ONAC is part of First Nations’ Oklahoma Asset Building Policy and Practice Initiative (OABPP), along with Oklahoma Policy Institute and Oklahoma Assets. FNDI is the OABPP Manager and has received funding for this work from the Ford Foundation’s Building Economic Security Over a Lifetime Initiative.
Finsel brings Native and non-Native asset building experience to her work with ONAC. In 2003, she designed and implanted a youth Individual Development Account program, a matched savings program, at De La Salle Middle School in Saint Louis City. That school serves an all African American student population in North St. Louis City. She still voluntarily co-administers that program. They are in their 9th year and have graduated 94 IDA participants.
That same year, she began Native asset building research while enrolled in the Master of Social Work program at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She graduated from that program in 2004.
For the past five years, she has provided technical assistance nationwide to 30 Native communities who were either interested in starting IDA or financial education programs. In Oklahoma, most recently she worked with a Native CDFI on her reservation, Osage Financial Resources, Inc., to design a non-federally funded IDA program that serves residents of Osage County.
In 2010, she generated the Native-specific content for the Assets for Independence Native Initiative Project Design and Application Development workshops held by the Administration for Native Americans. Since then, she conducted eleven of those trainings and provided technical assistance to attendees.
Earlier this year, she concluded facilitating a FNDI Native Asset-Building Partnership Project between Four Bands Community Fund and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. This peer-learning partnership was focused on the development of a Credit Builder Loan Program.
Currently, Finsel is the Administration for Children and Families Region VII Assets for Independence Regional Consultant in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. She is also providing IDA consulting services to MA’O Farms in Wai’anae, HI; a tribe that is exploring Children’s Savings Accounts; and to FNDI as they launch a pilot Youth Savings Account Program for students at Gallup Central High School in McKinley County, NM.
Regarding her work with ONAC, Finsel says, “I am honored to have the opportunity to work with tribes in Oklahoma on asset building efforts. As a member of the Osage Nation and having grown up in Oklahoma City, I am excited to work with, and learn from, tribes in the state. There is innovative Native asset building occurring in Oklahoma and many opportunities for even more asset building efforts here. Additionally, I’m eager to connect OK tribes to other Native communities, nationally, who are also offering important asset building programs. It is an exciting time to be engaged in Native asset building in Oklahoma!”
For more information about the OABPP, please contact Sarah Dewees, Senior Director of Research, Policy, and Asset-Building Programs, First Nations Development Institute, at firstname.lastname@example.org