PHILADELPHIA and LONGMONT, Colo., (Oct. 03, 2017)—Three leaders were honored last Wednesday in recognition of their commitment to excellence in the Native CDFI industry at the 2017 Native CDFI Awards Ceremony, part of the 14th Annual Native CDFI Convening hosted by OFN and First Nations Oweesta Corporation (Oweesta).
The Circle of Honor Award recognizes a Native CDFI that is successfully increasing access to capital and financial resources in Native communities by developing innovative loan products, promoting community development, and overcoming challenges. The 2017 Circle of Honor Award winner is Sequoyah Fund, a Native CDFI located in Cherokee, North Carolina, that offers economic and community development within the Qualla Boundary, the home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Sequoyah Fund demonstrates outstanding leadership within the industry by overcoming adversity in a challenging rural economic climate, while meeting community needs for development of financial capabilities and credit counseling, youth programming, and capitalization and training and technical assistance for entrepreneurs. Under the direction of Russ Seagle, Sequoyah Fund has made rapid progress since their inception, cultivating strong relationships with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal leadership, community programs, neighboring cities, peers, mentors, and partners. Sequoyah Fund has also developed an innovative entrepreneurship brand, Authentically Cherokee, to support the marketing of contemporary Native artist-entrepreneurs.
The Visionary Leader Award for Outstanding Achievement recognizes a person who has made a long-term contribution to the Native CDFI industry and whose local financing and asset building efforts make them an inspiration for others. Angie Main, Executive Director of NACDC Financial Services, has been a trailblazing visionary leader exemplifying a level of commitment to NACDC Financial Services and the Native CDFI industry. Under her leadership, NACDC Financial Services has provided affordable capital to over 200 Tribal members across the state of Montana, lending out over $1.5 MM. In the last year, NACDC Financial Services has seen significant growth with loan volume doubling from 2014 to 2016 and total assets increasing to over $1 MM. She has also forged partnerships with local, state, and governmental entities to propel economic development efforts benefitting Tribal members located on all seven reservations in Montana.
Oweesta also introduced a new award; The Rodger Boyd Nat’aanii Award for Advancing National Policy Inclusion for his contributions to the Native CDFI industry. Rodger Boyd worked with the CDFI Fund in its inception and through his efforts established the first Native American Program within the Treasury’s CDFI Fund. He also led the efforts to develop the first Native American Lending Study that highlighted the access to capital issue in Native communities. This study led to the Native set aside funding to support the development and growth of Native CDFIs. He also dedicated 13 years leading the HUD Office of Native American Programs as Deputy Assistant Secretary, impacting Tribal communities nationwide.
Read the full press release here.