Oweesta Presents our Campaign “When Money is Red”

In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Oweesta is launching a campaign called When Money is Red that will run on our social media platforms throughout the month of November for Native American Heritage Month.

When Money is Red is a campaign that envisions the possibilities of investing in Indian Country. We have witnessed firsthand in our role as a Native CDFI intermediary that when armed with the appropriate resources, Native peoples hold the capacity and ingenuity to ensure the sustainable, economic, spiritual and cultural well-being of their communities. The problem is Native people and issues continue to be invisible in the mainstream.

With this campaign, Oweesta will revisit the problematic history of wealth creation in this country, highlight the ongoing policy issues that keep Native people from fulfilling their economic destiny, and pose calls to action for policymakers, philanthropic institutions, and the general public alike to honor and celebrate our continued place in history and in this country.

We chose the name When Money is Red as a twist on the history of wealth creation across most of the developed world. Colonization brought on the genocide of First peoples and the destruction of culture and land, and modern-day policies and prejudices perpetuate those colonist practices. We will look to subvert the history of blood money in this country and build power towards economic justice for Indian Country.

This Native American Heritage Month, we want to make it clear: Indigenous people are not relics of the past; we are present, we persist, and we will recreate our futures. We can’t change the narrative alone. We invite you to join the movement:

  1. Join our mailing list to follow our campaign When Money is Red.
  2. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for upcoming programming and conversations around making money red.
  3. Attend the Indigenous Community Organizing & Storytelling virtual event featuring Oweesta.

In Solidarity,
Oweesta Corporation

Oweesta Releases Two Groundbreaking Reports on the Native CDFI Industry

Oweesta is thrilled to release two groundbreaking reports that provide an in-depth look at the Native CDFI industry. Both of these reports are part of our commitment to share best practices, key findings, and successful or promising models widely.

Native CDFI Financial and Lending Performance Report

Our Native CDFI Financial and Lending Performance Report looks at the health of our lending portfolio and offers an insightful synopsis, backed by data, of the overall strength of investing in Indian Country. We plan to produce this report on a yearly basis as a tool for Native CDFIs to understand how their operations and financial performance sits in comparison with their peers, in order to guide decision-making at their organization. The report includes:

  • Synthesized quarterly borrower reporting data from 28 Native CDFIs and one Native CDFI banking institution.
  • An analysis of investments across loan type (business, consumer, housing, and agriculture) and/or asset size.
  • Data that supports the belief when armed with the appropriate resources, Native peoples hold the capacity and ingenuity to ensure the sustainable, economic, spiritual, and cultural well-being of their communities.

A special thanks to our partners and borrowers for sharing their borrower information on a quarterly basis, and to Northwest Area Foundation for sponsoring this report.

Housing Market Study

Oweesta’s study Opportunities and Challenges for Native CDFI Housing Lenders: Innovative Mortgage Lending Solutions in Native Communities provides an in-depth exploration of the housing market in Indian Country. Looking at surveys and data analysis, the report paints a clear picture of Native CDFI’s crucial role in developing the housing landscape on tribal trust lands and beyond. The report includes:

 

  • An analysis of institutional challenges as well as the creative solutions undertaken by Native CDFIs to overcome those challenges.
  • Actionable recommendations for Native CDFIs and partners to adapt to the growing demand for housing.

Oweesta is grateful to the many partners and contributors to this report and Freddie Mac for funding the research behind this report.

Oweesta Welcomes Fern Orie as Chief Programs Officer and Executive Vice President of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships

Longmont, CO – Oweesta is pleased to announce that Fern Orie has joined the organization as Chief Programs Officer and Executive Vice President of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships. In this capacity, Orie will serve as a critical member of the executive leadership team and will lead Oweesta’s strategic efforts to impact national policy to expand capital access for Native communities, strengthen our private and public partnerships, and oversee Oweesta’s capacity building efforts in support of our Native CDFI partners.

“I’m excited to join Oweesta after working in partnership with them at the Wisconsin Native Loan Fund all of these years. Leading the Wisconsin Native Loan Fund, I experienced how Native CDFIs are agents of change and are the most powerful resources to help communities thrive. It is an honor to now support the broader Native CDFI movement on a national level,” said Fern Orie.

Orie brings 20 years of experience working in the Native housing and community development industry. She recently served as the founding CEO of the Wisconsin Native Loan Fund (WINLF) for the past fourteen years, where she established a statewide housing Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing housing, consumer, and business loans to tribal members on all eleven Wisconsin Indian Reservations. Since 2015 she has served as the founding Chairwoman of the Wisconsin Indian Business Alliance, a unique collaboration of the four Native CDFIs of Wisconsin. Additionally, Orie serves on the Board of Directors as the Vice Chairwoman of the national organization, the Native CDFI Network.

“Oweesta is excited to have Fern join the team at a time when Native CDFIs are increasingly becoming vital lifelines for financial recovery of their communities,” said Chrystel Cornelius, CEO and President of Oweesta. “Fern has been a fierce champion of the Native CDFI industry for decades; we are confident her experience and passion will help carry Oweesta forward as we work to drive $100M of capital into Native communities by 2030.”

Orie is a strong advocate for the cultural and economic prosperity of Native people in her home state of Wisconsin and has served as an ambassador of Indian Country at the national levels. She was appointed by the Governor to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Committee, and the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capability. She also serves on the Wisconsin Economic Development Association Board of Directors. In addition, she sits on the Board of Directors and Loan Committee of Bay Bank, a tribally owned bank, and on the Forward Community Investments New Markets Tax Credit Advisory Board. Fern serves on the Program Advisory Committee for the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College and also the Community Advisory Committee for Associated Bank. Orie holds a B.A. in Business Administration and is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) through the National Development Council. She is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin.

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Media Contact
Denisse Ruiz
Communications Officer
denisse@oweesta.org

6th Annual Native CDFI Capital Access Convening Recap

This year’s Native CDFI Capital Access Convening brought together hundreds of practitioners, funders and investors, allies, and individuals new to the industry to learn, grow, and celebrate Native CDFIs and the role they play in their communities’ growth and resiliency.

One question that naturally emerged and carried throughout the event is whether we are experiencing a moment or a movement? During the panel “Something Else”: Inequity in Capital Access, as the speakers explored the persistent invisibility of Native communities in philanthropy, policies, and data, they wondered – and worried – whether the advances we have made were of a moment or enduring. Michael Roberts, CEO of First Nations Development Institute went on to add, “If we are in a moment, it’s a moment of unity with BIPOC groups to change the larger narrative.” His words, and the many conversations at the Convening, remind us that we can turn this moment into a movement through community, collaboration, and organization.

We thank you for joining our 6th Annual Native CDFI Capital Access Convening. It is because of partners and practitioners like you that we can build ladders of upward mobility for our Native communities across the United States.

Visit the 2021 CAC event page to access presentations and sessions recordings. We’ve listed some highlights below:

A special thanks to our sponsors Wells Fargo, Northwest Area Foundation, NeighborWorks America, Clearinghouse CDFI, Highlands SRI, and in-kind sponsor Vidmob. It is through your generous support and steadfast commitment to economic development that made our Convening possible.

We are joining forces to end persistent poverty

New Partnership Aims to End Persistent Poverty and Reimagine the Future of Rural America
Oweesta is thrilled to announce the launch of Partners for Rural Transformation —
a partnership to eliminate persistent poverty, and advance prosperity and economic justice in Rural America.

Today marks an important milestone for this work, which started in 2014 when a group of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) located in regions beset by persistent poverty banded together to address the longstanding problem of underinvestment in the places we call home. Driven by a vision of a future where persistent poverty no longer exists in the U.S., the CDFIs came together to advance and grow that shared vision — and to create the Persistent Poverty Working Group, now known as Partners for Rural Transformation (the Partners). Partners for Rural Transformation strengthens local economies — generating local wealth that sticks — and builds power among people living in some of the most disinvested parts of the country, including the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia, Native American Communities, the Deep South, the Rio Grande Valley and farming regions in the Rural West.Tapping our collective power and shared experience, we’re working toward a reimagined future for rural America with the people who call it home. As CDFIs, we provide the capital and tools people need to build credit, get low-interest loans, find higher-wage jobs, buy their first homes, and build and maintain water systems so people who live in rural communities can build wealth, provide for their families and have hope for the future.We are using our collective voice to increase public, private and philanthropic investment in rural communities to build a country where persistent poverty no longer exists. Oweesta is honored to partner with companionable CDFIs who also address the most vulnerable communities in the nation and have a dedicated mission to build platforms for upward mobility and contributing to safe, healthy and equitable communities.

To learn more about our work, please visit Partners for Rural Transformation’s new website at www.ruraltransformation.org.

In solidarity,

Chrystel Cornelius
Executive Director
Oweesta Corporation

Support for this partnership is provided in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

2017 VITA Materials

CONTACT US


Oweesta Corporation
2432 Main Street, 1st Floor
Longmont, CO 80501
303.774.8838
info@oweesta.org



Oweesta is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

ABOUT OWEESTA


Oweesta is the only existing Native CDFI intermediary offering financial products and development services exclusively to Native CDFIs and Native communities. Specifically, Oweesta provides training, technical assistance, investments, research, and policy advocacy to help Native communities develop an integrated range of asset-building products and services, including financial education and financial products.

Asset-building tools stimulate reservation economies by providing tribal members the opportunity to acquire financial management skills and build and accumulate assets through small business creation, homeownership, education, and much more.

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