WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Native CDFI Network (NCN), with support from Wells Fargo, is launching a year-long initiative to enhance economic opportunities and financial inclusivity for Native American communities in California and Nevada. This critical program aims to strengthen existing Native Community Development Financial Institutions (Native CDFIs) and foster the creation of new ones.

Currently, a significant gap exists in financial resources available to Native American communities. Despite 130 federally recognized tribes and over 434,000 Native Americans residing in California and Nevada, only one certified Native CDFI operates in these states.

“Native CDFIs offer essential services like homeownership funding, small business loans, and financial literacy education – all essential for building strong Native communities,” said Pete Upton, CEO of the Native CDFI Network. “We are thrilled to partner with Wells Fargo on this initiative to bridge this gap and empower Native communities to achieve economic prosperity.”

Initiative Highlights:

      Needs Assessment: A comprehensive assessment will identify areas where existing Native CDFIs require support, with a particular focus on those serving smaller tribes.

      Identifying and Empowering Leaders: NCN will conduct outreach and educational workshops to identify and empower individuals in tribal communities who are passionate about increasing access to capital and financial literacy.   

      Capacity Building: NCN, with backing from Wells Fargo, will deploy staff and consultants to guide tribes and nonprofits through the CDFI development and certification process.

      Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: In-person listening sessions and roundtables will foster dialogue and connections between key stakeholders – tribal governments, financial institutions, philanthropic organizations, and industry experts.

      Technical Assistance: NCN will provide tailored support to tribes and nonprofits, offering technical guidance from a team of experts.

      Funding and Strategic Support: Collaborations with grantors and supporters will connect emerging Native CDFIs with funding opportunities and strategic advice.

      Knowledge Dissemination: A compelling video documenting the initiative’s progress and a comprehensive white paper will be produced to share outcomes and lessons learned, driving positive change across Native communities.

Tim Rios at opening night reception and awards during NCN’s annual summit.

“Wells Fargo is committed to supporting economic development in Native communities,” said Tim Rios, Rural Strategy Leader and Invest Native Lead . “We believe this initiative will have a profound impact on the lives of Native entrepreneurs and their communities.”

About the Native CDFI Network

The Native CDFI Network is a national coalition of Native CDFIs dedicated to promoting economic opportunity and financial inclusion in Native communities. By supporting the growth and development of Native CDFIs, the Network aims to empower Native populations and drive sustainable economic development. NCN has been selected to receive the historic Clean Communities Investment Accelerator (CCIA) award $400M, as part of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. This marks a historic milestone in our collective efforts to combat climate change and promote environmental justice to our Native communities and recognizes the value of Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) as cornerstones of this work.