On August 29, 2023, the Native CDFI Network hosted a strategy session in Bozeman, MT with members of the NCN – USDA RD Advisory Group.

As part of a two-year cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development (USDA RD) Office of Tribal Relations (OTR), the Native CDFI Network (NCN) will be producing an electronic resource toolkit (NCN e-toolkit) to promote awareness of and increase access to Rural Development programs that support economic development in Indian Country.

Advisory Group members gathered for a one-day strategy session to take a deeper look at ways to create more awareness of USDA RD programs among Native CDFIs, Native-led non-profits, and tribal programs and design strategies to address challenges related to access and implementation of these programs. The group outlined strategies to increase awareness of the wide range of USDA RD programs, reduce complexity related to application and reporting processes, and build stronger relationships between Native CDFIs, tribal programs, and USDA RD program leadership.

Advisory Group Member, Nancy Jordan, commented, “This was an excellent conversation with USDA. It was one of the most productive one-day events I have been part of. Not only was the exchange with USDA authentic and open, but the ability to also have conversations with our colleagues was most helpful and inspiring.”

The Advisory Group will continue to work together to detail these strategies in the NCN e-toolkit that will be released for public viewing mid-year 2024.

Advisory Committee Members include:
(pictured back row left to right)
Sean Winters (Chi Ishobak), Pete Upton (NCN), Tedd Buelow (USDA RD – Office of Tribal Relations), Josiah Griffin (USDA RD – Policy Advisor for Economic Development & Food Systems), Dave Tovey (Nixyaawii Community Financial Services)

(pictured front row left to right):
Julia Hnilicka (USDA RD – Alaska State Director), David Corwin (USDA RD – Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Programs), Andria Hively (USDA RD – Single Family Housing Direct Division), Traci Smith (USDA RD – Rural Business Cooperative Services), Angie Main (NACDC), Nancy Jordan (Lummi Community Financial Services), Sheila Herrera (Tiwa Lending), Melissa Sturdivant (USDA RD – Office of Tribal Relations), Charlene Virgilio (Four Directions), Kristen Wagner (NCN), Kenneth Corn (USDA RD – Oklahoma State Director)