ONAC Executive Director
Christy Finsel is an independent consultant and researcher focused on asset building in American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. Beginning in 2003, she conducted research with the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies and then with the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. She has continued Native asset building research since that time. From 2006 to present, Ms. Finsel has provided training and/or technical assistance (TA) to thirty-two Native communities who were designing and implementing Individual Development Accounts (IDA) or financial education programs. Most recently, she assisted Osage Financial Resources, Inc. as they planned and launched their IDA program.
In the past several years, Ms. Finsel’s asset building consulting work has expanded. In 2010, she facilitated a First Nations Development Institute Native Asset-Building Partnership Project between Four Bands Community Fund, Inc. and the Entrepreneurial Centers, a collaborative effort of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Sitting Bull College. Also in 2010, Ms. Finsel prepared the Native-specific training content for the Assets for Independence (AFI) Native Initiative Project Design and Application Development Workshops, a collaboration between the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) and the U.S. Office of Community Services. She conducted eleven of those workshops for Native communities. In late 2010, Ms. Finsel was contracted to be the Region VII AFI Regional Consultant to assist the Administration for Children and Families with their AFI outreach under the ASSET Initiative. In this role, she worked with ACF Regional Program Managers, serving Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa, to embed asset building into their programs. She provided technical assistance to those designing the Child Support Child Savings Account program launched by the state of Kansas. She has also conducted Native-specific outreach with ACF staff in various regions through the ASSET Initiative. In May 2013, she prepared and presented webinars about the Native Asset Building Initiative for AFI and ANA. More recently, she completed managing a pilot Native Youth Savings Account Program in McKinley County, New Mexico, for First Nations Development Institute. She also provided technical assistance to the Meskwaki Nation and Wai’anae Community Redevelopment Corporation related to their Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. From December 2011 to December 2015, she coordinated the Missouri Asset Builder calls. In October 2014, she was named a National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development "40 under 40" award recipient.
Currently, she is working with First Nations Development Institute and providing technical assistance to Chief Dull Knife College as they design a Children’s Savings Account program; assisting First Nations Oweesta Corporation by providing technical assistance to a Native CDFI as they develop an IDA program; and directing the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC), created to work with the tribes in Oklahoma on asset building efforts. In her role with ONAC, Ms. Finsel works with tribes to support and continue their asset building efforts.
Ms. Finsel is a resident of St. Louis, MO. She voluntarily co-administers a youth IDA program at La Salle (DLS) Middle School in North St. Louis City, which she designed and launched in 2003. Ms. Finsel is also co-administering a Child Savings Account program at the school.
She holds a MA in Theology from St. Louis University and a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. Ms. Finsel is in a Religious Studies Ph.D. program studying Native worldviews and asset building. She is an enrolled tribal member of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma.