Financial Capability in Native American Communities<div class="ExternalClass20398E9C0FB045C0B6DC4A1BE57F8817"><p><em>​The following was originally posted on <a href="">Treasury's Notes Blog</a>.</em></p><p> April is <a href="">Financial Capability Month </a>and a perfect time to highlight programs like the Native Community Development Financial Institutions (Native CDFIs), which are successfully improving the financial literacy and capability of young people in Indian Country. Native CDFIs are specialized financial institutions who work to increase access to fair and affordable financial services in Native Communities, and many are offering innovative financial education programs for Native youth. </p><p> One example is the <a href="">Mini-Bank Program</a>, established in Browning, Montana, by NACDC Financial Services, Inc. Since 1996 the program has not only offered financial education to young people, but also has provided a mini-bank in their own schools to give them hands-on experience in money management. The students can open a savings account at their mini-bank with a deposit of three dollars, and while a mini-bank coordinator accepts and records the deposits, the students have sole ownership of their accounts and are responsible for maintaining them. The Mini-Bank Program has grown to serve six reservations in three states, and has created more than 670 youth savings accounts with deposits totaling more than $40,000. </p><p> In Eagle Butte, South Dakota, <a href="">Making Waves </a>is a financial literacy program offered by Four Bands Community Fund, a Native CDFI that serves the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. Like all of Four Bands’ programs, Making Waves reflects a Lakota model called Icahya Woecun—the place to grow. The curriculum has been designed by Four Bands to promote the basics of financial literacy, including budgeting, saving, and asset building, and is presented through the reservation’s schools to students in grades K-12. The program also offers training in entrepreneurship, as well as an internship program for budding entrepreneurs and Wavemaker Scholarships for young people who are committed to increasing their financial skills. More than 2,000 young people have participated in Making Waves. </p><p> The Mini-Bank Program and Making Waves are just two examples of the ways that Native CDFIs are promoting economic development in Native Communities by helping people master the financial skills they need to build assets and become self-sufficient. Today, there are 70 certified Native CDFIs throughout the United States, 10 times more than the original seven that existed when the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) began focusing on Native Communities in 2001. The CDFI Fund has supported the creation and expansion of Native CDFIs as they serve their communities. For more information, please visit the CDFI Fund’s <a href="">website</a> and view the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives Fact Sheet. </p><p> <em>Annie Donovan is the Director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund at the U.S. Treasury Department.</em></p></div>Annie Donovan2015-04-24T18:24:00ZLocal Impact6GP0|#fc501742-c0ba-49fd-9854-f16acdbbd6b4;L0|#0fc501742-c0ba-49fd-9854-f16acdbbd6b4|Financial Education;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#12da016b-d497-4568-a2bf-23bc3f22d03c;L0|#012da016b-d497-4568-a2bf-23bc3f22d03c|Native Communities;GP0|#40315444-5778-453a-8e24-db6c690594d3;L0|#040315444-5778-453a-8e24-db6c690594d3|Montana;GP0|#e9712537-9411-4bae-9528-c7186f7c273a;L0|#0e9712537-9411-4bae-9528-c7186f7c273a|South Dakota