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  • 10 Jun 2015 12:50 PM | Anonymous

    We invite you to attend the 2015 Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) Conference, on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. The conference will be held at the Oklahoma History Center (located on the northeast corner of N.E. 23rd & Lincoln Boulevard, across the street from the Oklahoma Capitol), 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.

    During the conference, we will examine the current state of Native asset building in Oklahoma; 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 in Oklahoma. 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: July 14, 2015
    • 9:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
    • 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Conference
    • 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Networking Reception and Membership Drive

    Agenda: Click here to download the agenda.

    Registration Fee: The 2015 ONAC Conference Fee is $25.00.  You may register and pay for the registration fee online. 

    To Pay by Credit Card:
    Register using our online form and choose pay online to be directed to our secure Pay Pal site.  

    To Pay by Check:
    Register using our online form and print the registration invoice. Please mail a copy of the invoice with payment by July 8th. Attendees who are not able to mail their check by July 8th, should bring a check with them to the conference. 

    To Register:
    Click Here

    Registration Fee Waiver: If you need an ONAC Conference Fee Waiver, please contact Christy Finsel at cfinsel@oknativeassets.org to request a waiver.  Once approved, please enter the registration fee waiver discount code in the online registration form.

    Hotel Room Block for July 13th:  Colcord Hotel, 15 N. Robinson Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 

    Call: (405) 601-4300 and ask for the room block for the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition.

    The room block is available for July 13th at a group rate of $174.00 a night, plus tax, for a deluxe king or double room.  The room block is available until June 22, 2015 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 14th (after the conference), please call to make your reservation early and ask if they will honor the $174.00 rate for you on the 14th as well.
     


    What is ONAC?  
    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 security of tribal citizens.

    What is ONAC’s role with Native asset building?
    ONAC is working with constituents and partners to increase the number of Native asset building opportunities in the state such as:

    • financial education programs
    • credit builder programs
    • Individual Development Account programs (matched savings)
    • homeownership and foreclosure prevention programs
    • children's savings programs
    • entrepreneurial programs
    • free tax preparation at Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, etc.

    Questions?
    If you have any questions about ONAC or the 2015 ONAC Conference, please contact Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at cfinsel@oknativeassets.org or at (405) 401-7873
     

  • 30 Apr 2015 11:33 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)
    ONAC attended a White House Convening on Creating Opportunity for Native Youth on April 8, 2015.  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.  ONAC appreciated the opportunity to attend this convening. 


    This convening is part of Generation Indigenous (Gen I), a Presidential Initiative launched by President Obama on December 3rd, 2014.  "Gen I is a Native youth initiative focused on removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed. This broad US Government initiative will take a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to help improve the lives and opportunities for Native youth…" (Source: http://genindigenous.com). 



    Please see the press release below for information about an upcoming Tribal Youth Gathering.

    THE WHITE HOUSE 

    Office of the Press Secretary

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    April 24, 2015


    White House to Host Tribal Youth Gathering

    WASHINGTON, DC - On Thursday, July 9, 2015, the White House will host the first-ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington, DC, to provide American Indian and Alaska Native youth from across the country the opportunity to interact directly with senior Administration officials and the White House Council on Native American Affairs.


    The Tribal Youth Gathering, a collaboration between the White House and Unity Inc., will continue to build upon the President's Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative and his commitment to improve the lives of Native youth across the country. President Obama launched the Gen-I initiative at the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference to focus on improving the lives of Native youth through new investments and increased engagement. This initiative takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential.

    The Gen-I Native Youth Challenge invites Native youth and organizations across the country to become a part of the Administration's Gen-I initiative by joining the National Native Youth Network - a White House effort in partnership with the Aspen Institute's Center for Native American Youth and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Youth who complete the Gen-I Native Youth Challenge will be eligible to register for a chance to attend the upcoming White House Tribal Youth Gathering. The application to attend the Gathering can be found HERE. Additional details about the conference will be released at a later date.

  • 29 Apr 2015 11:31 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    First Nations Development Institute is proud to partner with Dr. Per Cap during Financial Literacy Month to highlight the great work of some financial literacy heroes. Dr. Per Cap, as usual, provides his insight on all things related to Native American financial education.

    Dr. Per Cap’s Financial Literacy 2015 All-Star Picks

    April is national Financial Literacy Month, so let’s celebrate by recognizing a few outstanding individuals who are working hard to expand financial education efforts throughout Indian Country.  In keeping with what has become an annual tradition each week in April, I will highlight the accomplishments of one totally awesome person who embodies the spirit of Native financial empowerment through selfless dedication, action over words, and an inclusive community vision. We’ve got five weeks in April this year, so here’s a bonus All Star!

    All Star #5: Dawn Hix, IDA Coordinator, Choctaw Asset Building

    Nothing says freedom like free money.  That’s the idea behind a program called Individual Development Accounts (IDAs).  IDAs are a nifty wealth-building strategy that offers free money to account holders through matched savings to help purchase a home, fund a business, or pay for higher education.

    “For most people the program means independence,” explains asset-builder extraordinaire Dawn Hix. “Their motivation is tied to things like freedom, personal choice and pride of ownership.  When a saver makes his or her last deposit and is ready to purchase a meaningful asset – that’s a great day.”

    Make no mistake, Dawn has witnessed more than her share of great days since joining Choctaw Asset Building in 2009 – over 400 in fact.  That’s how many savers the Durant, Oklahoma-based IDA Coordinator has helped to complete the program while collecting deposits, teaching financial education classes, and facilitating asset purchases.  The combined personal savings add up to more than $700,000.  Tack on another $1.5 million of matching funds and we’re talking over $2 million of new wealth creation.  That’s an astonishing number considering that while IDAs are a proven model, they’re also notoriously tough programs to manage due to high participant dropout rates.

    So what’s Dawn’s secret to keeping savers on track?

    Aside from a well-oiled referral network that includes Choctaw Nation Housing, Little Dixie Community Action Agency, the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, and Big Five Community Services, Dawn works hard to build strong relationships with her savers and maintains a constant presence in the communities her program serves in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas.  A lifelong educator, she spent 16 years as a high school business teacher with the Durant Public Schools before her current position at Choctaw Asset Building, a division within the Choctaw Nation Career Development Department.  Motivated by a genuine desire to see people succeed by realizing their dreams, she’s especially proud of becoming reacquainted with some of her former high school students who later become IDA savers.  

    “They’re great because I can still tell them what to do!” joked Dawn.

    One of these individuals, currently a graduate student and employee at Choctaw Nation, stands out in particular. 

    “He was in my class during his senior year,” she recalls. “Then a few years after I transferred he joined the IDA program.   He saved for three years to buy a house, but when it came time to close there was a mix up and his down-payment funds were not available.  He called while I was in a meeting out of town and was really stressed.  Fortunately, I was able to get in touch with our advisor in D.C. who approved the close that day with pending funds.”

    Never one to take personal credit for accomplishments that she feels are the result of dedicated partners and team effort, Dawn is always quick to mention others when sharing highlights from her career.  She also draws inspiration from her husband of 28 years, Tandy, who just happens to be a local banker (go figure!), and their two sons whose families include two grandchildren and a third on the way.
     
    “A wonderful thing about working in the tribal world is that you don’t work alone,” she adds.  “We all work together for one goal: to help tribal members succeed.  I am so very blessed to work with a group of professionals who make it so very easy to reach that common goal.  There is no one-person show here.  I also have a large circle of friends and professional acquaintances to call on in times of need.  The Native world and the asset-building world are wonderful at sharing their experience and knowledge.”

    Now that’s what I call a class act.  Thank you, Dawn, for all that you do.  The Native asset-building world is more than blessed to work with you, too!

  • 02 Feb 2015 11:36 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    In January 2015, Terry Mason Moore and Lahoma Simmons joined the ONAC Advisory Committee.  The other current advisory committee members, Shay Smith, Ed Shaw, and Cynthia Logsdon, along with ONAC board members Anna Knight, Dawn Hix, Amber Fite-Morgan, and Mary Elizabeth Ricketts, welcome Terry and Lahoma and thank them for their service to ONAC.
  • 30 Jan 2015 2:24 PM | Anonymous
    If you are looking for a way to try to incentive tax time savings among tribal citizens, one option is to promote the Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund SaveYourRefund campaign.  D2D is a nonprofit that works nationally to help people save their money at tax time. 

    What is the D2D Fund SaveYourRefund promotion? 

    SaveYourRefund is a national tax-time savings promotion that encourages consumers to save a portion of their refund through cash prize drawings. The SaveYourRefund promotion is available to anyone (over 18) who splits and saves at least $50 of their federal tax refund.  Promotion participants can save their $50.00 in a savings account or CD, IRA, savings bond, prepaid card, 529 college savings account, or in an Individual Development Account.  

    For 10 weeks, during the tax season, there will be weekly drawings where participants could win $100.00 each.  The drawings will occur every Friday from February 6th through April 10th.  D2D will also award one grand prize winner from their photo contest (the award is $25,000).  Winners are chosen through random selection.  (Information courtesy of D2D Fund).

    Why is tax time an important time to promote savings? 

    Tax-time savings are powerful for low- and middle-income (LMI) consumers.  Tax refunds represent up to 20% of household income for LMI families. (Information courtesy of D2D Fund).

    What if your tribe or Native nonprofit wants to work with Doorways to Dreams to share information about this promotion? 

    It is easy and free to sign up as a partner.   Training and marketing resources are available to all at SaveYourRefund.com.  Through January 15th, sites are able to sign up directly with D2D Fund using this link. Marketing material is available at: https://saveyourrefund.com/promotional-materials-2/.  (Information courtesy of D2D Fund). 

    What else is ONAC doing to try to promote tax time as asset building time? 

    Beyond sharing information about this D2D Fund promotion, ONAC has partnered with the IRS and has agreed to post a link to MyFreeTaxes on the ONAC website homepage (http://www.oknativeassets.org).  If an individual is filing a simple return, and has a gross adjusted income level of $60,000 or less, they are invited to file their state and federal returns for free by using the MyFreeTaxes link.  Please note: ONAC is not in a position to answer tax filing questions or to prepare returns for taxpayers. 

    As an additional resource, here is a list of Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in Oklahoma.   

    During this busy tax season, ONAC wishes all of our constituents, who are administering VITA sites and/or promoting tax time savings, the best!  For those who are newer to sharing such information with those you serve, we hope that the information above may be useful to you. 

  • 07 Nov 2014 5:08 PM | Anonymous

    PolicyLink recently interviewed ONAC for a partner profile.  To view the full profile visit: http://accesstofinancialsecurity.org.


    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.


    1. We know that ONAC is a coalition working to build- assets and increase economic self-sufficiency of tribal citizens in Oklahoma. Can you tell us more about your asset-building work?

    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.


    ONAC is working to develop more local and national partnerships; offer mini grants; garner administrative guidance about the use of federal sources of funding for Native asset building programs; provide training and technical assistance for asset building program design and implementation; and generate and gather research and best practices for our constituents so they will continue to build assets in Native communities.

    2. What are your current policy priorities?

    ONAC constituents are interested in providing asset-building programs to citizens of Oklahoma tribes. Barriers to implementation of asset building programs are the lack of funding and need for some administrative policy guidance from the Administration for Children and Families, for example, about using federal sources of funding for Native asset building programs. More recently, our policy work has been focused on seeking administrative guidance about the use of federal funds in relation to Tribal TANF-funded IDA programs and how Children's Savings Accounts would affect the benefits of a parent receiving Tribal TANF.

    In terms of state policy efforts, we are trying to raise awareness/provide education about the need for statewide funding for tribes and Native nonprofits for Individual Development Account and Children’s Savings Account programs.

    3. Have you had any policy-related success so far?

    ONAC requested and received administrative policy guidance from the Tribal TANF Central Office regarding whether or not Children’s Savings Accounts, (the child’s money) would negatively affect a family’s eligibility in the Tribal TANF program. We received a response that if the parent is a Tribal TANF customer, their child could have a savings account in the his/her name and the parent would still be eligible for participation in their Tribal TANF program. The parent would just have to check that the tribe has noted that children’s income is disregarded in their Tribal TANF plan. We have been sharing this guidance when we have spoken with our constituents about their interest in piloting Native CSAs in Oklahoma.

    4. We know you recently held a Community Roundtable on culturally competent best practices. What were 2 key takeaways from your event?

    We learned that there is much potential for Native asset building partnerships between the various attendees (Tribal Child Support Directors, Tribal TANF Directors; the Oklahoma Tribal Child Care Association, Native researchers, Tribal Planning Coordinators, ONAC, Administration for Children and Families, Region VI, Health and Human Services, and the Oklahoma Association of Community Action Agencies, etc).

    During the Roundtable, ONAC noted that Native communities may think about assets broadly (and not just as money). Native asset building programs, such as Individual Development Account programs, can be designed in such a way that they help build a number of assets at the same time. For example, including Native language in the financial education classes and allowing IDA participants to purchase assets such as homes, post-secondary education, dance regalia, or commonly-held assets for small business, would provide the cultually competent flexibilty needed.

    5. How is dance regalia important to asset building?

    By designing asset-building programs, such as an Individual Development Account, IDA, program for high school students, that help our youth pay for dance regalia items (assets that can be used now and handed down) our citizens can more easily afford to participate in community events. It can be expensive to pay for such materials (blouses, shirts, beaded feather fans, shawls, moccasins, etc.-regalia varies by tribe). While we support Native IDA participants having options to purchase dance regalia materials (as an example of a culturally-relevant asset purchase), we also continue to promote Native youth saving for post secondary education, small business development, etc.

  • 30 Oct 2014 11:45 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    St. Louis’s Christy Finsel and Pete Coser, Jr. named as 2014 Native American “40 under 40” award recipients

    Oct 30, 2014 | Native American National NewsNCAIED.org NewsNews

    St. Louis’s Christy Finsel and Pete Coser, Jr. named as 2014 Native American “40 under 40” award recipients

    BY ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH / STLTODAY.COM / 03 OCTOBER 2014

    Finsel, of the Osage Nation, and Coser, of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, among honorees for prestigious award from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development

    MILWAUKEE, WI – Emerging Native American leaders from across the country will be honored for their outstanding leadership during the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s upcoming Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The “Native American 40 under 40” is a prestigious award that is bestowed upon individuals under the age of 40, nominated by members of their communities, for showing initiative and dedication to providing significant, positive contributions to business or in their respective communities. Christy Finsel, a member of the Osage Nation, and Pete Coser, Jr., a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, are among the 2014 award winners to be honored during a gala at the leading Native American business event in the country, taking place at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee.

    “The 40 under 40 award showcases the accomplishments of both current and future Native American leaders,” said Gary Davis, President and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. “The future of Indian country will be shaped by exceptional leaders such as Christy and Pete who have proven their unrelenting dedication to enhancing the lives of those around them. It is truly an honor to bestow this award on such a deserving group of young leaders.”

    Christy Finsel is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition and an independent consultant. As Executive Director, she works with 39 tribes across Oklahoma in an effort to build Native assets. Finsel graduated from Saint Louis University with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Theology; she then went on to earn her Masters in Social Work from Washington University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, Religion and Culture from the Catholic University of America.

    Pete Coser, Jr. is the Program Manager at the Buder Center for American Indian Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Previously, he was an adjunct instructor at the College of the Muscogee Nation in Oklahoma. He was also a Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Intern in the Office of Senator Jon Tester of Montana. Coser is an Oklahoma State University graduate.
    Award winners will be officially honored during the 39th Annual Indian Progress in Business Awards (INPRO) Gala, which will take place during RES Wisconsin on Wednesday, October 8th. For more information about Reservation Economic Summit, please visit http://res.ncaied.org.

    About the National Center: The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. With over 40 years of assisting American Indian Tribes and their enterprises with business and economic development – we have evolved into the largest national Indian specific business organization in the nation. Our motto is: “We Mean Business For Indian Country” as we are actively engaged in helping Tribal Nations and Native business people realize their business goals and are dedicated to putting the whole of Indian Country to work to better the lives of American Indian people- both now… and for generations to come.

  • 02 Oct 2014 11:46 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    From the Northeastern State University Website: 

    NSU employees named to 2014 Native American 40 under 40

    By NSU Staff

    (Tahlequah, Okla.)—Each year the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) names 40 recipients for the "Native American 40 Under 40" award.

    These individuals are emerging leaders from across Indian Country who have contributed in business and/or their communities through leadership roles, initiatives and dedication.

    This year's award recipients include a former NSU employee and a former NSU student who is currently employed at NSU.

    Sedelta Oosahwee (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation) served as the coordinator for Student Programs in the Center for Tribal Studies at NSU before transitioning into the position of associate director for the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education Office.

    Oosahwee, a Tahlequah native, focused mainly on success strategies for students of color in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. She explained that giving back has never been anything that has required extra thought for her.

    “I am not sure I really know any other way than to give back to my community. I grew up watching my parents and other family members model this behavior,” Oosahwee said. “I grew up with the understanding that I represent not only my family, but my tribe. You take care of your elders and the youth. You always give back to those less fortunate.”

    Although Oosahwee does not currently work for NSU, she explained that the invitation to apply for her current position was a dream come true and that she still has many ties to the NSU community. Her family has deep connections with the university, where her mother was employed until retirement, her father earned two degrees and currently teaches Cherokee language, and her sister graduated.

    “I loved my time at NSU and met some people that have become mentors and family to me, like Dr. Amy Aldridge Sanford” Oosahwee said. “I also had the opportunity to work with the greatest and most important valuable people at the university, the students. I still keep in touch with many of them and have followed their progress as they continue their education in master’s programs and doctoral degree programs. I am so proud of them!”

    Amber Fite-Morgan (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) earned a Bachelor or Arts in Communication from NSU and currently serves as NSU's General Counsel.

    Fite-Morgan, a Muskogee native, also conveyed a message of the importance of a service-oriented lifestyle.

    “I believe that giving back to your community is one of the most important things a person can do,” Fite-Morgan said. “I think many people have privileges that others can only dream of, such as education, public servants, running water, electricity, etc. One way we can show gratitude for what we have is by simply giving back.”

    All award recipients will be presented at NCAIED's 39th Annual Indian Progress in Business Awards Gala (INPRO) on Oct. 8, 2014 at RES Wisconsin at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

    For a complete list of award recipients, visit ncaied.org.

    Published: 10/2/2014 12:16:12 PM


  • 01 Sep 2014 12:48 AM | Anonymous

    On October 16, 2013, Christy Finsel, ONAC Coordinator, was a panel speaker at the National Congress of American Indians 70th Annual Convention and Marketplace, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  

    View a copy of the presentation shared during the session.

    Consumer Financial Protection Resources for Native Communities

    Increased financial capability in Native communities is critical to build a better future. When Native individuals, families, businesses, and tribes make better financial decisions and know how to protect their financial interests, it benefits everyone and helps strengthen tribal economies. Consumer financial protection covers many issues including: identity theft protection; investment scams; payday lending; credit card fraud – to name a few. Recent financial settlements (Cobell and Keepseagle) and one time or on-going per capita payments can bring unwanted attention to the financial resources of tribal citizens. This workshop highlights resources available from Native Financial Education Coalition partners whose mission is to ensure that Native consumers and tribal leaders get the information they need to make the financial decisions they believe are best for themselves and their communities.

    Moderator: Sherry Salway Black, NCAI

    Panelists:
    Elke Chenevey, Vice President, Merrill Lynch
    Mark Widell, Tax Clinic Director, Oklahoma Indian Legal Services Christy Finsel, Coordinator, Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Bill Dorris, Attorney, Kirkpatrick Townsend

  • 28 Aug 2014 12:52 AM | Anonymous

    On October 8, 2013, at the Northeastern Oklahoma Regional Alliance (NORA) Summit, Christy Finsel, ONAC Coordinator, was a speaker for a panel entitled, Rural Policies - Forward Thinking Policies to Address Poverty Cycles.

    Panel Description:

    Current rural policy increases rural poverty; a panel will discuss rural communities harnessing their political capital through grassroots networks to shape winnable policy objectives supporting alternative, asset-­‐based rural economies and targeted poverty prevention programs, including building family financial assets, and will discuss building grassroots leaders to maintain a consistent, sustainable policy voice.

    View a copy of the ONAC presentation shared during the panel.

Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition 
(405) 720-0770

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