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Native Hawaiian and Lakota women lead national Native financing initiative

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Robin Puanani Danner, a Native Hawaiian, and Tanya Fiddler, a Lakota from South Dakota, launched the Native CDFI Network (NCN) Oct. 27 during the Opportunity Finance Network Conference in Charlotte, N.C.

The conference, considered one of the largest convenings of community loan fund organizations, brings together executives from across the country representing billions in capital deployed to rural and disadvantaged populations. The launch of NCN was part of the 6th Annual Native CDFI Gathering at the OFN Conference hosted by OFN and the First Nations Oweesta Corporation. NCN is a coalition designed to unify Native community development financial institutions, also known as CDFIs, in response to the ever growing policy and networking needs of CDFIs serving trust land communities, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.

Danner, the president and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement in Honolulu, and Fiddler, the executive director of Four Bands Community Fund in Eagle Butte, S.D., both lead CDFIs that provide loan products and financial services to Native communities in their respective states. Together, these two women bring to NCN a wealth of experience in finance, community development and advocacy.

“Currently, 48 Certified Native CDFIs are impacting communities in 16 states across the country, and that number is growing. In terms of Native peoples as a whole, there are tribes and trust lands located in 35 states across the country,” Danner said. “Both Tanya and I appreciate the generosity and encouragement from both Oweesta and OFN. They have been incredibly supportive of NCN’s mission to unify Native voices on policy and generate fantastic synergy with our counterparts in the CDFI industry. We are excitedly looking forward to strengthening the growth and prosperity of Native CDFIs and the CDFI industry as a whole.”

The Native CDFI Network was formed in 2009 to unify Native CDFIs serving Native trust land communities, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. NCN seeks to create opportunities to share best practices among its members, identify collective priorities, and strengthen the CDFI industry and movement to ensure that Native peoples are represented both in the national dialogue and in the policy solutions created by CDFIs. For more information, e-mail info@nativecdfi.org.