Washington, D.C. – During its Annual Policy and Capacity-Building Summit last week, the Native CDFI Network (NCN) took a moment to bestow its Outstanding Leadership and organizational Excellence awards on two deserving recipients. Dave Tovey (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation), Executive Director of Nixyáawii Community Financial Services and President of the Board of Directors of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation (ATNI-EDC), received NCN’s 2023 Outstanding Leadership Award. Meanwhile, ATNI-EDC was recognized with NCN’s 2023 Award of Excellence, with ATNI-EDC Executive Director Stacy McQuade-Eger (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes) accepting the award on the organization’s behalf.

In NCN’s gathering, which celebrates not just individual accomplishments but the collective strength and resilience of a dedicated team, the story of ATNI-EDC unfolds as a testament to adaptability, leadership, and unwavering commitment to Native communities.

Amber Schulz-Oliver, Former Executive Director of ATNI-EDC, made a pivotal decision to leave the organization to lead its parent organization ATNI in late 2022. Her transition was supported and made seamless by the astute leadership of Tovey and his board colleagues, who promptly appointed and then mentored McQuade-Eger as Schulz-Oliver’s successor.

What sets this transition apart is not just the smooth handover of executive responsibilities, but the smooth continuation of critical ATNI-EDC initiatives. Despite the significant challenges posed by the ATNI-EDC’s ongoing State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) application – involving a $29.3 million award serving 29 Tribal Nations – the ATNI-EDC team, under McQuade-Eger’s leadership, demonstrated unparalleled resilience and determination.

McQuade-Eger, embodying the values that drive the organization, stepped into her role with skill and commitment, ensuring the uninterrupted progress of vital initiatives. The result of this collective effort was the successful securing of the SSBCI award, a testament to the strength of the organization and the dedication of its leaders.

This story is not just about the success of an application; it’s about the values that drive this organization,” remarked NCN CEO Pete Upton. “It’s about the commitment to the greater good, the ability to navigate change deftly, and the unwavering dedication to the prosperity of the Native communities they serve. The recognition and awards bestowed upon Dave Tovey and the ATNI-EDC team tonight are not just accolades; they are a testament to their unwavering dedication and tireless efforts. Their commitment to community welfare, their resilience in the face of challenges, and their ability to turn obstacles into opportunities showcase a level of dedication that truly deserves acknowledgment and celebration. We honor not just their success, but the values and dedication that underpin the achievements of these remarkable leaders and the organization they represent.”

When Upton visited Pendleton, Oregon in October, he was met with an awe-inspiring experience at the Northwest Native Economic Summit. The magnitude of the audience, the richness of the content presented, and the tremendous support from both local and national participants left an indelible impression on him. The collaborative spirit showcased at the Northwest Native Lending Network, witnessed during a board meeting, further underscored ATNI-EDC’s commitment to shared goals and teamwork within the Native communities. Upton was struck by the open sharing of ideas and the collaboration evident throughout the community, where the tribal government and Native CDFI worked in harmony. These experiences highlight the depth of collaboration and dedication that ATNI-EDC practices every day, making the recognition of Dave Tovey and the ATNI-EDC team at NCN’s Annual Summit even more poignant and well-deserved.

The Native CDFI Network commends Dave Tovey for his Outstanding Leadership award and Stacy McQuade-Eger and the ATNI-EDC team for their Award of Excellence. On behalf of NCN, may their stories inspire us all to face challenges with courage and to embrace change as an opportunity for growth.

Pictured left to right: Pete Upton, CEO and Chairperson for NCN; Russ Seagle, NCN Board Member and Executive Director of the Sequoyah Fund; Dave Tovey, Executive Director of Nixyáawii Community Financial Services and President of the Board of Directors of the Affiliated Tribe of Northwest Indians; Cindy Mittlestadt, NCN Board Member and General Manager of Native Edge Finance; Stacy McQuade-Eger, Executive Director of ATNI-EDC; Rollin Wood, NCN Board Member and Executive Director of Native Partnership for Housing; Kristen Wagner, NCN National Program Director

For media inquiries, please contact:
Pete Upton, CEO
Native CDFI Network
[email protected]