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ONAC Requesting Letters of Interest for Children's Savings Account Partnerships

28 Mar 2016 9:10 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) is requesting letters of interest, from tribes and Native nonprofits in Oklahoma, that wish to partner with ONAC to open Children’s Savings Accounts with Native youth in their community.  

Currently, ONAC is working with eight partners to open 380 accounts with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and First Nations Development Institute.  The partners include the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Anadarko), Osage Financial Resources, Inc. (Pawhuska), Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (Shawnee), Cherokee Nation Child Support Program (Tahlequah), Mvskoke Loan Fund (Okmulgee), Ponca Tribe Head Start (Ponca City), Kaw Nation (Kaw City, new mini grant awardee), and Ranch Good Days, Inc. (Altus, new mini grant awardee).  ONAC is grateful to our funders and partners for the opportunity to open accounts with Native youth.

With a grant from First Nations Development Institute, ONAC has funding for an additional 190 Children’s Savings Accounts for Native youth in Oklahoma.   We will be opening 40 of these accounts by October 31, 2016, and the remaining 150 accounts by June 30, 2017. 

At this time, we are requesting letters of interest to learn if there are tribes and Native nonprofits in the state that would like to partner with ONAC to open the remaining 190 accounts.  

With each account, ONAC will provide a $100.00 opening deposit.  The accounts may be opened at a financial institution of your choice (bank or credit union) or through the Oklahoma 529 college savings plan.  The accounts do not have to be custodial though you may choose to add your tribe or Native nonprofit’s name to the accounts as custodian.  ONAC is happy to speak with you about these various options prior to your submission of a letter of interest.  With the accounts, ONAC will also provide each child with a piggy bank, certificate celebrating their participation in the program, and a Native-specific financial education activity booklet.

Why is ONAC interested in funding Children’s Savings Accounts for youth? We hope that this project will help youth to have their own savings account that can grow over time with potential deposits from their family, the child, and/or the tribe or Native nonprofit (it is not a requirement that the tribal or Native nonprofit partners deposit funds into the account though you are welcome to do so).  ONAC would like for these accounts to be a nest egg of savings for Native children to help them save for college or trade school costs, or other purchases, as approved by the tribes and Native nonprofits ONAC will partner with on this initiative.   In terms of how these accounts may promote college attendance and graduation, if the accounts are used for postsecondary education, there is recent research from the University of Kansas and Washington University in St. Louis that suggests that “youth who expect to graduate from a four-year college and have designated a portion of their savings for college are approximately four times more likely to attend college than youth who have no account.”  Also, “youth who expect to graduate from a four-year college and have an account are approximately seven times more likely to attend college than youth who have no account.” With such research in hand, ONAC believes that Children’s Savings Accounts can make a difference in the lives of children.  With this program, we wish to help support Native youth’s future plans.

*Elliott, W., & Beverly, S. (2010).  The role of savings and wealth in reducing “wilt” between expectations and college attendance (CSD Working Paper 10-01).  St. Louis, MO : Washington University, Center for Social Development.  

What are the criteria for partnership?

  • Eligible partners include Tribes or Native nonprofits located in Oklahoma.
  • Partners should choose a specific group of youth for which you wish to open the accounts (the youth may be ages birth to 18). When drafting your letter of interest to ONAC, please determine a target population for which you wish to open the accounts.  For example, you may wish to propose that you would open accounts for all youth in your tribal after-school program, Head Start class, Native language immersion school, or for a certain number of youth being served by your tribally-administered child support program.   If you are administering a Voluntary Income Tax Assistance site, you may wish to propose that you would open accounts for the youth of the parents you serve.  For those administering a tribal food program, you may wish to work with a certain number of grandparents raising grandchildren to open Children’s Savings Accounts for their grandchildren.  If you manage a Summer Youth Employment program, you may wish to open accounts for all the youth in the program.   For those of you managing a housing program, you could open accounts with the families of those you serve.  If you offer an Individual Development Account (matched savings account) program, financial education, family emergency savings account, or credit builder/credit repair program for adults, you could offer Children’s Savings Accounts for the children of the parents in the program.
  • Please specify if you would like to open either savings accounts at a bank or credit union of your choice or if you would like to open the accounts through the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan.
  • Include the numbers of accounts you would like to work with ONAC to open by June 30, 2017.

What does ONAC provide with this partnership?

ONAC will provide $100.00 per account as an opening deposit, as well as, a piggy bank, Native-specific ONAC financial education booklet, and certificate of participation.  ONAC will directly send the $100.00, for the opening deposit, either to the bank or credit union, of your choice, or to the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan.  ONAC will provide the forms for the program.  Our coalition will pay for necessary printing and shipping costs.

As a checklist, please include the following in your letter of interest:

1).  Name of tribe or Native nonprofit in Oklahoma interested in partnering with ONAC on this Children’s Savings Account (CSA) pilot project.

2).  Contact information for contact at tribe or Native nonprofit (name, title, mailing address, phone number, and email address).

3).  Short description of the target population of youth for which you propose to work with ONAC to open Children’s Savings Accounts.   Please provide brief general information about the ages of the children, the program or department they are served by, if they live in a certain geographic area, general social/economic information, etc.

4).  How many accounts would you like to open with the target population?

5).  From now through June 30, 2017, when would you be available to work with ONAC to help the families open the accounts? 

6).  Anything else you wish to tell ONAC about your interest in such a partnership?  Any questions or concerns you have for ONAC? 

To whom do we submit our letter of interest, by midnight, April 22, 2016?

You may email your letter to Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at cfinsel@oknativeassets.org

When will we be notified about the status of our letter of interest?

Based on the responses we receive, ONAC respond to all interested parties by May 6, 2016. 

Who do I contact if I have questions about this opportunity?

Please contact Christy Finsel (Osage), ONAC Executive Director, at either cfinsel@oknativeassets.org or (405) 401-7873.

ONAC appreciates your consideration of this partnership!

The ONAC Leadership

Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition 
(405) 720-0770

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