CDFI Impact Blog



Thinking Local: Native CDFIs Support Businesses, Growth in South Dakota Local: Native CDFIs Support Businesses, Growth in South Dakota<div class="ExternalClass86F6364860BC4C68A1482BAE4F2D2C7F"><p>Just a few weeks after I joined the CDFI Fund as a Senior Portfolio Manager for the Native Initiatives program, I had the honor of accompanying CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan as she traveled to the Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge Indian Reservations in South Dakota. While in South Dakota we had the chance to experience first-hand the important work that the <a href="" target="_blank">Four Bands Community Development Fund (Four Bands)</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Lakota Funds</a>—both certified CDFIs--were doing to increase opportunities in their communities through financial education services, small business lending, entrepreneurship training, and much more. </p><p>Four Bands and Lakota Funds are both multiple award recipients in the Native Initiatives program, which was designed to strengthen the institutional capacity of Native CDFIs to increase access to capital and credit in Native communities. Through the program, the CDFI Fund invests in organizations that, through their local and cultural knowledge, are able to provide services and products that are best suited to Native American populations across the country. As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and an individual who has spent his career working on behalf of Native communities, I have personally experienced the positive effects that occur when federal initiatives designed to support Native Americans provide them the flexibility to find the right solutions for their local economies. </p><p>Throughout our trip, Annie and I met several entrepreneurs and individuals who had turned to Four Bands and Lakota Funds for help in launching their businesses and building their financial capacity, often after being turned away by traditional financial institutions. As the authors of a recently published report, “<a href="/programs-training/Programs/native-initiatives/Pages/native-communities-study.aspx" target="_blank">Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities</a>,” found, many Native entrepreneurs experience difficulty accessing traditional sources of capital and credit, which creates additional barriers to starting or expanding a business. Historically, Native CDFIs have helped fill the gap in access to capital and credit by providing relatively small, but necessary, loans to individuals and businesses. In South Dakota, successful business owners, like Jerry Farlee of 4 Winds Lumber and Warren Peterson of The Pizza Shoppe, were able to start and expand their businesses due to support from Four Bands and Lakota Funds. Both owners expressed that Four Bands and Lakota Funds were essential in providing the financing and development services necessary to develop their businesses.</p><p>In turn, these business owners are giving back to their communities in ways that will benefit future generations. For example, 4 Winds Lumber is currently providing young men with the opportunity to hone their carpentry and construction skills. Warren Peterson has a dream of one day employing as many people from his community as he can. These are the types of changes that Native CDFIs can make in their communities. A simple loan or financial education course can ultimately lead to developments that positively affect multiple generations.</p><p>I’m glad that I had the opportunity to visit Four Bands and Lakota Funds, it gave me a better understanding of the work that Native CDFIs do to effect change on the ground. I have no doubt that the experience will help me as I seek to support the Native CDFI industry through my work at the CDFI Fund. </p><p><i>Clint Hastings is a Senior Portfolio Manager for the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives </i></p> </div>Clint Hastings2017-09-25T15:33:00ZLocal Impact36GP0|#e9712537-9411-4bae-9528-c7186f7c273a;L0|#0e9712537-9411-4bae-9528-c7186f7c273a|South Dakota;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#12da016b-d497-4568-a2bf-23bc3f22d03c;L0|#012da016b-d497-4568-a2bf-23bc3f22d03c|Native Communities;GP0|#6739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7;L0|#06739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7|In the Field;GP0|#c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9;L0|#0c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9|Native Initiatives
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