Two Native CDFIs Receive Grants for COVID-19 Response in Indian Country

On November 9 during the 2020 OFN Conference, the Native CDFI Awards honored two Native community development financial institutions (CDFIs) — Cook Inlet Lending Center (CILC) in Alaska and Black Hills Community Loan Fund (BHCLF) in South Dakota — for their unique approaches to helping Native-owned small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

CILC will use its $100,000 Native Catalyst Award grant to build the staff capacity required to successfully implement its business stabilization strategy—Survive-Adapt-Thrive—to help businesses ride out the current recession. BHCLF will use its $25,000 Native CDFI Seed Capital Award to support Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota artists during this unprecedented time. 

“Native CDFIs are pivotal in creating platforms of opportunity with their financing efforts,” said Chrystel Cornelius, president and CEO, Oweesta Corporation. “We are honored to celebrate Black Hills Community Loan Fund and Cook Inlet Lending Center with these much deserved awards.”

Launched in 2019, the Native CDFI Awards are a joint initiative of Wells Fargo, Oweesta Corporation, the oldest Native CDFI intermediary, and OFN to honor and support Native CDFIs that are creating opportunity and promoting self-sovereignty in Indian Country nationwide.

Read the full press release.

Watch Cook Inlet Lending Center’s acceptance speech.

Watch Black Hills Community Loan Fund’s acceptance speech.

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