Grantees & Grantmaking | November 18, 2020

Q3 Grants Build Access to Capital in Native Communities

In the third quarter, more than $8 million was distributed in 51 grants—furthering support for the immediate crises of 2020 while deepening investments in grantee partners building lasting change.

As part of our third-quarter grantmaking, three grantee partners—NACDC Financial Services, Inc. (NACDCFS), Northwest Native Development Fund (NNDF), and Taala Fund—will each receive funds to maintain access to capital in Native communities.

We believe in their change-making work. And now, mid-pandemic, is a time to reaffirm our support and help these Native community development financial institution (Native CDFI) partners address the ongoing and acute needs for financial services in their communities.

A longer grant commitment helps grantees plan ahead with confidence.

Indian Country continues to be among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic—both in terms of health impacts and economic tolls. And our Native-led grantee organizations are helping the resilient, but chronically under-resourced, communities weather the pandemic and thrive on their own terms.

The systemic inequities they address have been in place for centuries, and finding and implementing solutions won’t be immediate. But we’re with them for the lang haul. That’s why each has been awarded a $450,000 grant with a three-year term, longer than has been typical for the Foundation in recent years.

Our grantees tell us that longer-term grants, which concretely demonstrate faith in their mission, help them secure the support of other funders. Additionally, having committed funds allows them to plan for the long term with more confidence. The can spend less time seeking funding and more time serving their communities.

Native-led organizations use Q3 grants to expand access to capital in Indian Country.

NACDCFS of Montana will use its grant to advance successful initiatives such as Native Cash, a program that helps its customers meet short-term cash needs without turning to online cash-advance lenders. NACDCFS will also enhance its loan loss reserve to support a growing portfolio of agriculture and home loans and to respond to the uncertainty of the economic challenges accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial literacy training, credit counseling, business coaching, and technical assistance to clients and communities will also be supported.

NNDF, which fosters financial independence for Native people in Washington State, plans to increase loan capital to meet the projected demand and establish a larger loan loss reserve. Its Foundation grant will also assist in a pilot program offering construction loan products so Native contractors and entrepreneurs can buy and renovate homes. These loans will result in more safe and affordable housing in the Native communities NNDF serves, primarily the Colville and Spokane Reservations.

Taala Fund, on the Quinault Indian Reservation in Taholah, WA, offers microenterprise, small-business, and credit-builder loans to its community. It also offers financial literacy training for small businesses and individuals. It will use the Foundation grant both to increase capacity by hiring an additional loan officer and engaging an impact-tracking consultant, and to support other infrastructure.

Crisis Response Grantmaking

In mid-August, we expanded our crisis response grantmaking to more fully acknowledge the extent of this year’s crises that many of our grantees are facing: COVID-19, the need for racial equity, and more. Our expanded crisis response grantmaking is now reflected on our Crisis Response Updates web page, in addition to COVID-related informational and funding resources. We’ll continue to update the page as new information is available.

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