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  • 23 Jun 2017 8:15 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    ONAC thanks the Tribal Business Journal for covering this story on "Fighting Financial Distress."

    The story notes recently released research by FINRA and First Nations Development Institute, as well as the work of ONAC and our constituents to build assets in our communities. 

    To read the story, please go to http://tribalbusinessjournal.com/news/fighting-financial-distress/.




  • 20 Jun 2017 8:34 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc.

    Announces Three New ONAC Mini-Grant Awards

    June 20, 2017.  We, the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC), announce that we have awarded three additional ONAC mini-grants.  Since 2014, ONAC has awarded a total of sixteen grants, totaling $53,000. 

    ONAC is a nonprofit Native asset building coalition that works with Oklahoma tribes and partners interested in establishing asset-building initiatives and programs in Native communities, for the purpose of creating greater opportunities for economic self-sufficiency of tribal citizens.

    In April 2017, ONAC released our third request for proposals (RFP) to fund Native asset building projects in Oklahoma.  This grant was made possible with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  We received eight excellent applications from tribal governments and tribal programs based in Oklahoma.  ONAC awarded a total of $7,000 in new mini-grant funds to three ONAC constituents, with support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  An additional $500 was reallocated from a current grantee, the Native Alliance Against Violence (NAAV), to one of the new grantees, the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma.  NAAV had a change to their project plan and was in a position to generously fund five family emergency savings accounts for the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma from their ONAC grant funds.

    ONAC is excited to work with the three new awardees as they continue to offer Native asset building projects to those they serve.  As needed, ONAC is available to provide free training and technical assistance to the grantees as they implement their asset building programs.

    Below is information about the three new OANC mini-grant awardees and their projects:

    The Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma

    The purpose of the Modoc Financial Services Savings Program is to encourage twenty tribal families to save money for emergency and long-term goals.  The program wishes to introduce these twenty families to the banking industry and help the tribal members learn how to manage their money.  Each family will be provided with $100 for a savings account opening deposit (awarded a total of $2,000, with $1,500 from ONAC and $500 from current ONAC-funded mini-grant awardee Native Alliance Against Violence). 

    The Housing Authority of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma

    The purpose of their six-week Educational Financial Course, taught by an instructor from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Financial Coaching Program, is to educate their tenants about building financial security.  Their classes will focus on educating tenants on how to budget their monthly finances in order to live below their means so that they can save for a rainy day.  Although this may be challenging, it will empower their families to maintain independence and self-sufficiency, even in a financial emergency.  The point of this fund is to prevent their tenants from having to add to their debt in times of need.  The twenty-five families that complete at least five of the six weeks of the budgeting class will receive $100, per family, for an opening account deposit at Tulsa Teachers Credit Union.  As a follow-up, the financial coach will remain in contact with the families (every 30 to 60 days) to assist with any budgeting issues (awarded $3,500). 

    Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority

    The purpose of the Match Savings Account program will be to provide current and/or future participants in their Home Ownership/Lease to Own programs with an opportunity to open a savings account to help offset the costs of a housing emergency or emergencies that may affect their housing needs.  At least eight families will receive up to $250 in match funds, for their savings deposits, to help them grow the funds in their emergency savings account (awarded $2,000).

    Congratulations to these grantees!

    For more information about the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc., please go to http://oknativeassets.org

    To help ONAC fund the additional applicants, and provide technical assistance to them for their projects, as well as to administer Children’s Savings Accounts for those applicants that proposed to work with youth, please consider making a donation to ONAC.  To make a donation, go to http://oknativeassets.org/donate.   Thank you for considering this request.

  • 27 Apr 2017 10:05 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    ONAC Newsletter, April 2017

    ONAC Conference Scheduled for Tuesday, July 18, 2017

    Please save the date!  ONAC’s 2017 Conference will be held on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

    During the conference, we will examine the current state of Native asset building; have opportunities for peer learning; share information about Native asset building models, funding sources, partnership opportunities, research, training and technical assistance; and learn about ONAC next steps and ways to be involved in the Coalition.

    At the end of the day, we will have a networking reception and provide ONAC membership information. We invite you to participate in this interactive conference.

    This year, we are honored to hear from Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes President Terri Parton, Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James Floyd, Miriam Jorgensen (Research Professor and Director Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona and Research Director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development), Gary Mottola (FINRA Investor Education Foundation), Mashell Sourjohn (AARP Oklahoma), Irving Faught (Oklahoma Securities Commission), Steven Shepelwich (Federal Reserve Bank), Nikki Pieratos (Center for Indian Country Development), Bobby Yandell (Housing Authority of the Choctaw Nation), Thunder Whitecloud (Mvskoke Loan Fund), Rebecca Stone (Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation), Georgia Dick and Wyman Kirk (AIRC, Inc.), Debra Echo-Hawk and Danielle Wheatley (Pawnee Nation Title VI Elderly Meals Program), Tina Pollard (Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation), Michelle Tinnin (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), Pam Charles (Internal Revenue Service), and Cindy Carter Renfro (U.S. Small Business Administration).   We will also have a listening session on New Market Tax Credits with Dakota Cole and board members of the Chickasaw Nation Community Development Endeavor, LLC. 

    Who should attend the conference?

    Those interested and engaged in Native asset building are encouraged to attend.  We invite Tribal leaders, Tribal program directors, Native nonprofits, Native asset building practitioners and researchers, state representatives, students, cultural advisors, policy organizations, funders, financial institutions and financial institution regulatory bodies, national asset building organizations, inter-tribal organizations, representatives from the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, IRS, and Administration for Children and Families, and others interested in tribal asset building in Oklahoma to attend.

    Conference Schedule:

    • 8:30 a.m. Registration and Breakfast (Doors will open at the Oklahoma History Center at 8:00 a.m.)
    • 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Conference (During lunch, we will have a silent auction)
    • 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Networking Reception and Membership Drive

    Registration Fee: The 2017 ONAC Conference Fee is $25.00 per registrant.  You may register and pay for the registration fee online or by check.

    To access the agenda and to register, please use this link: http://oknativeassets.org/2017-ONAC-Conference

    Hotel Room Block: Embassy Suites Hotel (Oklahoma City Downtown/Medical Center) located at 741 North Phillips Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73104.

    To make a reservation under the ONAC room block, call: (405) 239-3900 and ask for the room block for the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition.

    The room block is available for July 17th at a group rate of $129.00 a night, plus tax, for a standard 2 room suite.  The room block is available until June 17, 2017 only.  If you call and find that the room block is full, please call Christy Finsel at 405-401-7873 so that we may try to increase the number of rooms.  For those also needing a room on July 18th (after the conference has ended), please call to make your reservation early and ask if they will honor the $129.00 rate for you on July 18th.

    There is a $10.00 a day parking charge at the hotel.   The hotel provides a made-to-order breakfast as part of the room change.  The hotel provides shuttle service to the Oklahoma History Center.

    Thank you to the following conference sponsors and donors: The Chickasaw Nation Community Development Endeavor, L.L.C., Osage Casino, AARP Oklahoma, Publishing Concepts, L.L.C., and the OKC Dodgers Baseball Foundation.

    ONAC Children’s Savings Account and Family Emergency Savings Account Program Updates 

    To date, ONAC has funded 415 Children’s Savings Accounts.  The Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, under the leadership of their Executive Director, Rebecca Stone, opened ONAC CSAs for youth living in their housing stock on March 31, 2017.  The account-opening event was held at the Enoch Kelly Haney Center on the campus of the Seminole State College.  At the event, Seminole artist, Enoch Kelly Haney, encouraged the Seminole youth to follow their dreams and presented slides of his artwork.  The youth drew pictures of assets that they value.  During the same event, bankers met with the families to discuss the next steps for them to open family emergency savings accounts.  ONAC awarded a mini grant to the Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation to fund the emergency savings accounts.

    ONAC Seeks Proposals for Native Asset Building Projects in Oklahoma

    Grant Overview

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) is pleased to announce this April 2017 Request For Proposals (RFP) to help fund Native asset building projects in Oklahoma. ONAC, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will award a total of $7,000 in mini grants to Oklahoma grantees for emergency savings projects.  The mini grants will average $3,500 each. Some awards may be slightly higher or lower than this average. The grant period is for 9.5 months beginning June 1, 2017, and ending March 14, 2018.

    The emergency savings account program funds may be utilized for the initial account deposit money for your participants and other related program costs. While this is not a grant requirement, the family emergency savings accounts may be linked to other asset building programs you already administer such as financial education, entrepreneurship development, elder meal, seed saving, foreclosure prevention and homeownership preparation, matched savings account, credit builder/credit repair, Children’s Savings Account, and free tax preparation assistance.

    The funding for family emergency savings account programs will help Native families, with lower incomes, to open flexible savings accounts, at a bank or credit union, to buffer them in times of emergency, income fluctuation, or irregular expenses. Such accounts will promote financial inclusion by providing a mechanism for Native families to connect to mainstream financial services that are safe and affordable. With this funding, you may provide the initial opening account deposit and then the families can grow the accounts over time with their own deposits. Emergency savings accounts, for any family, can be a step along the way towards family financial stability and economic mobility. 

    Depending upon the numbers of participants you wish to serve with a family emergency savings account program, you could, for example, provide the initial opening deposit of $50.00 each for 70 accounts or you could fund fewer accounts with more money (as an example of the latter, with a $3,500 project budget, you could fund six family emergency savings accounts at $500.00 each and then use the remaining $500.00 for other program expenses). Depending upon the participants you serve, you can design your family emergency savings account program to meet local community needs. For this program, ONAC does not require that you make the bank accounts custodial with the name of your tribe or Native nonprofit on the account.

    If you would like to talk through any of your asset building program ideas, please contact Christy Finsel, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, at (405) 401-7873, or email her at cfinsel@oknativeassets.org.

    Deadline

    The grant applications are due by May 15, 2017. ONAC will review the grant applications and make the award determinations, awarding up to $7,000 total, for this round of grant recipients. ONAC will send the award notifications by May 31, 2017. A list of awardees will be posted on the ONAC website. ONAC will send the grant payments to the grant recipients.

    Eligibility

    Eligible applicants include:

    • Tribal governments based in Oklahoma;
    • Tribal programs based in Oklahoma; or
    • Native-led organizations based in Oklahoma (over 50% of the board members must be Native).

    If applicants are not a tribal government, 501(c)(3), a 7871, or Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), they must have a fiscal sponsor. We do not require federal recognition for tribal governments, however, you must have, at a minimum, proof of state recognition.

    Application

    All applicants must fully complete the ONLINE grant application. To access the application, please go to http://www.oknativeassets-apply.org. You will be asked to establish a username and password for the application.

    Help

    If you need technical assistance with the online grant application, please contact Christy Finsel, Executive Director, Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc., at cfinsel@oknativeassets.org or (405) 401-7873.

    The deadline for applications is May 15, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. Central Time.

    Please Note: The online system automatically closes at 5:00 p.m. CST and applications not completely submitted by that time will be rejected by the system. Please allow plenty of time for submitting online. Proposals that are incomplete or are received after the deadline will not be considered. No exceptions will be permitted.

    Save the Date: Asset Building Summit May 10-17, 2017, Albuquerque, NM

    HUD’s Office of Native American Programs is pleased to announce, “Asset Building: A Pathway to Economic Self-Determination III” May 10-11, 2017 at the Isleta Resort, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The conference will focus on asset building innovations in Indian Country and strategies for advancing economic opportunity around people and place. There is no charge to attend.   During the summit, Christy Finsel, of ONAC, will present a workshop on creating youth savings programs and also speak about lessons learned on an asset building keynote panel.  Here is a link to the registration information: http://www.cvent.com/events/asset-building-a-pathway-to-economic-self-determination-iii/event-summary-76da63ff40a342d08ce271b1e2bfee07.aspx

    AARP Oklahoma Accepting AARP OK Indian Elder Honors Nominations

    The deadline for AARP OK Indian Elder Honors Nominations is May 1st.   Nominations may be made online at  www.aarp.org/NDNElders.  The AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors will be held October 3, 2017.

    ONAC Welcomes General and Endowment Donations, Sponsorships, and Memberships

    In September 2016, ONAC launched an endowment campaign.  To advance ONAC’s mission, ONAC is seeking to raise $5 million to fund an endowment for general operating expenses and program support.  A strong endowment would make ONAC sustainable and viable well into the future. ONAC thanks the Chickasaw Nation for their generous lead gift of $250,000 towards our endowment fund.  We are grateful to Governor Bill Anoatubby, of the Chickasaw Nation, for meeting with us to talk about opportunities for collaboration and for supporting this campaign.   We are excited to grow this endowment fund and we respectfully ask for your support so that we may increase Native asset building opportunities for Native families.

    What are ONAC’s hopes for the future of Native asset building?

    ONAC’s vision is that Native families will have multiple opportunities to grow their assets through participation in integrated and culturally-relevant Native asset building programs.  Our dream is that all Native youth will have Children’s Savings Accounts to help them save for their future and let them know that college is a real option for them. The coalition also would like to be able to provide more funding for asset building initiatives in the state, to tribes and Native nonprofits, to increase the numbers of

    sustainable asset building programs (such as financial education, matched savings accounts, credit repair/credit builder, and family emergency savings account programs).

    There is great potential for ONAC to work with constituents to help numerous Native families build their assets.  The second-largest Native population, per capita in the United States, resides in Oklahoma and is increasing (2010 Census).  Support of Native asset building programs will help Native families to concretely build assets that will lead to family financial security.

    Why is ONAC raising an endowment?

    In ONAC’s strategic plan, the coalition notes that we need funding to support and grow the nonprofit. ONAC’s leadership has worked to put in place a multi-pronged fundraising plan (individual donors, foundations, members, federal grants, corporate funds, sponsorships, etc.). The next step of that plan is to raise funds for an endowment.

    To advance ONAC’s mission, ONAC is seeking to raise $5 million to fund an endowment for general operating expenses and program support. A strong endowment would make ONAC sustainable and viable well into the future.

    As of 2016, ONAC’s annual operating budget is $251,522. Endowment funding of $5 million would allow ONAC to draw 5% a year ($250,000). With the sustainability that an endowment provides, ONAC would then continue to seek foundation and individual donor support, as well as memberships, sponsorships, and other donations to offer more Children’s Savings Accounts and asset building grants in the state, in order to better meet the demand for our coalition services.

    Endowment prospectus

    For more information about ONAC's endowment fund, please visit our website at http://oknativeassets.org and click “donate” at the top right of the page.  On that page is a link to our endowment prospectus. All endowment fund donations are fully tax deductible, as no goods or services are provided in exchange.

    • Please consider making a donation to our endowment fund
    • If you would like to support ONAC’s work, we ask you to please consider making a donation to ONAC’s endowment campaign.  To donate to ONAC’s endowment fund, either visit our website at http://oknativeassets.org and click “donate” at the top right of the page, or please send a check, made out to the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc., with “endowment fund” written on the memo line.  You can mail the check to the following address:

                Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc.

                Attn: Christy Finsel, Executive Director

                9511 Horseshoe Road

                Oklahoma City, OK 73162

    If your organization is unable to donate to an endowment fund, please consider supporting ONAC through membership, sponsorship, or general donations.

    The challenge ONAC faces is to build a robust endowment while meeting the need for services today. While donations towards an endowment will help our coalition to be sustainable into the future, if you wish to underwrite ONAC’s programs today, we also welcome such support.  As part of our efforts to sustain and grow the coalition, ONAC welcomes donations, sponsorships, and memberships.  For more information, please go to the donate page at www.oknativeassets.org or call Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at 405-401-7873.

    ONAC leadership thanks you for considering financial support of our statewide Native asset building coalition.

    ONAC is on Facebook and Twitter

    Please “like” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/oknativeassets/.

    Please follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oknativeassets or @oknativeassets.

    Thank you for your asset building efforts and support of ONAC!

  • 05 Apr 2017 9:22 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    ONAC Seeks Proposals for Native Asset Building Projects in Oklahoma

    Grant Overview

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) is pleased to announce this April 2017 Request For Proposals (RFP) to help fund Native asset building projects in Oklahoma. ONAC, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will award a total of $7,000 in mini grants to Oklahoma grantees for emergency savings projects.  The mini grants will average $3,500 each. Some awards may be slightly higher or lower than this average. The grant period is for 9.5 months beginning June 1, 2017, and ending March 14, 2018.

    The emergency savings account program funds may be utilized for the initial account deposit money for your participants and other related program costs. While this is not a grant requirement, the family emergency savings accounts may be linked to other asset building programs you already administer such as financial education, entrepreneurship development, elder meal, seed saving, foreclosure prevention and homeownership preparation, matched savings account, credit builder/credit repair, Children’s Savings Account, and free tax preparation assistance.

    The funding for family emergency savings account programs will help Native families, with lower incomes, to open flexible savings accounts, at a bank or credit union, to buffer them in times of emergency, income fluctuation, or irregular expenses. Such accounts will promote financial inclusion by providing a mechanism for Native families to connect to mainstream financial services that are safe and affordable. With this funding, you may provide the initial opening account deposit and then the families can grow the accounts over time with their own deposits. Emergency savings accounts, for any family, can be a step along the way towards family financial stability and economic mobility. 

    Depending upon the numbers of participants you wish to serve with a family emergency savings account program, you could, for example, provide the initial opening deposit of $50.00 each for 70 accounts or you could fund fewer accounts with more money (as an example of the latter, with a $3,500 project budget, you could fund six family emergency savings accounts at $500.00 each and then use the remaining $500.00 for other program expenses). Depending upon the participants you serve, you can design your family emergency savings account program to meet local community needs. For this program, ONAC does not require that you make the bank accounts custodial with the name of your tribe or Native nonprofit on the account.

    If you would like to talk through any of your asset building program ideas, please contact Christy Finsel, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, at (405) 401-7873, or email her at cfinsel@oknativeassets.org.

    Deadline

    The grant applications are due by May 15, 2017. ONAC will review the grant applications and make the award determinations, awarding up to $7,000 total, for this round of grant recipients. ONAC will send the award notifications by May 31, 2017. A list of awardees will be posted on the ONAC website. ONAC will send the grant payments to the grant recipients.

    Eligibility

    Eligible applicants include:

    • Tribal governments based in Oklahoma;
    • Tribal programs based in Oklahoma; or
    • Native-led organizations based in Oklahoma (over 50% of the board members must be Native).

    If applicants are not a tribal government, 501(c)(3), a 7871, or Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), they must have a fiscal sponsor. We do not require federal recognition for tribal governments, however, you must have, at a minimum, proof of state recognition.

    Application

    All applicants must fully complete the ONLINE grant application. To access the application, please go to  http://www.oknativeassets-apply.org/grant-application. You will be asked to establish a username and password for the application.

    Help

    If you need technical assistance with the online grant application, please contact Christy Finsel, Executive Director, Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc., at cfinsel@oknativeassets.org or (405) 401-7873.

    The deadline for applications is May 15, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. Central Time.

    Please Note: The online system automatically closes at 5:00 p.m. CST and applications not completely submitted by that time will be rejected by the system. Please allow plenty of time for submitting online. Proposals that are incomplete or are received after the deadline will not be considered. No exceptions will be permitted.

     


  • 03 Apr 2017 3:38 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    As of April 1, 2017, ONAC has funded 415 Children’s Savings Accounts.  The Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, under the leadership of their Executive Director, Rebecca Stone, opened ONAC CSAs for youth living in their housing stock on March 31, 2017.  The account-opening event was held at the Enoch Kelly Haney Center on the campus of the Seminole State College.  At the event, Seminole artist, Enoch Kelly Haney, encouraged the Seminole youth to follow their dreams and presented slides of his artwork.  The youth drew pictures of assets that they value.  During the same event, bankers met with the families to discuss the next steps for them to open family emergency savings accounts.  ONAC awarded a mini grant to the Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation to fund the emergency savings accounts.

    Photo Description: Seminole artist, Enoch Kelly Haney, and Seminole youth at an ONAC CSA account-opening event hosted by the Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation.  Photo by Ann Sherman. 


  • 15 Feb 2017 10:26 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    Christy Finsel, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc., was invited to participate in Native Access to Capital, Credit and Approaches that Increase Financial Security: A Roundtable Discussion.  The roundtable was held yesterday, February 14, 2017, in the Cash Room at the Main Treasury Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. 

    The welcome was provided by Beverly Ortega Babers, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management & Budget and Point of Contact for Tribal Consultation, U.S. Department of the Treasury. 

    Annie Donovan, Director of the U.S. Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, provided the opening remarks. 

    From Oklahoma, Christy Finsel was joined by Shane Jett, Executive Director and CEO of Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation, as one of the twenty-seven invited roundtable participants. 

    Miriam Jorgensen, Research Professor and Director of Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona, and Research Director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, presented material from the newly released Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities Report. 

    To view the recorded roundtable discussion, go to: https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/Video-Audio-Webcasts/Pages/Webcasts.aspx.  From there, you can click on the recording, Native American Access to Capital Roundtable, from February 14, 2017.

    Here are links to the “Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities Report” (ACC Report) and its companion report the “Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities: A Data Review.” 

    ONAC thanks the CDFI Fund and the Department of the Treasury for the opportunity to participate in this event. 


  • 01 Feb 2017 11:30 AM | Anonymous

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. (ONAC) has partnered with IRS Stakeholder Partnerships, Education, and Communication (SPEC) and agreed to post a link on our website to MyFreeTaxes.com.  

    For the 2017 MyFreeTaxes season, if you are a filing a simple return, and have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) up to $64,000 per tax return, you are invited to file your state and federal returns, for free, by using this MyFreeTaxes link: www.myfreetaxes.com.

    Please note that ONAC is not in a position to answer any of your tax filing questions, address MyFreeTaxes IT questions, or to prepare your returns for you.  If you have questions while you are preparing your returns on the MyFreeTaxes site, or if you are asked for payment information to prepare your federal or state tax returns and your income is $64,000 or less, please call this toll free number: 1-855-698-9435.

    To file your taxes on MyFreeTaxes.com, you will need the following:

    • Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for each family member and working adult.
    • 1095-A if you received a tax credit from the healthcare.gov marketplace.
    • Childcare provider name, address and tax ID, if applicable.
    • Bank routing and account numbers for checking or savings account (if you qualify for refund via secure direct deposit).
    • Last year’s tax return, if you have it.
    • A valid email address.

    Since 2009, MyFreeTaxes has helped millions of taxpayers claim their eligible tax credits.  The IRS is promoting this partnership.

    For those wishing to go to file in person at a Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site, you may search for sites near you at www.myfreetaxes.com.

    Please note: If you, or someone you know, have less than $47,955 ($53,505 if married filing jointly) in adjusted gross income, you may be eligible to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  

    Also, as tax time is a great time to save for retirement, here is the link to information on myRA (www.myra.gov), a starter retirement savings account available through the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

  • 24 Jan 2017 9:40 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    ONAC Met the NativeGiving Match Challenge

    ONAC wishes to thank our constituents for their support during the NativeGiving match campaign.  We met the match challenge with support from twenty-two individual donors.  Every donation makes a difference.  Thank you!

  • 24 Jan 2017 9:34 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    ONAC Newsletter, January 2017

    ONAC Awards One New Mini Grant in November 2016

    ONAC announces that it has awarded an ONAC mini grant to the Mvskoke Loan Fund.  This grant was made possible with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

    In January 2016, ONAC released our second request for proposals (RFP) to fund Native asset building projects in Oklahoma.  We received excellent applications from tribal governments and tribal programs based in Oklahoma.  At the time, ONAC received an application from the Mvskoke Loan Fund, but was not able to fund the grant until our second grant installment from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation arrived.  ONAC is excited to work with their staff as they continue to offer Native asset building projects to their tribal members.  If needed, ONAC is available to provide free training and technical assistance to them as they implement their asset-building program.  Congratulations to the Mvskoke Loan Fund on this award.

    The Mvskoke Loan Fund Project Description:

    Part of the mission of the Mvskoke Loan Fund is to “foster the financial well-being of its citizens…” and we firmly believe that by focusing relevant trainings on our youth that we can build a culture of financial security.  Through the purchase of the Spending Frenzy game kit offered by First Nations Development, Mvskoke Loan Fund will foster a learning environment that is both interesting and fun, and will offer the additional incentive of $100 each for up to 20 youth to seed an emergency savings account (awarded $3,500). 

    ONAC Conference Scheduled for Tuesday, July 18, 2017

    Please save the date!  ONAC’s 2017 Conference will be held on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

    During the conference, we will examine the current state of Native asset building; have opportunities for peer learning; share information about Native asset building models, funding sources, partnership opportunities, research, training and technical assistance; and learn about ONAC next steps and ways to be involved in the Coalition.

    At the end of the day, we will have a networking reception and provide ONAC membership information. We invite you to participate in this interactive conference.

    Who should attend the conference?

    Those interested and engaged in Native asset building are encouraged to attend.  We invite Tribal leaders, Tribal program directors, Native nonprofits, Native asset building practitioners and researchers, state representatives, students, cultural advisors, policy organizations, funders, financial institutions and financial institution regulatory bodies, national asset building organizations, inter-tribal organizations, representatives from the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, IRS, and Administration for Children and Families, and others interested in tribal asset building in Oklahoma to attend.

    Conference Schedule:

    • 9:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
    • 9:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Conference
    • 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Networking Reception and Membership Drive

    Agenda: Agenda is forthcoming.

    Registration Fee: The 2017 ONAC Conference Fee is $25.00 per registrant.  You may register and pay for the registration fee online or by check.

    To register, use this link: http://oknativeassets.org/2017-ONAC-Conference

    Hotel Room Block: Embassy Suites Hotel (Oklahoma City Downtown/Medical Center) located at 741 North Phillips Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73104.

    To make a reservation under the ONAC room block, call: (405) 239-3900 and ask for the room block for the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition.

    The room block is available for July 17th at a group rate of $129.00 a night, plus tax, for a standard 2 room suite.  The room block is available until June 17, 2017 only.  If you call and find that the room block is full, please call Christy Finsel at 405-401-7873 so that we may try to increase the block. For those also needing a room on July 18th (after the conference has ended), please call to make your reservation early and ask if they will honor the $129.00 rate for you on the 18th as well.

    There is a $10.00 a day parking charge at the hotel.   The hotel provides a made-to-order breakfast as part of the room change.  The hotel provides shuttle service to the Oklahoma History Center.

    Children’s Savings Account Pilot Updates 

    On November 30th, the Pawnee Tribe Title VI Elderly Meals Program opened thirty-nine accounts for the grandchildren of grandparents who participate in their program.  ONAC worked with their program staff and the grandparents to open the accounts through the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan (many of the grandparents are the account owners as they are raising their grandchildren).  During the account opening event, the grandparents enjoyed a meal made and served by the Pawnee Business Council.  ONAC worked with the grandparents to complete the account applications after they heard an introduction by Debra Echo-Hawk, Title VI Elderly Meals Program Coordinator and their tribal Assistant Keeper of the Seeds (their tribal heirloom seeds), who spoke to the grandparents about the connection between their tribal heirloom seed saving project and the idea that opening a Children’s Savings Account is a way to “plant” an educational seed for their grandchildren.  After the event, for those grandparents who were unable to complete all the forms at the account opening event, Debra Echo-Hawk, Danielle Wheatley, Pawnee Nation Elder Center Cook, and ONAC worked with individual grandparents to complete their applications.  ONAC provided the $100 account opening deposit for each student.  ONAC thanks Tiffany Frietze, Division of Health & Community Services, Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Debra Echo-Hawk, Title VI Elderly Meals Program Coordinator/FDPIR Department Manager, Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, and other program staff for all their work on this program.

    On December 8th, President Terri Parton, of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, hosted an ONAC CSA account opening event at the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes community center in Anadarko, Oklahoma.  Thirty accounts were opened that night. The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, hosted the CSA event at the tribal community center (complete with Christmas cookies and punch).  The accounts were available to tribal youth, first-come, first serve.  The tribe sent letters to eligible tribal members to alert them to this opportunity.  During the event, ONAC worked with the parents and grandparents to open the accounts.  Several youth participated in the art project and a few children took home art supplies to continue working on a piece of art that illustrates their understanding of Native assets.  President Parton greeted each family and added the children’s names to the certificates celebrating their account.  ONAC thanks President Parton for her leadership with this project.

    Three ONAC Mini Grant Awardees Complete Their Projects

    In January 2014, ONAC released its first-ever request for proposals (RFP) to fund Native asset building projects in Oklahoma.  ONAC received seven excellent applications from tribal governments and tribal programs based in Oklahoma.  At that time, ONAC had funding for four projects.  Thus, ONAC awarded a total of $14,000 in mini grants to four ONAC constituents.  Those awardees have since completed their projects.  ONAC eventually secured an additional $10,500 in mini grant funding, from First Nations Development Institute, and in November 2015, ONAC announced that they had awarded those funds to the remaining three applicants (the Mvskoke Loan Fund, Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation, and the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma).

    As of December 2016, those three latter grantees have completed their mini grant projects.  With the use of their grant funds, each grantee grew their own capacity to provide asset building programs for their citizens.  Through their projects, the grantees reached a minimum of 110 tribal citizens.  While this impact was immediate and impressive, ONAC anticipates that the positive effects of these initiatives will continue into the future.  For example, one of the grantees, the Mvskoke Loan Fund, through this project, now has a certified credit counselor available to work with their clients. We believe these investments in tribal citizens will strengthen these nations.

    Grantee Projects and Outcomes

    The Mvskoke Loan Fund had planned to enroll one of their staff members in the credit counseling certification program offered by Rural Dynamics, Inc. in Montana.  Rural Dynamics, Inc., was instead able to offer the program in Oklahoma, which allowed the Mvskoke Loan Fund to send three staff members to the training as their travel costs were greatly reduced.   As of the end of the grant period, one of the three staff members had passed the Credit Counseling Certification test, and the two additional staff members had plans to take the exam.  This grant funding increased the capacity of the Mvskoke Loan Fund to directly offer certified credit counseling services to Native entrepreneurs to improve their credit rating and help prepare them to receive business loans from the Mvskoke Loan Fund (awarded $3,500).

    Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC) offered Shonya Mbwaka (Money Smart) to stimulate sustainable economic opportunity for the Citizen Potawatomi tribal community and all past and current clients.  Through this project, funded by ONAC, the CPCDC held a reunion for twenty-eight of their Individual Development Account (IDA) program graduates.  During the reunion, held on October 11, 2016, participants attended a Financial Empowerment workshop presented by CPCDC staff and an Investment 101 presentation by Rhonda Godwin, Director of Administrative and Investment Operations at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.  On November 16, 2016, the CPCDC held a Lunch and Learn event entitled, “Can Credit Cost Your Retirement?”, presented by CPCDC staff member, Tina Pollard.  The session addressed how your credit habits impact your retirement and ability to contribute to a retirement account.  Additionally, with mini grant funds, CPCDC provided thirty one-on-one individual credit sessions with clients, seen individually from November 23, 2015 to November 23, 2016.  During those sessions, the clients received assistance with basic credit counseling, budgeting, goal setting, credit report review, and planning for retirement. 100% of participants reported that they increased their investing and financial knowledge as indicated on pre- and post-testing and evaluations for workshops. Individual credit session participants were gauged on increased credit scores, comparison to past habits, and a financial wellness questionnaire. 98% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the information given was helpful and beneficial (awarded $3,500).

    The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma provided employees of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma (ESTO), tribal youth, and tribal families the opportunity to become educated and self-sufficient as they learned from Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University.” Through video teaching, class discussions, and interactive small group activities, this financial education program presented culturally appropriate and practical steps toward economic self-sufficiency. Participants were taught how to get rid of debt, manage money, spend and save wisely, and plan for retirement. This program empowered the tribal community with the financial knowledge and tools that would lead to success.  With grant support, ESTO provided $50 to twenty-two participants (who completed the financial education program) in startup funds for an emergency savings account. Twenty-four adults, five teenagers, and five children participated in the program. Ninety-two percent (92%) of the adults (ages 18+) who participated in the program ended up finishing or completing the class. 100% of the teenagers (ages 13-17) and children (ages 5-12) completed the class.  As a result of their participation in the class, nearly all the adult participants cut up their credit cards and began saving for an emergency. Others began to use the “envelope system” (cash only) for groceries, gas, and entertainment (awarded $3,500).

    ONAC thanks each of these constituents for their willingness to engage with the coalition, and for all their work to design and implement these projects.   The coalition looks forward to working with these constituents, and others, to offer additional asset building projects in the future. 

    In April 2017, ONAC will release a request for proposal (RFP) for the next round of mini grants.  

    ONAC Met the NativeGiving Match Challenge

    ONAC wishes to thank our constituents for their support during the NativeGiving match campaign.  We met the match challenge with support from twenty-two individual donors.  Every donation makes a difference.  Thank you!

    ONAC Welcomes General and Endowment Donations, Sponsorships, and Memberships

    In September 2016, ONAC launched an endowment campaign.  To advance ONAC’s mission, ONAC is seeking to raise $5 million to fund an endowment for general operating expenses and program support.  A strong endowment would make ONAC sustainable and viable well into the future. ONAC thanks the Chickasaw Nation for their generous lead gift of $250,000 towards our endowment fund.  We are grateful to Governor Bill Anoatubby, of the Chickasaw Nation, for meeting with us to talk about opportunities for collaboration and for supporting this campaign.   We are excited to grow this endowment fund and we respectfully ask for your support so that we may increase Native asset building opportunities for Native families.

    What are ONAC’s hopes for the future of Native asset building?

    ONAC’s vision is that Native families will have multiple opportunities to grow their assets through participation in integrated and culturally-relevant Native asset building programs.  Our dream is that all Native youth will have Children’s Savings Accounts to help them save for their future and let them know that college is a real option for them. The coalition also would like to be able to provide more funding for asset building initiatives in the state, to tribes and Native nonprofits, to increase the numbers of

    sustainable asset building programs (such as financial education, matched savings accounts, credit repair/credit builder, and family emergency savings account programs).

    There is great potential for ONAC to work with constituents to help numerous Native families build their assets.  The second-largest Native population, per capita in the United States, resides in Oklahoma and is increasing (2010 Census).  Support of Native asset building programs will help Native families to concretely build assets that will lead to family financial security.

    Why is ONAC raising an endowment?

    In ONAC’s strategic plan, the coalition notes that we need funding to support and grow the nonprofit. ONAC’s leadership has worked to put in place a multi-pronged fundraising plan (individual donors, foundations, members, federal grants, corporate funds, sponsorships, etc.). The next step of that plan is to raise funds for an endowment.

    To advance ONAC’s mission, ONAC is seeking to raise $5 million to fund an endowment for general operating expenses and program support. A strong endowment would make ONAC sustainable and viable well into the future.

    As of 2016, ONAC’s annual operating budget is $251,522. Endowment funding of $5 million would allow ONAC to draw 5% a year ($250,000). With the sustainability that an endowment provides, ONAC would then continue to seek foundation and individual donor support, as well as memberships, sponsorships, and other donations to offer more Children’s Savings Accounts and asset building grants in the state, in order to better meet the demand for our coalition services.

    Endowment prospectus

    For more information about ONAC's endowment fund, please visit our website at http://oknativeassets.org and click “donate” at the top right of the page.  On that page is a link to our endowment prospectus. All endowment fund donations are fully tax deductible, as no goods or services are provided in exchange.

    Please consider making a donation to our endowment fund

    If you would like to support ONAC’s work, we ask you to please consider making a donation to ONAC’s endowment campaign.  To donate to ONAC’s endowment fund, either visit our website at http://oknativeassets.org and click “donate” at the top right of the page, or please send a check, made out to the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc., with “endowment fund” written on the memo line.  You can mail the check to the following address:

                Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc.

                Attn: Christy Finsel, Executive Director

                9511 Horseshoe Road

                Oklahoma City, OK 73162

    If your organization is unable to donate to an endowment fund, please consider supporting ONAC through membership, sponsorship, or general donations.

    The challenge ONAC faces is to build a robust endowment while meeting the need for services today. While donations towards an endowment will help our coalition to be sustainable into the future, if you wish to underwrite ONAC’s programs today, we also welcome such support.  As part of our efforts to sustain and grow the coalition, ONAC welcomes donations, sponsorships, and memberships.  For more information, please go to the donate page at www.oknativeassets.org or call Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at 405-401-7873.

    ONAC leadership thanks you for considering financial support of our statewide Native asset building coalition.

    Thank you for your asset building efforts and for your support of ONAC!

  • 20 Dec 2016 1:21 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    News Release 

    Help ONAC Meet Its Match Gift Challenge! 

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (December 20, 2016)– Help us meet our match while giving your donation even more impact!

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. (ONAC) is a nonprofit organization  that relies on grants, memberships, and generous donations to do our work in Oklahoma.  From now through January 31, 2017, we are conducting a matching gift and year-end campaign to help support our mission.  This year, donations will go towards ONAC’s newly launched endowment fund to help ensure the organization’s important work remains sustainable and viable well into the future. 

    Will you please help us with a donation today?

    If you make a donation to us through the NativeGiving.org fundraising platform sponsored by First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), it will be matched by another generous donor dollar-for-dollar until we hit a total of $500 in gifts. That’s a great way to double the impact of your gift to our organization, so we can serve even more Native families in Oklahoma.

    And, of course, your gift to us is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

    Beyond that, your gift will have even more power!  It will make us eligible for up to $3,000 in additional incentives that will help us further our mission. 

    Please give today or soon, because the match and the prize opportunities will end at midnight on January 31st.  A gift to ONAC will allow us to greatly increase our reach and effectiveness in our community.

    About ONAC

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. (ONAC), first organized in 2001 and now a nonprofit, is a Native asset building coalition that works with Oklahoma tribes and partners interested in establishing asset-building initiatives and programs in Native communities, for the purpose of creating greater opportunities for economic self-sufficiency of tribal citizens. 

    The mission of ONAC is to build and support a network of Oklahoma Native people who are dedicated to increasing self-sufficiency and prosperity in their communities through the establishment of comprehensive financial education initiatives, Individual Development Accounts, and other asset-building strategies.  For more information about the coalition, go to http://oknativeassets.org.            

    About NativeGiving.org

    NativeGiving.org is a project of First Nations Development Institute. NativeGiving.org is dedicated to strengthening and improving the lives of Native children and families while raising awareness of the needs of the communities we serve. Consistent with Native American values of sharing and reciprocity, the goal of this unique initiative is to increase giving to philanthropic efforts in Native communities. NativeGiving.org aims to direct more investments to worthy nonprofits such as those featured on the site. The featured nonprofits have developed successful and innovative projects that promote educated kids, healthy kids and secure families.

    --##--

     

    Media Contact:

    Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director cfinsel@oknativeassets.org(405) 401-7873

     


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