South Dakota Regional Community Development Forum Reveals Powerful Strategies for Native Economic Development

Two-day event highlights innovative and sustainable Native economic development models that are improving lives in Native communities while building stronger economies, with support from Citi Community Development

Deadwood, SD, Sept. 12, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Native CDFI Network (NCN), sponsored by  Citi Community Development, convened Native community development stakeholders from across South Dakota and the region at the South Dakota Regional Community Development Forum today. The two-day event, is the first NCN regional event of its kind and provides a rare opportunity to learn in depth about Native community development in South Dakota and around the region by bringing together Tribal and non-Tribal government and program representatives, practitioners, policymakers, financial institutions, researchers, and philanthropic organizations in knowledge sharing and networking activities. Attendees are also engaging in dialogues about the barriers that exist within Native communities, and identify actionable strategies for each challenge.


In addition, Tanya Fiddler, Executive Director of the Native CDFI Network (NCN), announced at the Forum that NCN will receive a major contribution from Citi to support Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). This funding will build upon the learnings and blueprint developed at the Forum, and will lead the expansion of the blueprint developed to the more than 53 Native CDFI members within NCN, and the over 70 Native CDFIs across the country.  It will enable NCN to gather new data that further identifies the gaps and challenges facing Native communities, and move the organization towards the creation of a Native Futures Fund which will provide equity through sub funds to Native CDFI’s across the country.


American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities continue to experience substantially higher rates of poverty and unemployment than other communities in the United States; and Native communities face a unique set of challenges that severely limit economic growth, workforce development, entrepreneurship, homeownership and other drivers of a healthy economy. Native communities have historically been unserved or underserved by conventional financial institutions leaving tribal citizens cut off from the economic mainstream.


In many areas, Native CDFIs provide the only affordable alternative to predatory financial service providers.  Native CDFIs in South Dakota and across the country are providing access to credit with a wide range of loans, including microenterprise, small business, consumer, commercial, and affordable housing and homeownership loans. They also offer development services like entrepreneurship training and home buying education.  This encourages private sector development in Native communities because Native consumers, entrepreneurs, and potential homebuyers have the information and training they need to improve their credit, establish businesses, and purchase homes.  Native CDFIs are also helping to improve the inadequate physical infrastructures so that Native communities are more supportive of business development and home ownership, two key ways that individuals and communities build wealth and financial stability.


“Self-sufficiency, wise resource management, and entrepreneurship are all traditional Native values, and Native CDFIs have been leading the movement to renew these values in today’s modern Native communities through providing access to financial literacy training and tools.  That’s why we’re all here in Deadwood, to be able to share these successful Native community development models widely for the greatest impact,” said Tanya Fiddler, Executive Director, Native CDFI Network.


“According to the FDIC, Native Americans are unbanked at a much higher rate than the nation as a whole, and face significant obstacles in accessing safe, affordable financial products and services,” said Ruth Christopherson, South Dakota Market Manager, Citi Community Development. “This convening is an important first step toward enabling the Native CDFI Network and its partners across the nation to develop innovative, sustainable ways to expand financial access for Native Communities.”




About NCN

The Native CDFI Network (NCN) is a member organization that was formed in 2009 to unify Native CDFIs serving Native trust land communities, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. The Native CDFI Network seeks to create opportunities to share our stories, identify our collective priorities, and strengthen our industry. In addition, the Native CDFI Network strives to ensure that Native peoples are represented in the national policy dialogue and innovative solutions created by CDFIs are spread throughout Native communities through capacity-building tools, training, technical assistance and mentoring.


About Citi Community Development

Citi Community Development leads Citi’s commitment to financial inclusion and economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families and communities across the U.S. Through innovative collaborations with municipalities, community groups and leading nonprofit organizations, we harness Citi’s expertise, products and services to help expand opportunity for all.

Additional information may be found at | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: | Blog: | Facebook: | LinkedIn:



A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


Contact Data