Coronavirus information and resources

Oweesta COVID-19 Resources and Products

Last Updated: January 31, 2021 

Oweesta recognizes that our Native communities have been uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We remain steadfast in serving our Native partners during this crisis with the continued issuance of essential capital resources and specialized capacity building services (now provided in a digital landscape), to ensure our Native communities have the resources they require to sustain their respective tribal communities during this crisis. This page is dedicated to sharing resources and information gearing towards Native communities and ensuing opportunities for assistance 

Technical Assistance Webinars

Oweesta is providing webinar services related to COVID-19 to address the ever-changing landscape and as a way to adapt our services to the digital medium. Visit our events calendar to register for upcoming trainings and webinars. We aim to provide information that is relevant and beneficial to our Native partners, if you have an idea for a future webinar, contact us at

Previous Session Recordings

This panel webinar features expert trainers currently delivering engaging and professional virtual trainings. Level up your trainings with advice that has been tried and true in the virtual setting. Learn how to convert your in-person trainings into interactive online webinars, podcasts, and vlogs!

With so many individuals and communities relying on in-person services for lending, check cashing, or personalized financial coaching, maintaining our community healthy also means supporting their financial well-being. For those who run a small business and are considering reopening, Oweesta, Nimiipuu, and Chehalis Tribal Loan Fund share:

  • best practices and CDC guidelines for resuming operations
  • strategies on preventing and reducing transmission of COVID-19
  • how to acquire and effectively use personal protective equipment (PPE)

Join Team Oweesta as we discuss best practices for portfolio management amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This webinar will focus on loan write-offs and LLR amid the growing portfolio delinquencies due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  We will discuss downgrading your portfolio and increasing loan loss reserve to protect against potential future losses and how your LLR may look different now compared to pre-pandemic.  We will also discuss best practices around loan write offs.

Our day to day routines have been forced into an altered reality of work, home and community obligations. As a result, we may be feeling stress and uncertainty.  Numerous strategies can be helpful for maintaining our well-being, both mentally and physically, so that we continue to function at our best to honor ourselves, our families and our communities.  We will begin with a grounding and centering of our mind and bodies and will provide the opportunity to share the peaks and valleys of our days. Lastly we will communicate techniques to manage and understand the many emotions we may be feeling in light of COVID-19.

Part 1:

Join Team Oweesta and a panel of Native CDFI practitioners as we discuss best practices for portfolio management amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This webinar will focus on restructuring our loan portfolios in order to protect our assets and help our loan clients who are unable to meet their loan obligations during this unprecedented time of income loss.  We will hear from a panel of four Native CDFI’s who will share their internal plans and practices for loan restructuring.

Panelists include:

Florence Ludka – Chief Financial Officer of Oweesta
Russ Seagle – Executive Director of Sequoyah Fund
Fern Orie – Executive Director of Wisconsin Native Loan Fund
Kristen Stambach – Director of Lending of Four Bands Community Loan Fund

If you are a CDFI, you might be providing flexible lending opportunities to you community members and possibly new loan products during the pandemic.  However, you may want to consider providing additional counseling support to your clients on navigating and managing a new financial environment. We will share tools and strategies that you can use to support clients in protecting their credit score, prioritizing bills, accessing the stimulus relief payment, and much more.


Helping Our Community Members Weather COVID19 Financial Storm PPT Fixed

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Native CDFIs are innovative by nature. Learn from a panelist of Native CDFIs who are creatively confronting the economic and health challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis. Hear from pioneering Native CDFIs who are inventing new loan products to serve their community and discuss with other Natives CDFIs how they are managing their day-to-day challenges. Discover how Native CDFIs are deploying capital and evaluating risk, while walking with their community through this crisis.

First Nations Oweesta and NDN Collective host an interactive webinar for Native Nations, businesses, entrepreneurs, artisans, and Native CDFIs to address the economic needs of our Indigenous communities and institutions during COVID19. We come together with other Native-led organizations, like ONABEN and Native Women Lead, to share resources for Native entities hit hard by this recent pandemic.

Join Oweesta as we go over the Payroll Protection Program in general terms and answer any questions you may have on the application. We will then dive into filling out the application, calculating the ask, and the process of applying. The webinar will end with a question and answer session from with Oweesta’s Development and Finance Department.


PPP Webinar

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This webinar will provide a tutorial on how to best utilize these platforms to meet your connection needs. We will showcase the Zoom, Google Hangouts, and platforms, while providing additional resources to explore beyond the webinar.  Learn not only how these platforms work but how to support others in using them, as well as techniques to keep on-line meetings engaging!

Capital Response

In addition to our core lending products, Oweesta has developed two new capital resources, a working capital loan and line of credit, for our Native CDFIs to access to enhance credit distribution during this time to serve your immediate tribal community’s needs.

Working Capital

The Working Capital/Operating Loan is designed to help Native CDFIs who may be experiencing hard times waiting to receive cash on grants they have been awarded, but not received, or may just be having issues with the liquidity of their operating capital.

  • Up to $500,000 (When used with our Line of Credit)
  • Interest rate of 1.5-2.5% plus cost of capital
  • Term of 3 months to 2 years
  • Structured to match expected receivables. May include interest only period.
  • 2% origination fee

Line of Credit

Our Line of Credit is a renewable line of credit for any of your general lending capital needs. This is a fantastic opportunity for Native CDFIs with a seasonal loan product, as well as for emergency loan products.

  • Up to $500,000 (When used with the Working Capital loan)
  • Interest rate of 1.5-2.5% plus the cost of capital
  • 1% origination fee
  • Quarterly or monthly interest-only payments. Principal due at maturity.
  • Term of one year, but eligible for renewal

Preexisting lending products

This is Oweesta’s “classic” loan product, used by most of our Native CDFI borrowers. Funds can be used to make any kind of loans in the borrower’s self-identified target market.

  • Up to $500,000 loan size
  • 3-4% interest rate
  • Term 3 months to 2 years
  • Usually unsecured
  • Structured to match expected receivables. May include interest only period.

This loan product provides lending capital for loans to support the production, processing, marketing, and/or distribution of agricultural products, including food, fiber, forest products, and horticultural crops.

  • Maximum amount up to single borrower limit, conditional on funding availability
  • Interest rate is cost of capital plus 1.5-2.5%
  • Term up to 10 years
  • Quarterly or monthly payments, with up to two years interest-payments

This loan product is almost identical to a Capital Loan, except that it is smaller, has a shorter term, and carries a slightly higher interest rate. These are our riskier loans, made to smaller, newer, or struggling Native CDFIs.

  • Up to $100,000 loan size
  • 2.5-3.5$ interest rate
  • Term 2 to 3 years
  • Usually unsecured
  • Quarterly or monthly interest-only payments
  • Eligible for renewal

For more information about all the lending opportunities Oweesta has to offer, check out our Lending and Capitalization page.

Mobilizing for Native American Small Business & Families during COVID-19

The Native Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) movement is leading the COVID-19 response to capital needs in Native communities. Read the full report to find out how Native CDFIs are helping Native small businesses and families through this crisis.

Emergency Response Grant

Oweesta and NDN Collective, as an Indigenous-led partnership, awarded a combined $1,250,000 in grants to 25 Native CDFIs through our COVID-19 Grant Program. The 25 Native CDFIs selected will further their roles as the economic engines for financial sovereignty in Indian country through the COVID-19 Grant Program. Read more about the grantees.  

Watch this video to learn more about the role of Native CDFIs in sustaining local economies.  

Resources for Small Business Clients

U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship

The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers. This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.

For information on how the CARES Act will effect small business owners. Click Here

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

First Draw PPP Loan is open until March 31, 2021. The Small Business Association will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

Second Draw PPP Loans opened January 11, 2021. Second Draw PPP Loans can be used to help fund payroll costs, including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations.

A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:

  • Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses;
  • Has no more than 300 employees; and
  • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020

For more information on how to apply, visit the SBA website.

COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the SBA has relaxed regulations related to the qualification of states seeking Disaster Assistance.  Upon SBA approval, all businesses within the state are eligible to apply under the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.  This program offers loans up to 6 months of working capital for a term of up to 30 years.  These loans carry an interest rate of 2.75% to non-profit entities and 3.75% to for-profit entities.

Organizations can see if their state is eligible for this financing, or if they are interested in pursuing SBA financing, we encourage them to go to the SBA’s Coronavirus Disaster Assistance page.

Funding and Capital Opportunities

NDN Collective

The NDN Collective’s COVID-19 Response Project is designed to provide immediate relief to some of the most underserved communities in the country. NDN’s intent is to quickly distribute resources to frontline organizations, Tribes, and individuals who are providing essential services to Indigenous communities within the next 15-45 days to provide gap resources during this health crisis. Their Phase 1 and Phase 2 grants are currently closed. NDN Collective, however, plans to open offer grants for Regenerative Economic Development through Native CDFIs; please visit NDN Collective’s COVID-19 page for more information.


Visit for Candid’s Coronavirus page for emergency funding opportunities found on Candid. With help from Candid, as of early 2021, a total of 1,236 funders have given 20,416 recipients 30,303 grants, totaling out to $22.4B being given to those in need. By visiting their Coronavirus Fund page, you will find funds specifically designed for Coronavirus relief, as well as their mandates.

Also, be sure to check out Grantspace by Candid, to find helpful information about getting emergency funding.

Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative

More than 600 U.S. community foundations in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have created relief funds to support those affected by COVID-19 directing critical relief to local nonprofits and partnering with local governments and health organizations to help contain its spread.

Giving Compass

Giving Compass and National Center for Family Philanthropy have collaborated to create a comprehensive list of vetted COVID-19 relief funds. While this site is set up to enlist funds, it is helpful in identifying funds as well. You can also see an interactive map here.

Otto Bremmer Trust (MN, WI, ND, MO)

The Otto Bremer Trust has announced the creation of a $50M emergency fund to be set up through its Community Benefit Financial Company (CBFC) subsidiary to provide financial support to Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Montana nonprofits and other community organizations. The new fund will provide emergency funding, loans, lines of credit, and other financial resources to organizations impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. To apply, go to their Emergency Fund information page.

Tribal Resources

Congressional Native American Caucus

For Information on the Tribal priorities included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and where the funds will be allocated Click Here

Native Americans in Philanthropy

In these times, Native American families look to trusted community organizations for support and resources. In turn, Native Americans in Philanthropy wants to generously support Native American nonprofits on the ground who are caring for our most vulnerable – especially those facing food insecurity, access to housing, and low-income elderly.

For more resources and information Native Americans in Philanthropy’s Coronavirus page.

National Indian Health Board

The National Indian Health Board is leading a national effort to advocate and secure resources for Tribes to respond to COVID-19. NIHB seeks to ensure that the Tribes remain informed on COVID-19, have the resources and assistance needed to respond to the pandemic, and that the Congress and Administration understand and address Tribal needs and priorities.  NIHB also aims to create resources that will be informative and helpful to Tribes and Tribal members.  NIHB believes that this coordinated national response is part of its sacred mission to serve the Tribes and help maintain the safety and well-being of Tribal citizens.

For more information, go to NIHB’s Coronavirus page.

Indigenous Pact

Indigenous Pact’s newly launched Support Center delivers COVID-19 updates, insights, and best practices sourced from We Care Daily Clinics (WCDC), an IP-managed facility operating throughout the crisis in Seattle. Submit questions or chat with their team for rapid-response solutions.

In addition, you can go behind-the-scenes with experts on the WCDC staff for support in mitigating COVID-19 and operating under crisis in the Live Response Center.

The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development

As the country responds to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the task before tribal nations is complicated by many unknowns. The Harvard Project and Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health recognize the challenges you’re up against and  want to help.

For more information, visit the COVID-19 Resources Toolbox.

Other Resources


USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America.

Visit for information on Rural Development loan payment assistance, application deadline extensions, and more.

To read the full article put out by the USDA, Click Here.

Check out the full list of resources on the COVID Federal Rural Resource Guide.