As of December 2017, four additional grantees have completed their mini-grant projects. With the use of their grant funds, each grantee grew their own capacity to provide asset building programs for their citizens. Through their projects, the grantees reached a minimum of thirty-seven tribal citizens. While this impact was immediate and impressive, ONAC anticipates that the positive effects of these initiatives will continue into the future.
Grantee Projects and Outcomes
The Kaw Nation conducted a financial education workshop for twenty Kaw Nation students between the ages of 12-17. During the workshop, staff from Eastman National Bank and City National Bank, as well as Stephen Coit, a Fiduciary Trust Officer with the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians, presented financial education content to the Native youth participants. Kaw students traveled from Tahlequah, Newkirk, and Ponca City, Oklahoma, as well as Augusta, Kansas, to attend the classes. Upon completion of the classes, with ONAC mini grant funding for CSAs, the Kaw Nation provided each youth with $135 to be used to open or fund a savings account at a bank or credit union or an account held through the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan. The youth had an opportunity to earn more money for their savings accounts by participating in an essay contest (the essay contest was funded by ONAC mini grant funding). The Kaw Nation Tribal Youth Program chose the essay topic. The students were asked: How can you use the information you have obtained from the Kaw Nation ONAC Financial Workshop to reach your future financial goals? Essay rules and applications were made available to all students at the conclusion of the workshop. Three City National Bank employees read and selected the three winning essays. The essay winners were awarded a total of $500 in prize money, with a $300 1st place prize, $150 2nd place prize, and a $50 3rd place prize (awarded $3,500).
The Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma administered an emergency savings account project for fifteen families they serve. The accounts were opened through First United Bank. From grant funds, each family received $200 as an initial deposit for their account. Most of the families in the program are in Seminole lease-purchase program as they are saving to purchase a home. To recruit families, the Housing Authority of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma offered a two-generation approach. They worked with ONAC to host a Children’s Savings Account opening event so that the families could complete Children’s Savings Account applications for their children, participate in a financial education presentation by First United Bank, and receive the account opening information needed to open a savings account to hold funds for emergencies. During the account-opening event, they provided a meal for the families. Remaining financial education was provided on a one-on-one basis by First United Bank staff when the families came into the bank branches to open their family emergency savings account. The participants were encouraged to add their own deposits to the account by following their individual savings plans (awarded $3,500).
Ranch Good Days, Inc., along with ONAC, opened two Children’s Savings Accounts for youth connected to the basketball team comprised of Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes youth. The accounts were opened through the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan. $2,000 of the unused grant funds were returned to ONAC and utilized to fund 20 accounts for youth, and their siblings from the Osage Nation Summer Youth Employment Program in July 2017 (awarded $3,500).
Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority
The purpose of their Match Savings Account program was to provide current and/or future participants in their Home Ownership/Lease to Own programs with an opportunity to open a savings account to help offset the costs of a housing emergency or emergencies that may affect their housing needs. Ten families received $200 in match funds, for their savings deposits, to help them grow the funds in their emergency savings account (awarded $2,000).
ONAC Mini Grant Lessons Learned and Future Plans
Through these mini-grant projects, ONAC has noted that there is need for flexible sources of funding for asset building projects among constituents in Oklahoma. Additionally, the coalition has learned of, and has been impressed by, the considerable reach of these initiatives in tribal communities. Thus, going forward, ONAC will strive to continue to offer such grants to our constituents.
ONAC thanks these constituents for their willingness to engage with the coalition and for all their work to design and implement these projects. The coalition looks forward to working with these constituents, and others, to offer additional asset building projects in the future.
For more information about ONAC mini grants, please contact Christy Finsel, Executive Director, at
(405) 401-7873 or email@example.com.