For Immediate Release: July 31, 2019
LONGMONT, CO – First Nations Oweesta Corporation (Oweesta) and Better Way Foundation are pleased to announce a funding commitment focused on supporting and increasing Native CDFIs’ access to capital. Better Way Foundation has dedicated $500,000 as a program-related investment (PRI) that will support lending to Native CDFIs across the nation. Eligible loan recipients are Native CDFIs located in Alaska, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington, or Wisconsin.
Native community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are vital nonprofit organizations in their communities They operate as crucial financial institutions with a mission of providing responsible, affordable lending opportunities for underserved and ‘unbankable’ individuals, especially those who are low-income and low-wealth. CDFIs serve individuals in building or repairing credit, supporting entrepreneurship, helping build assets like homeownership, and more.
This $500,000 program-related investment (PRI) will increase Oweesta’s portfolio and be used for lending to Native CDFIs, supporting the work and mission of Oweesta through capitalization, allowing the organization to offer low-cost capital to the Native CDFIs it serves. “We are thrilled to make our first-ever program-related investment to Oweesta, because when we engage with communities across Indian Country, we see resilience, opportunity, creativity, and strength,” said Andreas Hipple, Executive Director of Better Way Foundation.
Chrystel Cornelius, Executive Director of Oweesta, is grateful for the support from Better Way Foundation through this PRI, stating “These funds will increase Oweesta’s financial capacity to serve Native CDFIs by allowing us to also directly address capital challenges, bringing more capital into Native communities. It will also increase our impact, which means more jobs, more homes, and more private sector development as a sustainable institution engaged in this work.”
First Nations Oweesta Corporation was created 20 years ago to address the lack of capital and financial infrastructure holding back economic development in Native communities recognized by its parent organization, First Nations Development Institute. First Nations Oweesta Corporation’s mission is to provide opportunities for Native people to develop financial assets and create wealth by assisting in the establishment of strong, permanent institutions and programs that contribute to economic independence and strengthened sovereignty for all Native communities. For more information, visit www.oweesta.org.
Started in 1988 by Gerald (Gerry) A. and Henrietta (Hanky) Rauenhorst, founders of the Opus Group, Better Way Foundation is focused on building a future where child well-being contributes to strong families and communities. Better Way Foundation invests in systemic, holistic, and evidence-based approaches that support the positive development of all children, and made a 10-year, $10 million pledge to Indigenous early childhood development in 2018. Better Way Foundation supports both international and domestic partners, and has connected with exceptional community-based leaders investing in the lives of children and strengthening their communities. More information is available at www.betterwayfoundation.org.
Stephanie Cote Programs Officer, First Nations Oweesta Corporation
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