Mission: To provide opportunities for Native people to develop financial assets and create wealth by assisting in the establishment of strong, permanent institutions and programs contributing to economic independence and strengthening sovereignty for all Native communities.
Results: First Nations Oweesta Corporation was created 15 years ago to address the lack of capital and financial infrastructure holding back economic development in Native communities recognized by its parent company, First Nations Development Institute. Oweesta is the only existing Native CDFI intermediary offering financial products and development services exclusively to Native CDFIs and Native communities. Specifically, Oweesta provides training, technical assistance, investments, research, and policy advocacy to help Native communities develop an integrated range of asset-building products and services including financial education and financial products. Asset-building tools stimulate reservation economies by providing tribal members the opportunity to acquire financial management skills and build and accumulate assets through small business creation, homeownership, education, and much more.
Programs: Financial Education & Asset-Building Oweesta’s financial education program assists the development and integration of programs such as financial education, matched savings programs, and credit counseling. Our Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families curriculum offers a culturally appropriate training program to help Native organizations establish and sustain financial education programs from certified instructors with deep experience in Native communities. Institutional Development Oweesta assists certified and emerging Native CDFIs with individualized training, technical assistance, and systematic, multi-faceted program delivery. Our goal is to help create and sustain healthy and thriving Native CDFI operations. Loan Capital As the only existing Native CDFI intermediary offering financial products and development services, Oweesta understands the crucial need for investment capital in Native CDFIs and seeks to create appropriate loan products that enables reinvestment of capital back into Native communities. Oweesta offers the following loan products to qualifying Native financial institutions: Capital Loans Small & Emerging Loans Native Fresh Food Fund Loans Start-Up Loans Investments As a lending intermediary, Oweesta is also supported by debt and equity investments which enhances our capitalization base to better serve Native communities across the nation. Research & Publications As a leader in the Native CDFI industry, Oweesta strives to inform potential investors, federal agencies, and the general public on the current industry climate. With our team of enthusiastic and qualified employees, we research and distribute several publications each year. In addition to researching needs, we analyze best practices within established Native CDFIs. By continuously analyzing our industry, we are able to better serve our Native CDFI clients. Policy Advocacy Oweesta serves as a voice for Native communities to help inform policy that supports Native community development. By speaking out on relevant issues, we are able to effect change at state and federal levels to further not only our efforts, but the efforts of our clients to create healthy, thriving local economies. We encourage Native communities to join us in our advocacy work. It is within unity that we will find strength in our collective voice.