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News Release

Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc.

Yesterday, the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC), released a paper titled, “Distributing Emergency Cash Assistance to Native Families During a Pandemic.”

This publication provides insight and lessons learned regarding the direct distribution of emergency funds to Native families during a pandemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc., a Native-led nonprofit serving Native communities across the U.S., has provided emergency cash assistance payments ($500 per applicant) to American Indian and Alaska Native families. In total, Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. raised funds to support 1,070 families. Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. worked in partnership with 23 tribes and Native-led nonprofit partners to provide the outreach and referrals for the payments that were distributed to tribal citizens residing in 28 states.

Through this program, Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. distributed the funds by checks made payable to the applicants or through ACH transfers to applicants’ bank accounts. As part of the application, Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. provided Bank On information for those who were not banked and may have wanted to become so as part of the emergency cash assistance program. In addition, Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. provided free financial coaching for those interested in the service. The effort to distribute emergency cash was met with much gratitude from recipients, but also faced a variety of challenges along the way. This case example highlights both lessons learned and the importance of adequate funding of Native-led nonprofits — the organizations that are most closely connected with their community members and aware of the areas where community need is greatest.

Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. is grateful to the following twenty-three tribal governments and Native-led nonprofits that provided referrals to us for emergency cash assistance: Four Directions Development Corporation, Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority, The Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, Nixyaawii Community Financial Services, Osage Financial Resources, Inc., Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation, Wisconsin Native Loan Fund, Chickasaw Nation, White Earth Investment Initiative, The United Houma Nation, Cherokee Nation, Sac and Fox Nation, Seldovia Village Tribe, Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority, Lakota Funds, Modoc Nation, and anonymous Native referral partners in Oklahoma, Montana, South Dakota, North Carolina, and Nebraska. 

To download a copy of the paper, go to https://bit.ly/ONACecash.

On Friday, December 3, 2021, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. and Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) are hosting a panel discussion for philanthropy on effective strategies for distributing emergency assistance to Native families. Foundations, grantmakers, other funders, and Native asset building practitioners are invited to join Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. and Native Americans in Philanthropy for a panel discussion about the value of intermediary funders and movement infrastructure, and the role partners can play in supporting Native communities. The discussion will feature Edgar Villanueva from the Decolonizing Wealth Project, Lisa Price from the Wells Fargo Foundation, and Christy Finsel from Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc., and will be moderated by Native Americans in Philanthropy’s CEO, Erik Stegman.

To register for the event, go to https://nativephilanthropy.org/event/emergency-fund-distribution/.

About the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc.: The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. (ONAC), first organized in 2001 and a nonprofit since 2014, is a nationally-serving Native-led asset building coalition that acts as intermediary funder, direct service provider, and as a capacity builder (conducting national Native asset building research and providing training and technical assistance to tribes and Native-led nonprofits). Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc.’s 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 integrated culturally relevant financial education and financial coaching initiatives, as well as seed funded account programs, down payment assistance, free tax preparation, expanded banking access, and other asset-building strategies. For more information about the coalition, go to https://www.oknativeassets.org/.

Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. logo, ONAC