February 2015 Newsletter
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February 2015 Newsletter

Training from Oweesta

Upcoming Trainings

BNC Community Trainings

February 24-26th
BNC: Train-the-Trainer at NAYA

May 5-6th
BNC: Train-the-Trainer at Trading at the River

Webinar Series

February: Fundraising

March: Financial Management

April: Financial Education and Asset Building

May: BOD Management

June: Credit Coaching

July: Porfolio Management

August: Human Resources

September: Lending

October: CDFI Sustainability

December: VITA

(Chris Hansen trains on the beautiful Smith River Rancheria)

BNC Training in
Smith River

Last month, January 5th-8th, First Nations Oweesta had the pleasure of spending three beautiful days with the Smith River community in California for a community training supported by the grant funding from Key Bank Foundation. Follow the link below for more information on our Building Native Communities curriculum and upcoming trainings. 


(Oweesta and ONABEN Training in Moloka'i, Hawaii)

Asset Building Training in Moloka'i

Oweesta, in partnership with ONABEN, provided financial education training for entrepreneurs in beautiful Moloka'i, Hawaii. Veronica Hix, Executive Director of ONABEN, writes more on the experiences of training in the ONABEN blog. Please click below to read more!

News from the OWEESTA Office

Oweesta receives $1.5 million in SEEDS Grant Funding

Oweesta is very excited to announce that we have been awarded $1.5 million Sustainable Employment & Economic Development Strategies (SEEDS) 5 year grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA). With this funding, Oweesta will build the financial management capacity of five Native CDFIs to provide increased capital and business development services that support fueling local economic activity, helping to start and grow businesses and create new jobs within each of their Native communities. We are extremely grateful for the opportunities this grant funding has afforded us to accomplish in the next five years. For more funding prospects such as this, please visit our Funding Opportunities section of each monthly Oweesta newsletter.

Staff Changes at Oweesta

As Oweesta continues to grow and evolve – and at the beginning of a new year – we are delighted to welcome new staff members who bring exceptional skills and expertise to the organization. 
You read about several of our new staff members in the Oweesta December 2014 Newsletter, which featured Tom Cristiano, Debbie Powers, Emily Trump and Stephanie Fishinghawk. They have all settled in and are doing great work. And now we have another key addition to announce.

Lanalle Smith (Navajo) will be joining us in February 2015 as our new Oweesta Program Manager. She will have responsibility for numerous activities in the implementation and maintenance of Oweesta’s back-office services incubation program, including developing policies and procedures and providing training and technical support to Native Community Development Financial Institution clients in the areas of lending services (which include credit analysis, loan closing and loan servicing) and program evaluation, grant management and human resources. She will also participate in other Oweesta areas such as research, analysis and communications.
Many of you already know Lanalle and the depth of her expertise, particularly as Executive Director (2006 through 2011) of the Navajo Partnership for Housing, Inc. and in other positions with the agency from 1996 until she became Executive Director. Since then she has consulted extensively as principal/owner of Black Feather Development, which has included work with Community Area Resources Enterprise (CARE 66) and the Gallup Housing Authority.
Lanalle eventually will be joining us here in the Longmont, Colorado, headquarters, but we are sure she’ll maintain her very strong ties to her home in Window Rock, Arizona, and to the entire Navajo Nation.
Separately, Kristi Coker-Bias is no longer working with Oweesta effective in January 2015.  She previously was Senior Advisor for Programs and worked from her office in Oklahoma since joining Oweesta in late 2011. We wish Kristi the best in her new endeavors.
With these changes, the Oweesta staff now numbers nine, and we believe they are some of the best, most exceptional people in the business.


Funding Opportunities

Congress Eliminates NACA Match Requirement

The CDFI Fund's fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriation includes a waiver of the matching funds requirement for entitites applying for Financial Assistance (FA) awards through the Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program, the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), and the Small and Emerging CDFI Assistance (SECA) component of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program. 

Native Asset Building Initiative Opportunity

The Administration for Children and Families Native Asset Building Initiative has announced a new funding opportunity open now until March 25, 2015. 

Asset building is an approach to overcoming poverty that emphasizes the value of sound family budgeting, money management, savings, and investment in long term assets. The Office of Community Services (OCS) and the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) have partnered to increase access to and awareness of asset building opportunities in Native American communities. 

Upcoming Events

Don't miss out on Trading at the River Small Business Conference and Marketplace presented by ONABEN at the River Spirit Event Center on May 5-6, 2015 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Registration is open now!


The 2015 CDFI Coalition Institute will be held February 24th and 25th in Washington, DC at the Washington Plaza Hotel.

Register now to take advantage of the limited room block!

CDFI Bond Guarantee Program
Application Workshops

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund is conducting application workships to prepare CDFIs and prospective applicants for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2015 round of the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program.

Session 1 (for existing an potential Qualified Issuers will be held February 26th in Washington, DC.

Session 2 (for interested program participants and potential eligible CDFI applicants) will be held February 27th in Washington, DC.

Registration information is available


2015 VITA Marketing Materials

Oweesta is excited to share our new, customizable 2015 Native VITA Marketing Materials. These documents contain the resources to support a multifaceted marketing campaign, including flyers for volunteer recruitment and community marketing, paycheck stuffers, and business cards.

More information on Native VITA Sites can be found at the First Nations Development Institute Knowledge Center. Please contact for questions or concerns regarding these documents. We greatly appreciate any feedback, especially as we plan and prepare future Native VITA marketing materials. 

Assets & Opportunity Scorecard

In order to advance policies that empower families to be part of the financial mainstream, advocates need data that communicate the extent of financial insecurity facing their constituents. To help meet that need, CFED has released its 2015 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard.

This year's scorecard assesses 135 different outcome and policy measures to examine how all 50 states and the District of Columbia are doing when it comes to the financial security of their residents.

Oweesta Products and Services

Let Oweesta check off some of your organizational New Year's resolutions with our state-of-the-art Institutional Development and Training Programs.

Check out our 
Products & Services Guide 
and see how Oweesta can be of service to you!

Pathways to Sustainability

First Nations Oweesta Corporation's 2014 Webinar Series

In case you missed any of our webinar series from 2014, check out the recordings in our
Pathways to 
Sustainability page.

Stay tuned for our upcoming 2015 webinar series!



Oweesta is very excited to partner with ONABEN, building financial education capacity across Indian Country. With combined efforts, Oweesta and ONABEN hope to catalyze the economic sustainability of Native CDFIs and Native businesses throughout the nation. 

Please follow the link below to learn more about the wonderful ways in which ONABEN is empowering Native communities and individuals in entrepreneurship and small business development!