On September 18, 2023, Pete Upton, CEO of the Native CDFI Network, “had a seat at the table” of the 2023 Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, bringing a focus to the critical topic of Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and their role in empowering underserved communities across the United States.

Upton’s participation in the panel discussion titled “Financing the Underfinanced: Lessons Learned Across Geographies” was a testament to the Native CDFI Network’s dedication to advancing financial inclusion for indigenous populations. His insights emphasized the importance of connecting, educating, and inspiring audiences about the transformative work being done by Native CDFIs to facilitate small to medium sized enterprises (SME’s), and access to capital, particularly in underrepresented populations.

Sharing the stage with world leaders like Carmen Correa of Pro Mujer and Shameran Abed of BRAC International, Upton’s focus on Native CDFIs added a vital dimension to the discussion on financial empowerment. While Correa and Abed shared their experiences in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, Upton brought to the forefront the unique challenges and successes encountered in Native communities within the United States. The panel encouraged the free flow of conversation, allowing participants to draw lessons from diverse geographies and discover innovative approaches to address the under-financing of SMEs.