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  • 15 May 2019 9:14 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


    Media Contact:

    Christy Finsel

    cfinsel@oknativeassets.org

    405.401.7873


    OKLAHOMA NATIVE ASSETS COALITION, INC. AWARDED FELLOWSHIP TO EXPAND NATIVE COMMUNITY BANKING ACCESS 

    National Bank On Fellowship Will Support Multi-Year Project Around Removing Barriers to Financial Health For Thousands of Unbanked or Underbanked 

    May 15, 2019– Oklahoma City The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) and national nonprofit the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) announced JR Webster (Muscogee-Creek) as ONAC’s Bank On Manager for a two-year term to advance banking access efforts. ONAC is one of five Bank On coalitions across the country whose work will be supported by the Bank On Fellows initiative. The goal of the national Bank On program is to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable financial products and services. Approximately 90 local Bank On coalitions across the country, largely led by or working closely with local government, work to expand access to appropriate financial products and services to the over 63 million people outside of the mainstream financial system who rely on alternative, costly financial services.  

    The national Bank On Fellowship Program provides funding to five Bank On coalitions to support a full-time staff position for two years — a “Fellow” — to lead coalition activities. Launched in 2017 with generous support from Wells Fargo, it is the first national initiative focused on building experienced banking access leaders across the country, equipping them with the training, tools, and resources to make significant advancements in local banking access efforts while at the same time generating best practices for other coalitions. 

    “ONAC is grateful for this support to lead the first Native-led Bank On Coalition in the country.  We are excited to link Bank On certified accounts to our other existing asset building programming with Native-led nonprofits and tribal governments,” said Christy Finsel (Osage), ONAC Executive Director.  “We look forward to expanding our partnership with ONAC and to connecting the tribal citizens we work with to Bank On approved accounts so they may have a safe and affordable bank account,” said Anna Knight (Cherokee), Executive Director, Cherokee Nation Commerce Group.  

    The CFE Fund leads the national Bank On movement, supporting local coalitions working to connect individuals and families to the financial mainstream through partnerships between local governments, tribal governments, financial institutions, and community organizations. 

    “For millions of adults, meeting basic financial needs—like paying bills or depositing and using their paychecks—is a costly struggle,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Bank On coalitions across the country do critical work helping consumers access safe, affordable accounts, but we know that dedicated staff leadership can supercharge their efforts. We are proud to support Bank On ONAC and their new full-time Fellow, JR Webster, in helping tribal citizens connect to safe financial products."

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) is an American Indian-led nonprofit with a mission to build and support a network of Native people, throughout the country, who are dedicated to increasing self-sufficiency and prosperity in their communities through asset-building strategies.  ONAC serves representatives of tribes and Native-led nonprofits by designing and implementing asset-building programs such as Children's Savings Accounts, family emergency savings accounts, financial literacy, and Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs.  As part of ONAC's programming, the coalition is starting a Native-led Bank On Coalition.  The Bank On ONAC Manager will work statewide in Oklahoma, as well as provide outreach to tribal communities throughout the United States.  JR Webster brings experience generating financial education curriculum and teaching financial education throughout Oklahoma, as a prior financial educator for a credit union.  Additionally, in his role at the credit union, he worked with a tribal government to offer safe and affordable bank accounts to tribal citizens.  "I'm incredibly honored to work with ONAC and the CFE Fund to bring access to financial services to tribal citizens.  I have seen firsthand how a lack of access can lead to a lifetime of struggle.  It is exciting to have this opportunity to make a difference in Indian Country," said JR Webster.  

    “This funding and new position focuses on positively impacting Indian Country to make many lives better by putting individuals and families on a path to greater financial health,” said Shelley Marquez, Senior Vice President, Community Relations at Wells Fargo. “The Bank On Fellows program is unusual in that it gives an asset building coalition a dedicated resource who can help remove economic barriers and customize solutions for tribal communities. The work can leave a lasting legacy.”

    Wells Fargo’s $1 million investment in the Bank On initiative also supports additional CFE Fund resources to local coalitions, boosting its efforts to expand access to safe and affordable financial products and services.  The CFE Fund provides funding and technical assistance to help coalitions improve availability of appropriate low-cost, low-fee transactional bank accounts that are certified as meeting the Bank On National Account StandardsAccounts meeting the Bank On National Account Standards are now available at 31 banks and credit unions with over 21,600 branches in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

    The Bank On National Account Standards, updated for 2019 – 2020, identify critical product features for appropriate bank or credit union accounts, making it easier for local coalitions across the country to connect consumers to accounts that meet their needs. Core account features include low costs, no overdraft fees, robust transaction capabilities such as a debit or prepaid card, and online bill pay.  To learn more about Bank On and the National Account Standards click here, or follow the conversation on Twitter @CFEfund #BankOn.

    About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)

    The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders in almost 70 cities to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.

    About Bank On 

    Bank On coalitions are locally-led partnerships between local public officials; city, state, and federal government agencies; tribal governments; financial institutions; and community organizations that work together to help improve the financial stability of unbanked and underbanked individuals and families in their communities. The Bank On national initiative builds on a grassroots movement of dozens of coalitions in cities across the country, offering national account standards, capacity grant support, pilot funding, and a learning community. In addition to connecting unbanked individuals to accounts, Bank On programs raise public awareness, target outreach to the unbanked, and expand access to financial education. Visit www.cfefund.org/bankon for more information.

    About Wells Fargo

    Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets.  Wells Fargo's vision is to satisfy our customers' financial needs and help them succeed financially.  Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,400 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy.  With approximately 268,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States.  Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune's  2017 rankings of America's largest corporations.  The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Wells Fargo No. 3 on its most recent list of the top corporate cash philanthropists.  In 2016, Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million to 14,900 nonprofits and Wells Fargo team members volunteered 1.73 million hours with 50,000 nonprofits.  Wells Fargo's corporate social responsibility efforts are focused on three priorities: economic empowerment in underserved communities,  environmental sustainability, and advancing diversity and social inclusion.  News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories


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  • 10 May 2019 11:07 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    First Nations Development Institute invited ONAC's Executive Director, Christy Finsel, to write a Mother's Day blog.  

    Here is a link to the blog: http://bit.ly/ChristyFinsel. 

  • 28 Mar 2019 9:33 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    As of March 2019, ONAC has funded 781 Children's Savings Accounts (CSA) for Native youth.  87% of the account beneficiaries are from families living at 200% or below the federal poverty level.  ONAC is grateful to our twenty-one CSA partners for their work with ONAC on account outreach. 

  • 19 Mar 2019 10:37 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    Oklahoma City, OK (March 26, 2019)- The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) is now accepting applications for a full-time, two-year, ONAC Bank On Manager.  

    The deadline to apply for the position is April 23, 2019.   To apply, please email your cover letter and resume to Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at cfinsel@oknativeassets.org.  

    The ONAC Bank On Manager job description is found below.

    Background

    As a part of Bank On, cities across the country have formed coalitions to expand banking access efforts; to date, at least three million people have opened bank accounts certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards.  The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), leads the national Bank On initiative and the multi-city Fellowship Program. The Bank On Fellowship Program is a national initiative focused on building a multi-city cohort of successful Bank On managers, equipping them with the training, tools, and resources to make significant advancements in local banking access efforts and, at the same time, generating best practices for other coalitions around the country.  Please refer to www.cfefund.org/bankon for more information about the national Bank On movement.  

    The Oklahoma Native  Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) is  an American Indian-led nonprofit with a mission to build and support a network of Native people who are dedicated  to increasing self-sufficiency and prosperity in their communities through asset building strategies.  ONAC serves representatives of tribes and Native-led nonprofits by designing and implementing asset building programs such as Children's Savings Accounts (CSAs), family emergency savings accounts, financial literacy, and Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs.   As part of ONAC's programming, the coalition is starting a Native Bank On coalition. 

    ONAC administers four programs: 

    1). Children's Savings Accounts, CSAs (opening and funding 754 CSAs to date, to help Native youth build a nest egg of savings; we have 21 tribal and Native nonprofit partners); 

    2). Grants for Native asset builders (mini-grants and larger grants to fund various asset building programs; we have a grant administration system in place, provide technical assistance to grantees, and have awarded twenty-seven grants, $126,200 total since 2014, to tribes and Native nonprofits in Oklahoma, Minnesota, Montana, Alaska, and North Carolina); 

    3). Professional development for Native asset builders and program building (planning and hosting our annual conference; offering free technical assistance to our constituents as they design and implement asset building programs; submitting administrative policy guidance requests; conducting evaluation of asset building programs; administering a national Native VITA/EITC network; and coordination of a Native Bank On coalition); and 

    4).  Emergency Savings Accounts, ESAs (plans to fund 240 ESAs from 2018 to 2021.  240 additional ESAs were funded by December 2018). 

    Manager Position

    The Bank On Fellow will be a member of the Bank On Fellowship cohort with four other Fellows who will work collaboratively to provide leadership to the Bank On initiative to make significant advancement in local banking access efforts.  The Manager will be responsible for reporting to and working with ONAC’s Executive Director to realize the vision of the ONAC Bank On coalition, overseeing day-to-day operations, and coordinating with the CFE Fund.  The Manager will be a full-time employee of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. The position will be a two-year commitment, with the expectation that the ONAC Bank On coalition will continue beyond the two-year fellowship, if funding is secured. 

    Key Job Responsibilities Include the Following:

    • COALITION MANAGEMENT: In coordination with ONAC's Executive Director, cultivate new and existing relationships with local, regional, and national partners including tribal, city, county, and state officials; banks and credit unions; community organizations; researchers and advocates; and banking regulators including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve Bank, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Department of the Treasury, and National Credit Union Administration.  Develop and support a multi-sector Bank On Advisory Committee (if needed).
    • BANK ON NATIONAL ACCOUNT STANDARDS: Work with financial institutions who do not yet offer nationally certified products that meet the Bank On National Account Standards to achieve certification. 
    • PARTNERSHIP INTEGRATION: Identify and cultivate opportunities to incorporate banking access into existing program infrastructure.  Work with program partners to implement successful integrations.  Lead meetings with senior staff within municipal agencies, tribes,  Native-led nonprofits, financial institutions, and community-based organizations to develop and advance local coalition initiatives.
    • PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION: Work with the ONAC Executive Director to design the Bank On Coalition strategy and to manage the Bank On program budget.
    • DATA: Track, analyze and report data about Bank On activities.
    • CONTENT EXPERTISE: Serve as a resource to the community around banking and financial empowerment issues.
    • SUSTAINABILITY AND FUNDRAISING: Work with the ONAC Executive Director to identify and cultivate relationships with local funders and public funding source entities to seek ongoing public and private support to ensure program remains financially sustainable. 
    • MARKETING/MEDIA: Create an appropriate marketing and outreach strategy to reach unbanked local residents. Incorporate public service messages to encourage the opening of safe and affordable accounts.
    • TRAINING: Work with relevant partners to ensure awareness about and accessibility to certified banking products.  Lead forums and manage external relationships to communicate the value and mission of program
    • LEARNING COMMUNITY: Work with the CFE Fund to support the local Bank On program model and coordinate on the multi-city Fellowship cohort initiative. Actively participate in the Bank On Fellows learning community opportunities. Assist in reporting to the CFE Fund on Fellowship activities and program progress.
    • COMPLEMENT BANKING ACCESS GOALS: Train program partners who will engage clients around financial education and banking access issues.
    • TRAVEL: Some national and local travel, including mandatory training in Washington, D.C. from May 28-31, 2019.
    Education
    • Minimum of a Bachelors degree and 1-3 years of professional experience required.
    • Masters degree preferred.
    Experience
    • Minimum of two years experience independently running a program or project preferred.
    • Deep relationships/network with community, including financial institutions, Native-led nonprofits, tribal governments, and federal partners strongly preferred.
    • Familiarity with Native asset building programming, banking, mainstream financial products, and the Community Reinvestment Act preferred.
    • Familiarity with challenges facing unbanked/underbanked tribal citizens preferred.
    • Strong background in community organizing, coalition management, or multi-sector collaboration preferred.
    • Experience with public speaking and communications experience preferred.
    • Experience in grant writing/budget management preferred.
    Skills
    • Advanced interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to work closely with a wide range of constituents, including comfort leading meetings with senior-level staff from tribal governments, state and federal governments, municipal agencies, financial institutions, funders, and community-based organizations required.
    • Excellent written and presentation skills required.
    • Compassion and understanding of the social issues/structures surrounding the complexities of being unbanked. 
    Automobile Insurance

    Maintain personal automobile insurance and provide ONAC with a copy of the insurance policy.

    Application Deadline:

    The deadline to apply for the position is April 23, 2019.  To apply, please email your cover letter and resume to Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at cfinsel@oknativeassets.org.  



  • 21 Dec 2018 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) has partnered with IRS Stakeholder Partnerships, Education, and Communication (SPEC) and agreed to post a link on our website to MyFreeTaxes.com.  

    For the next tax season, if you are a filing a simple return, and have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) under $66,000 per tax return, you are invited to file your state and federal returns, for free, by using this MyFreeTaxes link: https://www.unitedway.org/myfreetaxes/.

    To file your taxes on MyFreeTaxes.com, you will need the following:

       Last year’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) when e-filing you must enter last year’s AGI to validate your return.  You can obtain this from last year’s tax return or through the IRS (https://www.irs.gov/individuals/electronic-filing-pin-request).  MyFreeTaxes, using H&R Block’s software, allows you to import your previous year returns from other tax preparation software.

       W-2s for each job held in 2018 for each person in the household, this form reports your name, wages, and other tax information to the IRS.

       1099s showing other income (unemployment, social security, school loans, health care reimbursement, state tax refund, gambling winnings, contract work) that is reported to the IRS.

       1098s showing payments you’ve made (school loans, property tax).

       1095-A if you received a tax credit from the https://www.healthcare.gov marketplace.

        Income/interest statements received for any savings account/investments.

        Bank account numbers: a voided check or your bank or credit union's routing number and savings or checking account number for your refund to be deposited automatically into your account through direct deposit.

         Last year's tax return (if you have it). 

    Since 2009, MyFreeTaxes has helped millions of taxpayers claim their eligible tax credits.  It saves every consumer an average of $200 on tax filing fees, and ensures they get their maximum refund.  The IRS is promoting this partnership. 

    For those wishing to file in person at a Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site, you may search for sites near you at https://www.irs.gov (under "Get Free Tax Preparation Help", some sites in Oklahoma are still loading their information as of January 2019).


  • 17 Dec 2018 5:08 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    ONAC Newsletter, December 2018

    ONAC Awarded A Grant By the Wells Fargo Foundation

    In November 2018, ONAC was awarded a $250,000 grant by the Wells Fargo Foundation.  These funds allow ONAC to expand our programs to promote family financial security for American Indian and Alaska Native families through the Wells Fargo American Indian/Alaska Native Financial Capability Grant Program.  This grant will fund culturally-relevant and community-centric asset building services and programs through targeted outreach in Montana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Alaska, and Oklahoma.  The grant award will be directed to American Indians and Alaska Natives through a two of ONAC’s programs.  Through ONAC’s Grant Program, ONAC will award funds to select tribes and Native nonprofits that are administering Native Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA), financial education, and family emergency savings accounts programs.  The support from Wells Fargo Bank will also support ONAC’s Professional Development/Asset Program Builder Program so that ONAC may continue to host an annual asset building conference; provide train-the-trainers and technical assistance for tribes and Native nonprofits designing and implementing asset building programs; participate in national, regional, and local advisory groups and committees; conduct Native asset building research and evaluation; promote Native Bank On efforts; and update and print ONAC-generated financial education booklets for our Children’s Savings Account program.  Additionally, with this support, ONAC will revitalize the national Native EITC/VITA Network of Native site practitioners and advocates.  If you would like to be added to the Native EITC/VITA distribution list, please email Patricia (Patsy) Schramm, the ONAC Native EITC/VITA Coordinator, at edgpj@aol.com.

    ONAC Awarded An Administration for Native Americans SEDS Grant

    In September 2018, ONAC was awarded an Administration for Native Americans SEDS grant.

    ONAC received support to continue our programs to promote family financial security for American Indian families in Oklahoma through the Helping Native Families, in Oklahoma, to Build Assets Project.  This grant funds asset building services and programs in one of the most densely populated areas of Indian Country, including both urban and rural Native communities.  The grant award will be directed to Oklahoma American Indians through a two-pronged approach, including funding the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan $100.00 required opening account deposits of 270 Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) for Native youth, ages birth to 22, and the funding of 240 family emergency savings accounts for Native families.

    The project is funded by a three-year, $375,000, Social and Economic Development grant from the Administration for Native Americans, awarded through the Administration for Children and Families.

    “Children’s Savings Accounts, or CSAs, provide a nest egg of savings and can positively affect children’s educational development.  ONAC is administering the largest American Indian-led seeded CSA program in the country, funding 594 accounts to date, with nineteen CSA partners (tribes and Native nonprofits in Oklahoma),” said Christy Finsel (Osage), Executive Director of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. 

    “This project will also help Native families with lower incomes 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.”

    The resources from the Administration for Native Americans will allow the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, and our Native partners, to continue to positively impact a number of American Indian citizens in Oklahoma.  Finsel added, “We are thankful and very excited about the Administration for Native American’s investment in Oklahoma Native communities and our Native-led asset building coalition.” 

    40 BNC Train-the-Trainer Participants Certified to Teach Financial Education

    From October 23-25, 2018, 40 individuals attended an ONAC-hosted BNC training in Oklahoma City, OK.   All the attendees were certified to teach the Building Native Communities financial education curriculum.  Such trainings are designed to provide Native-specific and culturally-relevant financial education training for those that teach financial education in Native communities.

    Native-specific financial education trainings, such as BNC trainings, acknowledge the broader understanding Native communities have about assets, as assets not only being money but also sovereignty, kinship, Native languages and arts, natural resources, etc.  The training materials include culturally relevant examples and note the ways Native communities have been saving for generations.  Tribes and Native nonprofits may choose to integrate Native financial education into their other asset building programs.  

    This training was sponsored by First Nations Development Institute, the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC), Native Alliance Against Violence, Choctaw Asset Building, Bank2, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Victim Services.  Thanks to all these sponsors.  We would not have been able to host this training without their support.

    Successful 1:1 Fund Campaign to Support ONAC’s CSA Program

    On November 27, 2018, the 1:1 Fund matched your ONAC CSA donation, dollar for dollar, up to $500.  During this campaign, ONAC raised $2,554.   With your support, ONAC met our goal for the day and has funds for 25 more CSAs. 

    In the fall of 2017, ONAC was accepted as a partner by the 1:1 Fund.  They offer us two crowdsource-based fundraising campaigns a year, during which time they match each individual donation, dollar for dollar, up to $500.  ONAC uses these donations fund the $100 minimum opening account deposit required for each 529 account.   These funds allow ONAC to serve Native youth ages birth to 22.  Since 2014, ONAC has funded 624 CSAs.

    Financial Education Resources for Youth

    There are a variety of financial education resources available for youth.  Below are two options:

    1).  First Nations Development Institute offers a $pending Frenzy financial education simulation kit.  This kit comes with everything you need to host a successful financial reality fair that will help prepare Native American youth to budget money. The $pending Frenzy financial reality fair was designed by First Nations Development Institute to offer Native youth an opportunity to practice handling a sum of money and to spend it wisely.  In the simulation, teens are given $40,000 in fake money and are required to make informed spending decisions to purchase a car, a house, groceries, and other items.   Students can practice visiting a bank to cash their check and deposit a share of their money into savings, and are also given the opportunity to learn about investing a portion of their money.  The full kit is available for $1,200 including free standard UPS ground delivery.  The kit comes with play money, a bill counter, booth materials, and a facilitator’s guide.  For more information, or to order a kit, contact (540) 371-5615.

    2).  The Junior Achievement of Oklahoma has K-12th grade curriculum that meet national and state education standards. “JA Finance Park”, for example, meets all 14 mandated financial literacy requirements for graduation in Oklahoma.  This is a highly interactive web-based program for 9th-12th graders. For more information, contact Jo Wise, OKC Regional Director, at jwise@jaok.org, (405) 300-1023. 

    Support Native Asset Building in Oklahoma 

    As part of our efforts to sustain and grow the coalition, ONAC welcomes donations, sponsorships, and memberships.  For more information, please go to the donate page at www.oknativeassets.org or call Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at (405) 401-7873. 

    Thank you for your asset building efforts and support of ONAC!

  • 10 Dec 2018 8:55 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    News Release

    Contact:

    Christy Finsel, cfinsel@oknativeassets.org

    (405) 401-7873

    December 10, 2018                                                           

    Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) to Expand Native Asset Building Efforts in the United States

    Oklahoma City, OK - The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) received a $250,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation to expand its family financial security programs for American Indian and Alaska Native families.

    This grant will fund culturally-relevant and community-centric services that help families start to accumulate savings through targeted outreach in Montana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Alaska, and Oklahoma.  The grant will be directed to American Indians and Alaska Natives through two of ONAC’s programs.  Through ONAC’s Grant Program, ONAC will award funds to select tribes and Native nonprofits that are administering Native Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA), financial education, Children’s Savings Account (CSA), and family emergency savings accounts programs.  The support from the Wells Fargo Foundation will also support ONAC’s Professional Development/Asset Builder Program so that ONAC may continue to host an annual asset building conference; provide train-the-trainers and technical assistance for tribes and Native nonprofits designing and implementing asset building programs; participate in national, regional, and local advisory groups and committees; conduct and publish Native asset building research and evaluation; and update and print ONAC-generated financial education booklets for ONAC’s CSA program.  Additionally, with this support, ONAC will restart a national Native VITA network. 

    “Understanding how to put your family on a path towards saving money is vital for feeling a sense of security,” said Mike Rizer, head of Community Relations for Wells Fargo. “ONAC has a deep understanding of how to address the challenges in tribal and Alaska Native communities so we wanted to broaden their programs, which empower individuals but also help at a community level by working with other nonprofits.”

    “Asset building is a resource that helps families improve their path to economic self-sufficiency,” said Cora Gaane, Tribal Advocate and head of Tribal Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is proud to support organizations like ONAC, which assist Native people in building financial and tangible assets.”  

    The project is part of Wells Fargo’s five-year, $50 million commitment to support American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Wells Fargo has been serving American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities in the United States for more than 50 years. The company is dedicated to serving these communities with products, services, and financial education programs tailored to help tribal clients, tribal governments, tribal enterprises, and tribal members succeed financially. The resources from the Wells Fargo Foundation will allow the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, and our Native partners, to expand its reach and to positively impact a number of American Indian and Alaska Native families.  Finsel said, “We are thankful and very excited about the Wells Fargo Foundation’s investment in 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 2001 and now a nonprofit, is a Native asset building coalition that works with 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 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 Wells Fargo Foundation: Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,950 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 37 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 262,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2017 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In 2017, Wells Fargo donated $286.5 million to 14,500 nonprofits and Wells Fargo team members volunteered a record 2 million hours. Wells Fargo’s corporate responsibility efforts are focused on three strategic priorities: diversity and social inclusion, economic empowerment, and environmental sustainability. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

  • 30 Oct 2018 7:26 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    ONAC Accepting Letters of Interest for Children's Savings Account and Emergency Savings Account Partners in Oklahoma

    While ONAC continues to work with our existing nineteen CSA partners (tribes and Native nonprofits), the coalition is requesting letters of interest for additional tribal, Native nonprofit, and Indian Education program Children's Savings Account partners in Oklahoma.  Also, ONAC is accepting letters of interest for emergency savings account partners in Oklahoma.  The letters are due by December 3, 2018.  See below for more information.  If you have questions, please contact Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at (405) 401-7873 or cfinsel@oknativeassets.org.

    Children’s Savings Account (CSA) Letter of Interest Request:

    What is the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition?

    ONAC is a grassroots, Native-led nonprofit asset building coalition with a seventeen-year history of operating in Oklahoma.  As of February 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 was classified as a public charity.

    ONAC is one of several Native asset building coalitions nationally, and the only one serving our state and region. While still serving tribes and Native nonprofits in Oklahoma, ONAC has brought additional resources to our constituents through our work on a national level with our participation in asset building advisory groups, requests for non-lobbying administrative policy guidance at the federal level, and presentations at consultations and conferences. ONAC now reaches over 1,200 individuals via our distribution list.  We serve statewide and work on collective asset building activities with the federally recognized tribes, and Native nonprofits, in Oklahoma.

    As a nonprofit, our mission is to build and support a network of Native people who are dedicated to increasing self-sufficiency and prosperity in their communities through the establishment of comprehensive asset building strategies. We work with tribes and partners interested in establishing asset building initiatives and programs in Native communities. Such programs include financial education programs, homebuyer preparation, entrepreneurship, Children’s Savings Accounts, family Emergency Savings Accounts, credit builder/credit repair, and Voluntary Income Tax Assistance.

    Our coalition administers four programs: 1) Native asset builder professional development, 2) Mini-grants to fund Native asset building projects in Oklahoma, 3) Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs), and 4) Emergency Savings Accounts (ESAs). 

    Current ONAC Children’s Savings Account Program Partners

    Since 2014, ONAC has worked with nineteen partners to fund 594 ONAC Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; First Nations Development Institute; the Osage Nation Foundation; individual, nonprofit, and corporate donors through the 1:1 Fund; and tribal donations.  ONAC distributed statewide request for letters of interest in March 2016 and May 2017 to all federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma, as well as to Native-led nonprofits.  In response to those letters and other outreach, the current ONAC CSA partners include the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Anadarko), United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (Tahlequah), Osage Financial Resources, Inc. (Pawhuska), Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (Shawnee), Cherokee Nation Child Support Program (Tahlequah), Mvskoke Loan Fund (Okmulgee), Ponca Tribe Head Start (Ponca City), Kaw Nation (Kaw City), Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma (Wyandotte), American Indian Resource Center, Inc. (Tahlequah), BeLieving In Native Generations (Anadarko), Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation (Wewoka), Pawnee Tribe Title VI Elderly Meals Program (Pawnee), Scholarship Foundation Program of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation (Okmulgee), the Osage Nation Financial Assistance Department (Pawhuska), the Housing Authority of the Peoria Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma (Miami), the Modoc Tribe and the Modoc Housing Authority of Oklahoma (Miami), and Wyandotte Nation (Wyandotte).  ONAC is grateful to our funders and partners for the opportunity to open accounts with Native youth.

    At this time, while ONAC continues to work with the nineteen CSA partners to open accounts, ONAC welcomes additional letters of interest, as we have secured funding, from several sources, to open accounts with additional partners.

    Why is ONAC interested in funding Children’s Savings Accounts for youth?

    We hope that this project will help youth have their own college savings account that can grow over time with potential deposits from their family, the child, and/or the tribe or Native nonprofit (it is not a requirement that the tribal or Native nonprofit partners deposit funds into the account though you are welcome to do so).  ONAC would like for these accounts to be a nest egg of savings for Native children to help them save for college or trade school costs.  There is recent research from the University of Kansas and Washington University in St. Louis that suggests that “youth who expect to graduate from a four-year college and have designated a portion of their savings for college are approximately four times more likely to attend college than youth who have no account.” With such research in hand, ONAC believes that Children’s Savings Accounts can make a difference in the lives of children.  With this program, we wish to help support Native youth’s future plans.

    What are the criteria for partnership?

    ·      Eligible partners include Tribes, Native nonprofits, or Indian Education programs located in Oklahoma, that are willing to work with ONAC to open Children’s Savings Accounts with Native youth.  If you have questions about eligible partners, please contact Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at 405-401-7873.

    Target Population for the Letter of Interest:

    Partners should choose a specific group of youth for which you wish to open the accounts (the youth may be ages birth to age 22). When sending your letter of interest to ONAC, please determine a target population for which you wish to open the accounts.  For example, you may wish to propose that you would open accounts for all youth in your tribal after-school program, Head Start class, Native language immersion school, or for a certain number of youth being served by your tribally-administered child support program.   If you are administering a Voluntary Income Tax Assistance site, you may wish to propose that you would open accounts for the youth of the parents you serve.  For those administering a tribal food program, you may wish to work with a certain number of grandparents raising grandchildren to open Children’s Savings Accounts for their grandchildren.  If you manage a Summer Youth Employment program, you may wish to open accounts for all the youth in the program.   For those of you managing a housing program, you could open accounts with the families of those you serve.  If you offer an Individual Development Account (matched savings account) program, financial education, family emergency savings account, or credit builder/credit repair program for adults, you could offer Children’s Savings Accounts for the children of the parents in the program.

    What does ONAC provide with this partnership?

    With each account, ONAC provides the required $100.00 minimum opening deposit.  The accounts are parent-owned accounts, generally opened through the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan.  (ONAC has also funded twelve accounts, through the Missouri 529 College Savings Plan, for tribal citizens of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, who live in Missouri).  ONAC also provides each child with a piggy bank, certificate celebrating their participation in the program, a Native-specific financial education activity booklet, art supplies for an art project at the account opening events, and organic gardening seeds to promote food security (as ONAC promotes that assets are not only financial, but also a broad array of other Native assets such as sovereignty, education, family, kinship, natural resources, Native languages, etc.).  ONAC has funding to provide honorariums for local Native artists that are invited to work with the youth on an art project at the account-opening events (the youth are invited to draw pictures of assets they value).

    ONAC has generated all the necessary forms and will work with the partner to customize the letter to parents/guardians.  Prior to the events, ONAC pays for all the necessary printing.  Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, brings all the supplies to the account-opening events and works with the parents to complete the applications.  After the account-opening event, ONAC writes a check for $100.00 for each child’s account and directly mails the checks and applications to the 529 College Savings Plan.  ONAC gathers the evaluations and program data, and tracks information about numbers of accounts opened, such as the ages of the youth, tribal affiliation, if the families are living at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (not always a requirement for family participation, ONAC funding dependent), gender, and qualitative data about the parental hopes for the accounts. 

    What do the partners provide with this partnership?

    The partners host the account-opening events in their local communities.  Partners market the ONAC account-opening event and invite those they serve to attend.  Generally, the partners host the events in a tribal community center, or in their office or program facility, and pay for any rental costs associated with reserving the space for the account-opening event.  Budget depending, the partner may also provide snacks or a meal at the account-opening events for the families.  Partners work with ONAC to invite a local tribal artist to attend the event and work with the youth on the art project.  Sometimes, for families that do not have all their needed information to complete the applications at the account-opening events, the partners will help the families complete the forms after learning more about the forms during the account-opening event.  (If needed, ONAC is available by phone, post-event, to help remaining families complete their applications). The partners may collect remaining applications and mail them to ONAC so ONAC can write the checks and send the final materials to the 529 plan.  Also, ONAC requests that partners help distribute follow-up evaluation surveys to the families.

    For the Letter of Interest, Please Include the Following:

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

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

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

    4)  Number of accounts would you like to open with the target population.

    You may email your letter to Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at cfinsel@oknativeassets.orgLetters are due by December 3, 2018.  ONAC appreciates your consideration of this partnership!

    Emergency Savings Account (ESA) Letter of Interest Request:

    History of the Emergency Savings Account (ESA) Program

    To date, ONAC has provided grant funding to tribes and Native nonprofits to administer ESAs.  Thus far, 240 ESAs have been funded in Oklahoma with ONAC grant funding.

    Currently, ONAC has funds to open ESAs directly with Native families and tribal and Native nonprofits, similar to how we administer our Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program.   Instead of awarding grants to tribes and Native nonprofits to administer the program directly, ONAC is available to partner with the tribes and Native nonprofits and to work with them to open ESAs at account opening events throughout Oklahoma.  ONAC provides $300.00 per account.  The accounts may be opened by American Indians ages 14 and older.  If the partner has a financial institution they work with that will offer fee free accounts, ONAC can work with those financial institutions to hold the accounts.  If a fee free savings or checking account is needed, with an online account application and online banking services, ONAC will work with Bank2 to hold the ESAs.  

    Why is ONAC interested in funding Emergency Savings Accounts for Native families?

    We hope that this project will help Native families to have their own emergency savings account that can grow over time with potential deposits from their family and/or the tribe or Native nonprofit (it is not a requirement that the tribal or Native nonprofit partners deposit funds into the account though you are welcome to do so). ESAs provide a buffer in times of income fluctuation, changes in employment, natural disasters, a home repair emergency, increases in student school expenses, etc. Also, with a safe and affordable bank account, those receiving tax refunds, after having their taxes prepared for free at Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, will have a bank account to hold their refund.  The emergency savings accounts help address the lack of emergency savings among Native populations.  According to data from a 2017 report from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and First Nations Development Institute, 31% of American Indian/Alaska Native respondents reported that they were certain they could not come up with $2,000 if a need arose in the next month; this represents the lowest emergency savings rate across all major populations.  With this program, ONAC wishes to help Native families open and initially fund an ESA.

    What are the criteria for partnership?

    ·      Eligible partners include Tribes or Native nonprofits located in Oklahoma, that are willing to work with ONAC to open Emergency Savings Accounts with Native families.  If you have questions about eligible partners, please contact Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at 405-401-7873.

    Target Population for the Letter of Interest:

    Partners should choose a specific group of American Indian account owners for which you wish to open the accounts (ages 14 and older). When sending your letter of interest to ONAC, please determine a target population for which you wish to open the accounts.  For example, you may wish to propose that you would open accounts for all adults in your tribal workforce development program, financial education course, parents with children in your Native language immersion school, or for a certain number of adults being served by your housing authority or tribally-administered child support program.   If you are administering a Voluntary Income Tax Assistance site, you may wish to propose that you would open accounts for those you serve, on a first-come, first-serve basis.  For those administering a tribal food program, you may wish to work with a certain number of grandparents raising grandchildren to open ESAs for the grandparents.  If you manage a Summer Youth Employment program, with youth ages 14 and older, you may wish to open accounts for all the youth in the program. If you offer an Individual Development Account (matched savings account) program or credit builder/credit repair program for adults, you could offer ESAs for all the adults in the program.

    What does ONAC provide with this partnership?

    With each account, ONAC will provide a $300.00 opening deposit.  The accounts are owned by the account owner in the family and are not custodial accounts (so no name of the tribe or Native nonprofit on the accounts).  ONAC has generated all the necessary forms and will work with the partner to customize the letter to the families.  Prior to the events, ONAC pays for all the necessary printing.  Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, brings all the supplies to the account-opening events and works with the parents to complete the applications.  After the account-opening event, ONAC writes a check for $300.00 for each family’s account.  ONAC gathers the evaluations and program data, and tracks information about numbers of accounts opened, such as the ages of the account owner, tribal affiliation, if the families are living at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (not a requirement for family participation for this specific source of funding to ONAC), gender, and qualitative data about the account owner’s hopes for the account.  Based upon need for accounts, per partner, and availability of funding for the accounts, ONAC will allocate a specific number of accounts per partner.  If, for some reason, the partners do not use all of their allocated accounts, the accounts will be reallocated to other partners for use after a mutually agreed upon amount of time.

    What do the partners provide with this partnership?

    The partners host the account-opening events in their local communities.  Partners market the ONAC account-opening event and invite those they serve to attend.  Generally, the partners host the events in a tribal community center, or in their office or program facility, and pay for any rental costs associated with reserving the space for the account-opening event.  Budget depending, the partner may also provide snacks or a meal at the account-opening events for the families. ONAC requests that partners help distribute follow-up evaluation surveys to the families.

    For the Letter of Interest, Please Include the Following:

    1) Name of tribe or Native nonprofit in Oklahoma interested in partnering with ONAC on this Emergency Savings Account (ESA) pilot project.

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

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

    4)  Number of accounts would you like to open with the target population.

    You may email your letter to Christy Finsel, ONAC Executive Director, at cfinsel@oknativeassets.org. Letters are due by December 3, 2018.  ONAC appreciates your consideration of this partnership!

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

  • 30 Oct 2018 7:20 AM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    On October 23-25, 2018, ONAC successfully provided a BNC training in Oklahoma City for forty participants.

    BNC trainings are designed to provide Native-specific and culturally-relevant financial education training for those teach financial education in Native communities.   If you are new to teaching financial education, this is a great way to receive certification, so you may more confidently teach classes in your tribal communities.  For those already teaching classes, this training is designed to help you refresh your skills and have access to updated curriculum materials.  On the final day of the training, participants are invited to take a test so they may be a certified Building Native Communities trainer.

    Native-specific financial education trainings, such as BNC trainings, acknowledge the broader understanding Native communities have about assets, as assets not only being money but also sovereignty, kinship, Native languages and arts, natural resources, etc.  The training materials include culturally relevant examples and note the ways Native communities have been saving for generations.  Tribes and Native nonprofits may choose to integrate Native financial education into their other asset building programs.  

    This training was sponsored by First Nations Development Institute, the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC), Native Alliance Against Violence, Choctaw Asset Building, Bank2, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Victim Services.  Thanks to all these sponsors.  Also, thanks to the trainer, Shawn Spruce, and all the training participants!

  • 17 Oct 2018 2:39 PM | Christy Finsel (Administrator)

    News Release

    Contact:

    Christy Finsel, cfinsel@oknativeassets.org

    (405) 401-7873

    October 19, 2018                                                           

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

    Oklahoma City, OK - The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) received support to continue their programs to promote family financial security for American Indian families in Oklahoma through the Helping Native Families, in Oklahoma, to Build Assets Project.  This grant will fund culturally-relevant and community-centric asset building services and programs in one of the most densely populated areas of Indian Country, including both urban and rural Native communities.  The grant award will be directed to Oklahoma American Indians through a two-pronged approach, including funding the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan $100.00 required opening account deposits of 270 Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) for Native youth, ages birth to 22, and the funding of 240 family emergency savings accounts for Native families.

    The project is funded by a three-year, $375,000, Social and Economic Development grant from the Administration for Native Americans, awarded through the Administration for Children and Families.

    “Children’s Savings Accounts, or CSAs, provide a nest egg of savings and can positively affect children’s educational development.  ONAC is administering the largest American Indian-led seeded CSA program in the country, funding 594 accounts to date, with nineteen CSA partners (tribes and Native nonprofits in Oklahoma),” said Christy Finsel (Osage), Executive Director of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. 

    “This project will also help Native families with lower incomes 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.”

    The resources from the Administration for Native Americans will allow the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, and our Native partners, to continue to positively impact a number of American Indian citizens in Oklahoma.  Finsel added, “We are thankful and very excited about the Administration for Native American’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 2001 and now a nonprofit, is a Native asset building coalition that works with 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 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 Administration for Native Americans: The Administration for Native Americans promotes self-sufficiency for Native Americans by providing discretionary grant funding for community-based projects, and training and technical assistance to eligible tribes and Native organizations.  For more information, visit https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ana/about.

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