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  • 11 Jan 2016 1:57 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    January 11, 2016 

    Dear Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Constituents and Friends,

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) is writing to let you know of our 2016 ONAC Membership Drive.  We invite you to join our coalition as a member.  Your support helps us to be a sustainable coalition. 

    Beyond our Native asset building coalition in Oklahoma, there are few other such Native coalitions in the country.  ONAC’s first priority is to serve tribes, Native nonprofits, and other supporters in Oklahoma.  Given the lack of other Native asset building coalitions near us, and around the country, we also invite those interested in Native asset building, outside of Oklahoma, to join our listserv and to participate in our conferences, webinars, and peer learning calls, given the need for such information in other Native communities.

    What is ONAC and What Types of Asset Building Projects are Members Involved In?

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) represents a consortium of 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.  Our coalition is a 501(c)(3) and is Native-led.

    ONAC members might engage in any of the following asset-building efforts: financial education programs, Individual Development Account programs, Child Savings Account programs, entrepreneurship activities, homeownership assistance programs, credit repair and credit building programs, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) outreach, foreclosure prevention programs, microenterprise development programs, family emergency savings accounts, and other communal asset-building activities, etc.

    Such members might also be seeking funding for asset-building projects; evaluating asset-building programs; drafting case studies highlighting best practices and lessons learned; addressing asset-building policies with tribal leaders, Native non-profits, and at local, state, and national levels; and engaging in peer learning and sharing.

    What Does ONAC Provide Constituents?

    • Mini grants to tribes and Native nonprofits for asset building projects.  (We awarded four $3,500 mini grants in 2014.  The project administrators completed those projects in 2015.  As of November 23, 2015, we have awarded three new grantees.  Earlier this month, we released a RFP for another round of mini grants.  Those proposals are due to ONAC by February 18, 2016.  To apply, go to http://www.oknativeassets-apply.org.  You will be asked to establish a username and password for the application). 
    • Funding for ONAC Children’s Savings Account pilot projects.  We have six confirmed partners (tribes and Native nonprofits in Oklahoma) for our current pilot project. 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), and the Ponca Tribe Head Start (Ponca City).  We plan to release a RFP for additional partners in February 2016.
    • Asset building resources, models, and strategies.
    • An Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Conference to be held annually.  This year our conference will be held on Tuesday, July 12, 2016, at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, OK.  More information to follow.
    • A forum to talk about tribal, local, state, or federal asset building policies that affect your work and lives. 
    • Opportunities to connect to Native and non-Native asset building practitioners in Oklahoma, and around the country, for partnership.
    • Outreach to Oklahoma tribal leaders, tribal government programs, and other Oklahoma-based Native organizations/businesses to provide information about asset building related grants, conferences, webinars, peer learning calls, etc.
    • Free asset building program design and implementation technical assistance (TA) and training (a value worth $5,000 to $20,000, per tribe and/or Native nonprofit, depending upon their TA needs).
    • Administrative Policy Guidance requests to federal programs, as needed (such as our request for information about Tribal TANF-funded Individual Development Account program purchases, etc.)
    • Opportunities to speak at asset building conferences about your asset building programs.  In the last year, for example, we nominated the Cherokee Nation Commerce Group to participate on a youth entrepreneurship research advisory panel hosted by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity; nominated Patsy Schramm for the Taxpayer Opportunity Network Steering Committee;  and invited a number of Native asset builders to speak at our 2015 annual conference. 

    ONAC Requests Your Support!

    Your support helps Native families to build assets.  We invite you to join as a coalition member.  All membership donations are fully tax deductible as no goods or services are provided in exchange.  

    To join as a member, please click here.  If needed, the membership/donation form is attached.  Sponsorship opportunities also exist. 

    If you have any questions, please contact Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at (405) 401-7873 or cfinsel@oknativeassets.org.  

    Thank you for your support of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc.!

    ONAC Leadership

  • 04 Jan 2016 1:58 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    ONAC Seeks Proposals for Native Asset Building Projects in Oklahoma

    January 5, 2016 

    Grant Overview

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) is pleased to announce this January 2016 Request For Proposals (RFP) to help fund Native asset building projects in Oklahoma.   ONAC, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Ford Foundation, and First Nations Development Institute, will award a total of $10,500 in mini grants to Oklahoma grantees.  Depending upon the projects (financial education curriculum supplies may cost less than seed money to open Children’s Savings Accounts), the mini grants will average $3,500 each.  Some awards may be slightly higher or lower than this average.  The grant period is for 12 months beginning March 15, 2016 and ending March 14, 2017.

    Given our funding sources for these mini grants, two of the grants will be made to grantees implementing a family emergency savings account program.  The funds for such a program 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, 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.

    The remaining mini grant ONAC will award during this round of funding may be used to fund any existing or new Native asset building program in Oklahoma.   Examples of how mini grants may be used for such programs include funding for:

    • Financial education curricula materials for your financial education programs
    • A computer for your Voluntary Income Tax Assistance site (such sites help eligible tribal members prepare their tax returns for free and claim their tax credits
    • Match funds for your tribal Individual Development Account program
    • Initial deposit money for your Children’s Savings Account program (to help youth build a nest egg of savings)
    • Stipends/payments for youth employees working in your tribal employment program, so they so they have earned income to deposit into Individual Development Accounts
    • Training for your staff to be able to provide foreclosure intervention services to clients/tribal citizens
    • Loans made to customers through your Native nonprofit credit builder loan program 

    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 February 18, 2016.  ONAC will review the grant applications and make the award determinations, awarding up to $10,500 total, among this round of grant recipients. ONAC will send the award notifications by March 4, 2016. 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 organizations based in Oklahoma. 

    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 February 18, 2016, 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.

     

     

  • 29 Dec 2015 3:15 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    ONAC Newsletter, December 2015

    ONAC Awards Three New Grantees in November 2015

    On November 23, 2015, ONAC announced three new ONAC mini grant awardees.   The three awardees are the Mvskoke Loan Fund, Citizen Potawatomi CDC, and the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.

    In January 2014, ONAC released our first ONAC Mini Grant Request For Proposals (RFP) to fund Native asset building projects in Oklahoma.  We received seven excellent applications from tribal governments and tribal programs based in Oklahoma.  At that time, we had funding for four projects.  Thus, we awarded a total of $14,000 in mini grants to four ONAC constituents.  Those awardees have since completed their projects.  Over the past eighteen months, ONAC has worked to raise additional funds to support the three remaining applicants.  At this time, we have secured funding through the Ford Foundation and its generous support of First Nations Development Institute and ONAC.

    ONAC is excited to work with the three new awardees 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 the grantees as they implement their asset building programs. 

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

    • The Mvskoke Loan Fund will enroll one of their staff members in the credit counseling certification program offered by Rural Dynamics, Inc.  The staff will then work with entrepreneurs to improve their credit rating and help prepare them to receive business loans (awarded $3,500).
    • Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC) will offer Shonya Mbwaka (Money Smart) to stimulate sustainable economic opportunity for the Citizen Potawatomi tribal community and all past and current clients.  Through this project, the CPCDC will provide five workshops for a target of 50 people.  The main topic will be investing, but they will also review the basic financial essentials. Participants will receive a plan developed for their situation in the form of workshops, individual credit sessions, and budgeting sessions (awarded $3,500).
    • The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma will offer their tribal employees the opportunity to become more economically self-sufficient as they participate in Dave Ramsey “Financial Peace University” classes. Through video teaching, class discussions, and interactive small group activities, this financial education program will present culturally-appropriate and practical steps toward economic self-sufficiency.  Employees will be taught how to get rid of debt, manage money, spend and save wisely, and plan for retirement.  Additionally, during this project, the tribe will provide youth financial education materials for the tribal employee’s children. To incentivize class participation, the tribe will offer $50.00 each, in opening deposit funds for a family emergency savings account, to twenty-four of the tribal employees who complete the financial education program (awarded $3,500).

    Award Total: $10,500.  Congratulations to these grantees!

    ONAC to Release Request for Proposals for Next Round of Mini Grants

    On January 5, 2016, ONAC will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for another round of ONAC mini grants.  Two of the grants that will be awarded will be for family emergency savings accounts.  The remaining mini grant will be available to support other asset building programs such as credit builder/credit repair, financial education, matched savings accounts, foreclosure prevention, homebuyer education, Children’s Savings Accounts, etc.  The applications will be due on February 18th.  Applicants will be notified about award determinations on March 4, 2016.  The grant period will run from March 15, 2016, to March 14, 2017.  If any Oklahoma tribes or Native nonprofits have questions about a potential proposal, please contact Christy Finsel at cfinsel@oknativeassets.org or (405) 401-7873. 

    2016 ONAC Conference

    The 2016 ONAC Conference will be held on July 12, 2016, at the Oklahoma History Center, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Please save the date!  More information to follow.

    Children’s Savings Account Pilot Updates

    ONAC has been preparing materials for our Children’s Savings Account (CSA) pilot.    The Cherokee Nation Child Support Program was the first of our six confirmed partners (tribes and Native nonprofits in Oklahoma) to launch the project.  They opened their first account in December 2015.  They will work with their child support clients to open Children’s Savings Accounts for families with an annual income equal to or less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level who have children ages birth to eight.   ONAC will provide the $100.00 initial deposit, as well as a piggy bank, Native-specific financial education booklet, and certificate of participation for the child. The other five partners will launch their Children’s Savings Accounts pilots throughout the next year.  We are excited to get the 320 savings accounts opened!

    As part of our CSA campaign over the past several years, ONAC has worked with child support contacts to tease out alternatives to state owned debt forgiveness (such as with the CSA in the state of Kansas) as state owed debt forgiveness is not currently allowed in Oklahoma.  We have arrived at an alternative option that tribally- administered CSAs may want to offer their clients.

    To add extra incentive for parents served by the Cherokee Nation Child Support Program to deposit funds in the accounts, they will offer the custodial and non-custodial parents, who have established cases, an offer for private mediation.  If both parties are willing, and the non-custodial parent owes a custodial parent money, in order to work a good obligation, the non-custodial parent may deposit money into the Children’s Savings Account for the benefit of their child.  This reduces the non-custodial parent’s debt, and helps the child to have a bigger nest egg of savings.  We hope that this Children’s Savings Account project, with an added debt reduction component, may be a model for other tribally-administered Child Support Programs that wish to offer Children’s Savings Account programs.  We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Cherokee Nation Child Support Program to launch this program.

    ONAC Welcomes Donations and Memberships

    As part of our efforts to sustain and grow the coalition, ONAC welcomes donations and memberships.  For more information about donations and memberships, please go to www.oknativeassets.org.  ONAC appreciates your support!

    ONAC Thanks Our Constituents and Friends Who Donated to ONAC Through NativeGiving.org.  We Met the Match Gift Challenge! Several More Days to Give to Help Us Win a $1000.00 Prize. 

    With your support, we reached the match gift challenge.  Thank you!  This means that between November 1st to December 27th, twenty-one individuals donated a total of $500.00 to ONAC, helping us receive an additional $500.00 in match funds.  ONAC thanks those who have donated to ONAC through NativeGiving.org!  

    If you would like to make a donation through December 31st, a generous donor has pledged to award a prize of $1,000.00 to the participating organization that raises the most funds through the website by the end of the year, plus a $1,000.00 prize to the organization that raises the largest number of individual gifts through NativeGiving.org (regardless of the total dollar amount).  To donate, please go to http://www.nativegiving.org/node/20.  

    Happy New Year!  Thank you for your support of ONAC.  We appreciate the opportunity to work with you to support asset building opportunities for Native families in Oklahoma. 

    Christy and the ONAC Board and Advisory Committee Members

  • 18 Nov 2015 10:29 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    PRESS RELEASE

    Help ONAC Meet A Match Gift Challenge!

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (November 18, 2015)– 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 Dec. 31st, we are conducting a matching gift and year-end campaign to help support our mission.

    Will you please help?

    If you make a donation to us through the NativeGiving.org fundraising platform, it will be matched by another generous donor – dollar for dollar – up 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 additional incentives that will help us further our mission. Since we are one of several Native organizations participating in NativeGiving.org, a generous donor has pledged to award a prize of $1,000 to the participating organization that raises the most funds through the website by the end of the year, plus a $1,000 prize to the organization that raises the largest number of individual gifts through NativeGiving.org (regardless of the total dollar amount).

    Please give today or soon, because the match and the prize opportunities will end at midnight on Dec. 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 2007 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

  • 30 Sep 2015 10:28 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)


    ONAC Newsletter, September 2015

    ONAC Constituent Mini Grant Projects Completed 

    ONAC is pleased to note that the four 2014-2015 ONAC mini grantees have completed their projects.  Each grantee implemented innovative asset building projects.  To read the final report about the mini grant outcomes, click here.  ONAC thanks the project administrators for all their work!

    ONAC to Release Request for Proposals for Second Round of Mini Grants

    Later this year, ONAC will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a second round of ONAC mini grants.  Two of the grants that will be awarded will be for family emergency savings accounts.  The remaining mini grants will be available to support other asset building programs such as credit builder/credit repair, financial education, matched savings accounts, foreclosure prevention, homebuyer education, Children’s Savings Accounts, etc.

    ONAC Board Member, Mary Elizabeth Ricketts, Selected as an Honoree for the 2015 AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors

    ONAC nominated Mary Elizabeth Ricketts, ONAC Board Member and retired Executive Director of Osage Financial Resources, Inc., for the AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors.  Ms. Ricketts was selected as an honoree.  According to AARP Oklahoma, “this is one of AARP Oklahoma’s most prestigious and visible awards, given to recognize outstanding Native American Elders who are making a powerful difference in their communities, and Indian Country, in ways that are consistent with AARP’s mission and vision, and who inspire others to service.”  Ms. Ricketts will be recognized, along with other Native American elders, on October 6th, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.  ONAC thanks Ms. Ricketts for her service on the ONAC board.

    2015 ONAC Conference

    The 2015 ONAC Conference was held on July 14that the Oklahoma History Center, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The conference sessions included an opening welcome by Osage elder, Mr. Eddy Red Eagle, and information about the work of the coalition over the past year, presented by Christy Finsel; acknowledgement of the ONAC leadership committee and board members as well as First Nations Development Institute colleagues; state legislative updates in relation to tribes, as offered by Representatives Dan Kirby and Seneca Scott; an update about the National Asset Scorecard for Communities of Color Project; financial education resources/information from First Nations Development Institute and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; an update about the Chickasaw Nation’s use of a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grant to expand their VITA program; information about four Native Community Development Financial Institutions in the state; project reports from ONAC mini grantees; a session on asset building and elders; information about asset building and food sovereignty/food systems; and a round-robin sharing with information from the Oklahoma Arts Council, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Invest Ed STARS Project. 

    ONAC wishes to thank those who had attended earlier ONAC conferences including representatives from the Oklahoma State Service Learning program, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Small Business Administration, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, First Nations Development Institute, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Chickasaw Nation: Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation, HUD, The New School, Arvest Bank, Oklahoma Native Caucus, Cherokee Nation Commerce Group, Absentee Shawnee Development Corporation, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, FDIC, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, OK Farm and Food Alliance, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (Oklahoma City Branch), AARP Oklahoma, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, and the Buder Center for American Indian Studies at Washington University in Saint Louis.  ONAC also wishes to thank those who attended our annual conference for the first time.  Those participants included those from the American Indian Institute at The University of Oklahoma, Mvskoke Creek Loan Fund, Oklahoma Policy Institute, the Osage Nation, Oklahoma City YWCA, Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work at The University of Oklahoma, OKDHS Office of Planning, Research, and Statistics, Oklahoma Department of Securities, Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Apache Tribe, The MICAH Foundation, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, TBI Raiders, Oklahoma Arts Council, and the Housing Authority of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. 

    Following the conference, constituents have told us about the connections they made with other conference attendees.  ONAC holds our conferences in an effort to foster such relationships.

    ONAC wishes to thank First Nations Development Institute and AARP Oklahoma for their financial support of the conference. 

    Next summer, we will hold our 2016 ONAC Conference.  More information to follow.

    ONAC to Share Information at Upcoming First Nations Development Institute LEAD Conference

    This week,  ONAC Executive Director, Christy Finsel, will present information about ONAC’s work at the First Nations Development Institute LEAD Conference.   She will speak about ONAC’s Children’s Savings Account efforts, as well as, ONAC’s community engagement work.    For more information about this conference, click here.  In the future, this conference may be of interest to you in your asset building efforts.

    Children’s Savings Account Pilot Updates

    ONAC has been preparing materials for our Children’s Savings Account pilot.  With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and First Nations Development Institute, our coalition will provide the $100.00 initial deposit, as well as a piggy bank, Native-specific financial education activity booklet, and certificate of participation for the child.  We anticipate that the first of our six confirmed partners on the project will start opening accounts with their clients in October.  The other five partners will launch their Children’s Savings Accounts pilots throughout the next year.  We are excited to get the 270 plus savings accounts opened!  More information to follow.

    ONAC Partner Wins a National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) Gold Star Award

    The University of Oklahoma Enrollment and Student Financial Services Office was awarded a National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) Gold Star Award for their work on “The Nine Things Every College Student Should Know About Money” course.  According to the award notice, the course provides “students with an understanding of personal finance and how financial decisions will impact their lives going forward.” To read more, click on this news release

    Judi Voeller, Associate Director, Grants and Special Projects, OU Financial Aid Services, has attended several ONAC conferences and is a cheerleader for the coalition’s work.  Occasionally, she sends us journal articles about Children’s Savings Account research.  ONAC knows that for tribes and Native nonprofits to successfully implement asset building programs in the state, we need reciprocal partnerships with a variety of partners, including tribal colleges and universities.   ONAC congratulates the University of Oklahoma on their financial education efforts with their students.

    ONAC Welcomes Donations and Memberships

    As part of our efforts to sustain and grow the coalition, ONAC welcomes donations and memberships.  For more information about donations, please click here.  For information about ONAC memberships, click here.  ONAC appreciates your support!

    ONAC Chosen as One of Seven Native Nonprofits to Participate in NativeGiving.org

    ONAC announced on September 16th that it is one of seven Native American organizations invited to participate in the NativeGiving.org initiative. This initiative is a project that aims to attract donors to smaller Native nonprofits to help them expand their services in their local communities. Sponsored by First Nations Development Institute, this project offers fundraising assistance, and an online giving portal, at www.NativeGiving.org.  

    ONAC was selected by First Nations Development Institute to participate in the project to assist the organization with its fundraising efforts.  Besides ONAC, the other participants in the project are College of Menominee Nation in Wisconsin, Oyate Teca Project in South Dakota, S.T.A.R. School in Arizona, Sust'ainable Molokai in Hawaii, Zuni Youth Enrichment Project in New Mexico, and the Santa Fe Indian School Leadership Institute.

    The NativeGiving.org website is now up and running. On the site, people can research the organizational profiles and financially support one or more of the nonprofits. First Nations will incur all processing, administrative and handling costs. Thus, 100% of the gifts made to the participants will go to furthering that organization’s mission.  ONAC is thankful to be included in this initiative.

    Thank you for your support of ONAC!

  • 18 Sep 2015 12:00 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    ONAC 2014-2015 Mini Grant Final Report

    Prepared by Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director

    August 2015

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) represents a consortium of 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 January 2014, ONAC released our first-ever request for proposals (RFP) to fund Native asset building projects in Oklahoma.  We received seven excellent applications from tribal governments and tribal programs based in Oklahoma.  When ONAC released the RFP we had a total of $10,500 to award to recipients (an average of $3,500 each for three grantees).  After receiving seven applications in February, First Nations Development Institute, a national Native nonprofit, and the fiscal sponsor for ONAC at the time, was able to secure $3,500 more to fund a fourth grantee.  Thus, ONAC, in collaboration with First Nations, awarded a total of $14,000 in mini grants to four ONAC constituents.  During the past year, ONAC was excited to work with the awardees as they continued to offer Native asset building projects to their tribal members.   ONAC was available to provide free training and technical assistance to the grantees as they rolled out their projects. 

    As of August 2015, the four grantees have completed their mini grant projects.  With the use of their grant funds, each grantee grew their own capacity to continue providing asset building programs for their citizens.  Through their projects, the grantees reached a minimum of 179 tribal citizens.  While this impact was immediate and impressive, ONAC anticipates that the positive effects of these initiatives will continue into the future.  In the case of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Housing Division and the Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, their efforts to further educate tribal members about foreclosure prevention or credit and budgeting will likely continue to ripple out into their communities as family members share their learning with each other and know how to access the varied services of their housing authorities.  The longer-term impacts of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes’ work to teach youth about their culture, history, and good health practices, as well as to open savings accounts with them, will likely help the youth and their families to be more comfortable connecting to mainstream financial services, save for their future, and continue to develop a strong tribal identity. The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians’ project also helped youth to connect to mainstream financial services through the opening of a bank account, as well as, provided youth with the opportunity to develop their employment skills and increase their financial literacy.   We believe these investments in tribal citizens will strengthen these nations.

    Grantee Projects and Outcomes

    ·      The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Housing Division held three foreclosure prevention classes for twenty-four citizens.  Ms. Laura Frossard, of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, was the featured speaker.  One of the classes was videotaped, with permission, and will be used as a training tool for Housing Services staff to become more aware of the resources available to their citizens.  A computer and supplies were purchased for credit checks and a printer was provided by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Housing.  The computer has been a great resource for applicants, those considering the mortgage assistance program, and those learning to read their credit report.  The Department of Housing set up an informational booth at a March Madness basketball tournament for high school students.  Foreclosure prevention information was distributed to 40 individuals, over 18 years of age.  These efforts helped citizens to be more aware of the resources available to them so that they do not wait too long before they seek help to prevent foreclosure on their homes (awarded $3,500).

    ·      Wichita and Affiliated Tribes administered a Wichita SummerSmart Youth Program where, in addition to building tribal pride through teaching Wichita history and culture and promoting good health practices, they offered savings accounts for the interns and youth participants as well as financial education classes.  During the program, with the grant funds, they opened 27 Children’s Savings Accounts (including four accounts for their youth interns).   During the program, the children learned about tribal presidents, aboriginal homelands of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, traditional foods such as corn, and some language.  They were introduced to a wide variety of physical activities such as dodgeball, kickball, and other sports.  They were also provided nutrition classes by their Food Distribution staff.  A banker came and discussed with them  the importance of saving money and the children noted the things they would like to save for in the future.  The President of the Tribe also held a discussion with the youth to reemphasize the importance of saving for things that they wanted and needed (awarded $3,500).

    ·      The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians offered a youth employment and financial education program where they required that the participants save earnings in a savings account.  During this program, eight participants received information about ONAC, completed online financial education training, and developed an action plan for saving.   Students learned about savings, interest, credit scores, and the importance of saving and budgeting.  Students were placed at work sites, in their community, and paid to complete 20 hours of service.  The students then deposited their earnings into a savings account established through this program.  The participants completed their work hours at the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians Library and the Cherokee Nation Heritage Center.  They also worked as helpers during community events and as elder assistants.  The year-long program ended with a ceremony held in honor of the participants at the George Wickliffe Education Center (awarded $3,500).

    ·      The Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma continued to build internal staff capacity by sending a staff member to participate in the Native American Credit Counseling Program, provided by Rural Dynamics, Inc., in Great Falls, Montana.  They also worked with a colleague, Kyra Childress, from the Chickasaw Nation Housing Authority, to hold five credit counseling and budgeting classes for their clients during the year.  Eighty clients attended their classes (awarded $3.500).

    ONAC Mini Grant Lessons Learned and Future Plans

    Through this pilot round of mini grants, given the interest in the grants, ONAC has learned that there is need for flexible sources of funding for asset building projects among constituents in Oklahoma.   Additionally, the coalition has learned of, and been impressed by, the considerable reach of these initiatives in tribal communities.  Thus, going forward, ONAC will strive to continue to offer such grants to our constituents.   In the last year, ONAC received IRS approval of tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and has fundraised to be able to offer additional mini grants.  Later this year, ONAC will release a RFP for the next round of mini grants.  

    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.  

    For more information about ONAC mini grants, please contact Christy Finsel, Executive Director, at (405) 401-7873 or cfinsel@oknativeassets.org.

  • 16 Sep 2015 6:00 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    News Release

    Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) Participating in NativeGiving.org Initiative

    Oklahoma City, OK (September 16, 2015) – The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) announced today that it is one of seven Native American organizations invited to participate in the NativeGiving.org initiative. This initiative is a project that aims to attract donors to smaller Native nonprofits to help them expand their services in their local communities. Sponsored by First Nations Development Institute, this project offers fundraising assistance and an online giving portal at www.NativeGiving.org.  

    ONAC was selected by First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) to participate in the project to assist the organization with its fundraising efforts. Besides ONAC, the other participants in the project are College of Menominee Nation in Wisconsin, Oyate Teca Project in South Dakota, S.T.A.R. School in Arizona, Sust'ainable Molokai in Hawaii, Zuni Youth Enrichment Project in New Mexico, and the Santa Fe Indian School Leadership Institute.

    “The NativeGiving.org project is a great way for us to enhance our ability to raise funds and awareness of our work here in Oklahoma,” said Christy Finsel (Osage), Executive Director of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition. “We’ll be promoting the new site in addition to our normal fundraising activities, and First Nations will also be actively promoting it on behalf of all of the participants.  We certainly hope it will generate more awareness of and resources for our work and mission, not only in our own area and region, but from other parts of the U.S.”

    The NativeGiving.org website is now up and running. On the site, people can research the organizational profiles and financially support one or more of the nonprofits. First Nations will incur all processing, administrative and handling costs. Thus, 100% of the gifts made to the participants will go to furthering that organization’s mission.

    All of the participants in NativeGiving.org are current or previous grantees of First Nations, which is a 35-year-old national Native organization that works to build Native economies and communities. Further, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is supporting First Nations’ work on the NativeGiving.org project.

    First Nations also will provide training and technical assistance to the participating organizations through coaching, webinars and an online learning community to share resources and build the group’s collective knowledge and best practices from their own organizations. It will also facilitate a dialogue between project participants and Native grantmaking tribes and other funding entities in hopes that mutually beneficial partnerships can be established.

    About ONAC:

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (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.

    The mission of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (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.                  

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

  • 02 Jul 2015 9:46 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    ONAC Newsletter, July 2015

    What is the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition?

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) is a nonprofit 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 coalition is Native-led and one of only several Native asset building coalitions in the country.  Our goal is to increase the number of sustainable Native asset building programs in the state and to support those administering such programs by providing free technical assistance, networking opportunities, mini grant funding, administrative policy guidance advocacy, and promotion of what is working well with these programs at a state and national level.

    A Brief History of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition

    In 2001, a meeting supported by First Nations Development Institute (FNDI), a national Native nonprofit, was held to determine interest in the development of a coalition of tribes having initiated (or about to initiate) asset-building programs.  It took until 2007 for a group of tribal representatives to meet, at the Cherokee Casino and Resort in Tulsa, agreeing to become an organized Native-focused asset-building group, along the lines of those developed in some other states. This initial meeting established three objectives:

    1)    Identify and bring together Oklahoma tribes that are implementing or planning to implement asset-building programs, for networking and learning purposes;

    2)    Create and support a venue for Oklahoma tribes to share information on issues related to creating and implementing asset-building programs; and

    3)    Sustain a Native-led asset-building group – made up of tribal and tribal-related entities – designed specifically to address unique asset-building circumstances of Oklahoma tribes.

    As a first step to accomplishing its mission, ONAC identified three main action goals: 

    1)    Engage tribal leaders and state and federal policy makers in expanding asset-building opportunities for Native people in Oklahoma through policy changes;

    2)    Create an information conduit for tribes on financial education, IDAs, EITC, CDFIs, and other asset-building strategies and opportunities; and

    3)    Develop local leadership, expand membership, and work to make the coalition self-sustaining.

    The coalition was launched! Over the years, we have grown the coalition.  We now distribute information to 700 constituents and friends.  Until July 2014, the coalition structure was informal, not operating under bylaws with elected officers.  In July 2014, ONAC received IRS approval of tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as well as determination that ONAC is classified as a public charity.

    What Kinds of Asset Building Programs Do ONAC Constituents Administer?

    ONAC members currently administer a variety of asset-building programs including: homeownership assistance, entrepreneurship, Individual Development Account, financial education, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), credit and debt repair, estate planning, food security, and Children’s Savings Accounts.  ONAC works to support and strengthen these efforts in Oklahoma.

    ONAC Has the Following Updates:

    In January 2015, Terry Mason Moore and Lahoma Simmons joined the ONAC Advisory Committee.  The other advisory committee members, Shay Smith, Ed Shaw, and Cynthia Logsdon, along with current ONAC board members Anna Knight, Dawn Hix, Amber Fite-Morgan, and Mary Elizabeth Ricketts, welcome Terry and Lahoma.

    We wish to thank ONAC board member, Amber Fite-Morgan, for her service.  At the end of July, she will be moving out-of-state to start a new position.  We appreciate all her care for, and governance of, ONAC.  Terry Mason Moore will be the ONAC Board Secretary as of August 1, 2015.  Her legal expertise will be helpful to the coalition.

    ONAC attended a White House Convening on Creating Opportunity for Native Youth on April 82015.  During a breakout session facilitated by Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, attendees were invited to introduce themselves and their work.  We shared information about ONAC and the value of partnerships between Native asset building coalitions and federal departments.

    In June 2015, ONAC was awarded a $200,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to fund pilot Children’s Saving Accounts, as well as, family emergency savings mini grants to ONAC constituents (so that tribes and Native nonprofits may administer such mini grants). The Children’s Savings Account 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), and the Ponca Tribe Head Start (Ponca City).   For the family emergency savings accounts, ONAC will offer a Request For Proposals (RFP) to fund a total of six family emergency savings accounts programs over the next three years.   More information to follow.  We are thankful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for their support of ONAC and Native asset building efforts in Oklahoma!

    Also, in June 2015, First Nations Development Institute awarded ONAC a Native Youth and Culture Fund award to fund 80 Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) with two ONAC constituent partners (Osage Financial Resources, Inc. and Mvskoke Loan Fund).   We will open the accounts over the next year.  This is part of ONAC’s efforts to fund CSAs for Native youth across Oklahoma.  Thank you for First Nations Development Institute for their support of this project!

    The 2015 ONAC Conference will be held on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, in Oklahoma City, at the Oklahoma History Center.  Click Here for more information about the conference and to register.

    In 2014, with support from First Nations Development Institute and the Ford Foundation, ONAC made four grants ($3,500 each) to the following awardees: The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Housing Division, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, and the Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.  As of May 2015, each grantee has completed their grant objectives.  We are appreciative of all their hard work and congratulate them on the positive impact their asset building projects had on their communities

    ONAC continues to offer free technical assistance to constituents in Oklahoma (such as tribes and Native nonprofits) who wish to design and implement debt reduction account programs, financial education programs, Children’s Savings Account programs, Individual Development Account programs, family emergency savings programs, etc.  If you would like such assistance, please contact Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at cfinsel@gmail.com.

    Each quarter, we publish a report with our completed activities.  To view our progress, please go to the Our Work section of our website and click to learn more: http://oknativeassets.org/our_work.  You can see our work, by year, on the left side of the page.

    ONAC has launched a 2015 membership drive.  Memberships help our coalition to be sustainable.  To join as a member, please see: http://oknativeassets.org/membership.  Thank you to those who have joined thus far!  Your support keeps our coalition moving forward.

    In December 2014, we offered our first year-end donor campaign as a newly registered nonprofit.  We greatly appreciate the constituents and friends who made a donation to our coalition.  This donor campaign was the first of many ONAC will offer as a means of raising funds for mini grants, Children’s Savings Accounts, and support of our coalition. 

    We hope to see you at the ONAC Conference on July 14, 2015!  Thank you for your support of ONAC!

    Christy and the ONAC Board and Advisory Committee Members

  • 23 Jun 2015 8:38 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    News Release

    Contact: Christy Finsel  cfinsel@gmail.com
    (405) 401-7873

    June 23, 2015 

    Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) to Offer Children’s Savings Accounts and Mini Grants for Family Emergency Savings Accounts with Tribes and Native Nonprofits in Oklahoma

    Oklahoma City, OK - The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC), a statewide coalition in Oklahoma, has begun a project to promote family financial security and opportunity for American Indian families in Oklahoma through pilot Children’s Savings Accounts and family emergency savings accounts.  

    The project is funded by a $200,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.

    “Children’s Savings Accounts, or “CSAs,” provide a nest egg of savings and can positively affect children’s educational development.   Building from the groundwork that ONAC has laid with CSAs over the last few years, this project will launch the largest pilot of a Native Children’s Savings Account project in Oklahoma,” said Christy Finsel (Osage), Executive Director of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc.  “This project will also help our constituents to provide family emergency savings accounts.  With the varied project designs of our partners, we will be able to help Native youth and their families save for their future, have access to flexible savings, and connect to other asset building services.  These resources from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will allow the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, and our Native partners, to address intergenerational poverty and to continue to positively impact a number of American Indian citizens in Oklahoma.”

    Efforts will focus on offering financial education, opening accounts and providing the initial opening deposit funds. The project will also continue to build the capacity of ONAC constituents to provide similar programs in the future.

    With this project, ONAC will work with our constituents to open a total of 270 Children’s Savings Accounts for American Indian children, ages birth to eight, in Oklahoma over the next three years.  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), and the Ponca Tribe Head Start (Ponca City).  Additionally, ONAC will offer a Request For Proposals (RFP) to fund six constituents (tribes and Native nonprofits in Oklahoma) as they provide family emergency savings accounts to tribal citizens.  The family emergency savings accounts may be linked to other asset building programs the constituents already administer such as financial education, entrepreneurship development, foreclosure prevention and homeownership preparation, Native language, matched savings account, credit builder/credit repair, and free tax preparation assistance.

    “This project will help Native families, with lower incomes, to open flexible savings accounts to buffer them in times of emergency, income fluctuation, or irregular expenses,” Finsel said.  “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, we will 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.”   Finsel added, “We are very excited about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s investment in Oklahoma Native communities and our Native-led asset building coalition.”

    About the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc.: The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. (ONAC), first organized in 2007 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 the W.K. Kellogg Foundation: The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

    The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

  • 18 Jun 2015 6:43 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    PRESS RELEASE

    Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    CONTACT: Christy Finsel

    June 18, 2015                                                                            (405) 401-7873

    OKLAHOMA NATIVE ASSETS COALITION RECEIVES GRANT FOR INVESTING IN NATIVE FAMILIES AND PROMOTING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT NATIVE ASSETS

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) recently received a $17,482 grant from the First Nations Development Institute of Longmont, Colorado.  This award will support Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition’s Investing in Native Families and Promoting Conversations about Native Assets project.

    With this grant, the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) will partner with Osage Financial Resources, Inc. and the Mvskoke Loan Fund to fund 80 Children’s Savings Accounts in the next year.  Both of the project partners are Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that offer loans and other financial services in their home communities.  The project includes financial education and an art project. Prior to opening the accounts, youth participants and their families will receive Native-focused financial education materials from ONAC.   They will also be invited to create a piece of art that reflects their understandings of Native assets.  Partners will display the youth artwork at an art show at a location of their choice.  ONAC will then generate a calendar, with the youth art included, which highlights various perspectives of Native asset building throughout the year.

    “This grant will assist ONAC, and our partners, as we fund Children’s Savings Accounts for Native children who are living in two rural communities in Oklahoma. This pilot is part of a broader effort, on behalf of ONAC, to open Children’s Savings Accounts with Native youth throughout the state.  We appreciate First Nations Development Institute’s investment in our coalition and we are excited about this opportunity to help Native youth from families experiencing poverty to build a nest egg of savings,” said Christy Finsel (Osage), Executive Director of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc.

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. (ONAC), founded in 2007 and now a 501(c)(3) 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, visit http://oknativeassets.org.            

    # # #

Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition 
(405) 720-0770

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