NCN’s CEO Pete Upton participated in a briefing hosted by the U.S. Senate Community Development Finance Caucus. The Caucus was attended by members and staff from the offices of Senator Mark Warner (Virginia), Senator Tina Smith (Minnesota), Senator Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming), and more. During the briefing, Upton highlighted the critical significance of Native homeownership and economic development both on and off reservations, emphasizing the irreplaceable role that Native CDFIs play.

In a historic move for clean energy infrastructure in Native communities, Upton provided an overview of the Native CDFI Network’s submission of a comprehensive Indian Country application to the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator (CCIA). This initiative, a vital component of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, aims to secure several hundred million dollars with the Native CDFI Network as the lead applicant. Distinguished as the sole Native-led and exclusively Native-serving CCIA submission under EPA consideration, the application involves a collaborative effort with 63 certified and emerging Native community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other CCIA-qualified community lenders spanning all 10 EPA regions.

Upton provided unique insight during the briefing, sharing his dual roles as CEO of NCN and the Executive Director of Native360 Loan Fund, a Native CDFI serving the central plains. He emphasized the importance of recognizing that many Native Americans do not reside on reservations, and Native360 serves both on and off reservation areas. Upton also emphasized the potential for positive change through continued collaboration and shared dedication to Native well-being nationwide, underscoring the vital importance of ensuring that all voices within Native American communities are heard and represented.

Pictured left to right: Michou Kokodoko – Project Director for Community Development and Engagement at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Hue Nguyen – Assistant Vice President of Community Development and Engagement at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Casey Lozar – Vice President of the Center for Indian Country Development, Pete Upton – CEO of the Native CDFI Network, and Jean Hinz – Vice President of Government Relations at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis