On August 26, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) hosted a roundtable discussion on the importance of the Four Bands Community Fund in spurring economic development.
The nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI), certified by the U.S. Treasury, supports private business development and financial literacy on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Since Four Bands received funding in 2000, the institution has proven a track record of creating jobs and assets.
Senator Johnson's roundtable pulled together representatives from the Four Bands Community Fund and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and five entrepreneurs that have been assisted by Four Bands in becoming small business owners.
“I always enjoy visiting my friends on Cheyenne River, and it’s extra special when we get to celebrate programs that are working to spur job creation and economic growth,” said Senator Johnson. “Four Bands has a proven track record—helping reduce the deep, persistent, and unacceptable poverty that still affects too many of our native communities.”
Assisted by CDFI Funds—created in 1994 and run by the Treasury Department to help spur economic development in disadvantaged communities—Four Bands provides small business loans, financial literacy and technical assistance.
On August 24, the Treasury Department announced it awarded Four Bands a $750,000 CDFI grant. It is estimated that CDFIs leverage between $19 and $27 for every dollar they receive in awards from the Treasury program, stated Senator Johnson's press release.
Four Bands was awarded additional funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the USDA. The nonprofit received a $300,000 Rural Innovation Grant from HUD and a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant from the USDA Rural Development.
Roundtable participants included Lakota Mowrer, Four Bands assistant director; Elsie Meeks, USDA Rural Development state director; Barb Gross, vice president of OctaFlex Environmental Systems; Richard Gross, general manager of Lakota Archery; Jett Kraft, employee of Lakota Archery; RJ Lawrence, owner of Lawrence Lawn Service; Bonnie LeBeau, owner of Bonnie’s Quilting Boutique, and Danny Butcher, owner of Rez Kid Studios.