May:  The latest BNC curriculum, grant opportunities galore, voice your opinion the 2016 Native Convening, and much more!
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May 2016 Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars

Wells Fargo presents:
Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital Informational Call
May 10 at 1:00 p.m. MT
Registration is now OPEN

Oweesta presents:
Green Energy Lending
May 17 at 1:00 p.m. MT
Registration is now OPEN

Community Action Partnership presents:
Can the Law Help Me Get Money for My CED Project?
May 25 at 12:00 p.m. MT
Registration is now OPEN

Community Action Partnership presents:
How can I use $800,000 to Create Jobs?
June 29 at 12:00 p.m. MT
Registration is now OPEN

Community Action Partnership presents:
Assessing the Use of Debt (Loans) in CED: Upsides and Downsides
July 27 at 12:00 p.m. MT
Registration is now OPEN

Upcoming Trainings

NAIHC presents:
NAIHC 2016 Annual Convention and Tradeshow
May 8-11, 2016
Honolulu, HI
Registration is now OPEN

FNDI presents:
Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families
May 24-26, 2016
Albuquerque, NM
Registration is now OPEN

University of New Hampshire presents:
Certificate in Community Development Finance
June 27-29, 2016
Durham, NH
Registration is now OPEN

Credit Builders Alliance presents:
2016 Credit Building Symposium
July 13-14, 2016
Washington, DC
Registration is now OPEN

University of New Hampshire presents:
Certificate in Community Development Finance
September 12-14, 2016
Seattle, WA
Registration is now OPEN


BNCSI: New and Emerging Native CDFI Training
Phoenix, Arizona
April 20-21, 2016

This month, Krystal Langholz, Chief Operating Officer of First Nations Oweesta Corporation, presented in collaboration with NeighborWorks America and Seven Sisters Community Development Group for the CDFI Fund's Building Native CDFIs' Sustainability Impact (BNCSI) "New and Emerging Native CDFI Technical Assistance Clinic" in Pheonix, Arizona. This specialized TA clinic was designed to meet the needs of new and emerging Native CDFIs. Thank you so much to the CDFI Fund for their generosity and commitment to the development of Native CDFIs, to the trainers for their hard work and dedication to sharing their knowledge with the industry, and to the participants for their eagerness to grow and develop sustainable, effective Native CDFIs throughout Indian Country.



Native Youth Empowerment Symposium
Albuquerque, New Mexico
April 26, 2016

Oweesta had the priviledge of presenting on the panel "Innovative Financial Education Resources" and the workshop "Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families" at the Native Youth Empowerment Symposium. Oweesta's Executive Director, Chrystel Cornelius, joined Sarah Dewes of First Nations Development Institute and Denyse Carr of Native Community Finance to discuss Native financial education curricula, tools, and resources for youth on the "Innovative Financial Education Resources" panel.

The "Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families" workshop, conducted by Christopher Hansen and Chrystel Cornelius of Oweesta, included an overview and and mini-training on the financial education curriculum that has been used in hundreds of Native communities and covers topics related to saving, budgeting, and managing money. This curriculum has been designed to be culturally sensitive and work in a broad range of communities, and is manage by First Nations Oweesta Corporation and First Nations Development Institute.


Financial Education Curriculum

Introducing the
Building Native Communities:
Financial Skills for Families
5th Edition Curriculum

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and First Nations Oweesta Corporation (Oweesta) have jointly released the 5th edition of the Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families curriculum. The revised curriculum includes an updated Participant Workbook and Instructor Guide, as well as a new website at, a comprehensive online portal for Native financial educators and practitioners.

First Nations partnered with Oweesta to convene an advisory committee to revise the Building Native Communities Participant Workbook.  Funded by the Rose Foundation and the AMB Foundation, the workbook has new content that incorporates feedback from the advisory group and addresses changing technology.  There are new sections that cover topics like online banking, consumer savvy (recognizing persuasion tactics), and constructing a record-keeping system. The revision team also removed outdated material and greatly enhanced the math content of the workbook. New “Money Math” activities throughout the workbook help students apply what they have learned.  In addition, the revised workbook includes new illustrations, photos, infographics and charts. The resulting workbook has a more modern and visual feel.

To read the full press release, please follow the link below.

For information on hosting a 5th Edition Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families training in your area, please contact Christopher Hansen, Programs Officer, at or call 303-774-8838.

Upcoming Webinars


Green Energy Loan Products

Tuesday, May 17 - 1:00 p.m. MT

Have your clients expressed interest in financing for renewable energy projects? Join us with experienced Native CDFI lenders that have established green energy loan products for a webinar focused on the necessary steps to developing this innovative product!

Native CDFI Success Story

Northwest Native Development Fund

In November of 2014, Theresa Desautel saw an opportunity. The Colville Tribes had just opened a brand new multi-million dollar government center that would house the entire Tribal administration. Hundreds of employees would be working in the new, state-of-the-art building. All those employees needed to eat.

Mrs. Desautel-Gilcrist approached the Tribe with a proposal to operate a cafeteria in the new building, offering healthy, tasty fare for breakfast and lunch. The new cafeteria would be operated by a private person, a Tribal member, rather than the government. The Tribal administration liked her idea and said, “Yes” to her proposal.

There was one problem. Mrs. Desautel-Gilcrist needed start up capital and some help with her business plan. The Northwest Native Development Fund has established itself as the “go to” local organization for both funding and business expertise for budding native entrepreneurs. Theresa turned to the Northwest Native Development Fund for help and the staff at NNDF went to work helping her make her dream come true. 

Theresa Desautel with Red Willow Cafe

The Executive Director of the NNDF, Ted Piccolo, noted some of the challenges Theresa faced, “Revenue projections for restaurants are difficult. Projections for a café, on a Reservation, in a brand new building of this size are even more difficult,” he said, “but things are always easier when the owner dives right into the project and Theresa really did.”
Entrepreneurs with a new business idea often find that start-up capital is extremely difficult, and often impossible, to get. Trying to get that kind of financing for a Tribally owned building on an Indian Reservation adds to that challenge. It most often entails more difficulties than an outside bank can address. However, the Northwest Native Development Fund was established to meet challenges just like this and has built itself upon doing those difficult deals. The specialized vision of the NNDF allows it to see true potential, accurately assessing the capabilities of the prospective native entrepreneur and then providing the financing needed.

Piccolo said, “In the case of Red Willow Café’, the market was there. The customers were right there in the building. The owner, Theresa, was burning the midnight oil leading up to the opening and the Tribal government administration really wanted a private individual in there who could service their employees. There was just many reasons a financing entity in the right place, with the right philosophy of lending, would take the opportunity to partner with Mrs. Desautel-Gilcrist.”
Eight weeks later the Red Willow Café’ opened its doors. Inside were 5 new employees and a whole new line-up of foods for the Nespelem area including healthy salads, sandwiches, soups, and smoothies. It might have seemed normal for Seattle, but for this small proud community located in the heart of the Colville Indian Reservation it is new and exciting. Very exciting.

Thank you, Northwest Native Development Fund, for creating access to capital for small business owners in the Pacific Northwest!

2016 Balle Fellow, Chrystel Cornelius

Our own Chrystel Cornelius has been named to the 2016 cohort of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Local Economy Fellowship.

She joins 36 leaders recognized as representing some of the most innovative local economic and community development solutions in the U.S. and Canada. Together this group of Localists serves more than 52,400 local businesses and impacts another 471,000 small businesses through work in government and policy.

Not only is Chrystel Cornelius joining North America’s only fellowship focused on advancing local economies, she is also now part of a growing leadership network of more than 100 BALLE fellows, local economy investors, and community foundation leaders. Together this network is proving that when seemingly small, local efforts come together, much is possible in transforming our whole economy toward one that works for all people.

The 2016 cohort is leading the way in advancing entrepreneurship and opportunity in low-income, under-resourced communities and communities of color, driving cooperative development and worker ownership, leveraging policy and public dollars to shift economic development models toward supporting local businesses, and bringing conversations about well-being, equity, and health to board rooms, funding models, and networks of small businesses. They are transitioning post-coal Appalachia, re-imagining Rust Belt & Legacy Cities, reshaping rural economies, and more from Chattanooga to Los Angeles, Pittsburgh to Winnipeg. Many of these focus areas and geographic regions are new to the BALLE Fellowship, and all are emerging as important trends in this movement toward an economy that works for all people.

To learn more about the 2016 BALLE Fellowship, please follow the link below:

2016 Native Convening Feedback


We're conducting a short survey to assist in the planning of the 2016 Native CDFI Convening at the Annual Opportunity Finance Network Conference. Your voice helps us develop a stellar pre-conference meeting and conference sessions that meet your specific needs.

Take the Survey Here

If you have any questions about the survey, or the planning process, please email us:

We greatly appreciate your input!


Grant Opportunities

2016 Administration for Children and Families' Assets for Independence Funding
Deadline: May 13, 2016

The Assets for Independence (AFI) has published six Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) for fiscal year 2016. FOAs give full information on application requirements for each program area and how to apply. For more information, please follow the link below!


JP Morgan Chase PRO Neighborhoods:
A Request for Proposals for CDFIs

Deadline: May 13, 2016

JPMorgan Chase recognizes that thriving neighborhoods are critical to the long-term economic success of individuals, communities, and cities. At a time when economic growth is often directed toward reviving commercial corridors and downtowns, many neighborhoods, families and small business owners are being left behind. Recent research has found that economic opportunity is deeply rooted in neighborhood conditions. Poor families located in thriving, resource-rich neighborhoods experience far greater education, health and employment outcomes. Every city faces its own set of challenges and needs its own comprehensive strategy for economic growth that ensures opportunities to prosper are extended to distressed neighborhoods and the families that live there, yet many cities are finding it difficult to bring together the cross-sector solutions disinvested neighborhoods need to thrive.

PRO Neighborhoods encourages CDFIs to work together in CDFI Collaboratives that address community development challenges and develop innovative financing options for projects in distressed neighborhoods that are unable to qualify for traditional loans. The PRO Neighborhoods initiative will include a series of competitions to encourage CDFIs to collaborate and invest in local solutions to grow small businesses, build health and education facilities, open retail centers and support community services.

For more information, please follow the link below!

Bush Foundation Ecosystem Grants
Deadline: May 26, 2016

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. Ecosystem grants provide general operating support to help sustain organizations that create unique and significant value for our grantees, Fellows, Rebuilders and others.

Some might call these infrastructure organizations or intermediary organizations or just ‘can’t-do-without’ organizations. We call them ecosystem organizations because they help create an environment for big things to happen in the region.
Online Information Session

Learn more about Ecosystem grants and the Foundation's programs and strategic initiatives.

Watch the recorded webinar

11:15 am to 12 pm Central | REGISTER

For more information, please follow the link below!

Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital
Deadline: June 1, 2016

Wells Fargo has committed $75 million to CDFIs across the country through the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital program. The program makes available $50 million in lending capital and $25 million in grant capital to be disbursed over there years.
Program components

    Grant Capital. Available to CDFIs to build their financial, operational, and human capacity to serve diverse small businesses.

    Debt Capital. Available to CDFIs to build their lending capital to serve diverse small businesses. Financing will include senior debt and subordinated debt.

    Social Capital. The program will offer activities, such as mentorship and peer learning, to build effective support networks and social infrastructure among CDFIs for the purpose of increasing lending to diverse small businesses and will be offered through Opportunity Finance Network.

For more information, please follow the link below!

Strategic Economic and Community Development
Deadline: June 30, 2016

The purpose of the Strategic Economic Community Development Grant is to advance projects which support long-term community and economic growth strategies that reflect both multi-jurisdictional stakeholder collaboration and capitalize upon the unique strengths of the rural area. Through this provision, USDA Rural Development is empowered to work further with rural communities to align resources with long-range and multi-jurisdictional challenges and needs by leveraging federal, state, local, or private funding. By creating a regional focus and increasing collaboration across Rural Development agencies and programs, USDA resources can have a larger impact, enabling greater wealth creation, and quality of life improvements. For more information, please follow the link below!

Value Added Producer Grants
Deadline: June 24, 2016

The purpose of the Value Added Producer Grant is to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the goals of this program. You may receive priority if you are a beginning farmer or rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain. Grants are awarded through a national competition. Each fiscal year, applications are requested through a notice published in the Federal Register and through an announcement posted on For more information, please follow the link below!



Does Your Organization Need Loan Capital?

Are you a Native CDFI that needs extra capital for lending to Native farmers, ranchers, or fishers? Check out our new Native Fresh Foods Fund loan product. Oweesta considers loan applications on a rolling basis. Application requirements include current and historical financial statements, portfolio reports, loan policies, current and historical financial statements, and a comprehensive business plan or comparable information. If you are interested in finding out more about our loan program, please visit or contact Emily Trump, Lending and Compliance Manager, at



2016 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard

Check out the 2016 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, the leading source for data on household financial security and policy solutions. Released annually, this year's Scorecard examines 130 policy and outcome measures to develop an understanding of how residents are doing in their quest to seize economic opportunity and what states are doing to help get them get ahead. Follow the link below for more information!

Oweesta Products & Services

Start your New Year out with a personalized product or service from Oweesta! We are starting to schedule trainings for 2016 now. Follow the link below to see how we can help your organization this coming year!

Job Opportunities

Check out our website for the latest job opportunities in the Native CDFI and nonprofit sector. There are available positions from First Nations Oweesta Corporation, First Nations Development Institute, Native American Bank, Bank 2, Seven Sisters Development Group LLC, and First People's Fund.

If you have a job opportunity available at your organization, share it with the industry by emailing our Communications Manager,

Enjoy Spring!