Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

First Nations Oweesta Corporation Receives $250,000 Grant from KeyBank Foundation


LONGMONT, Colorado (July 24, 2012) – First Nations Oweesta Corporation (Oweesta) today announced it has received a four-year, $250,000 grant from KeyBank Foundation to expand delivery of financial education to Native American communities across the United States.

According to Chrystel Cornelius, Oweesta’s acting executive director, financial literacy programs in American Indian communities are crucial to improving and strengthening those economies and communities. “By teaching Native Americans how to better manage their assets, save toward financial goals, take advantage of resources, and avoid predatory lenders, our financial education programs contribute significantly to the development of sustainable Native economies and healthy communities,” she said. “We thank and applaud the KeyBank Foundation for its visionary support of our efforts to better the lives of Native Americans.”

Mike Lettig, Director of Native American Financial Services for KeyBank, added, “Key’s purpose is to help our clients and communities thrive. We know that financial success depends on good financial education, and we’re deeply proud to support Oweesta’s programs to help people of the First Nations thrive.” He added, “Key’s understanding of - and respect for - tribal laws, governmental infrastructure and Native cultures has been crucial to its success in conducting business within the Native American segment.”

With the KeyBank grant, Oweesta, which is a wholly-held subsidiary of First Nations Development Institute, will initiate four geographic trainings for its direct clients – local Native Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs – that will enhance their capabilities for CDFI certification or recertification which, in turn, allows them to expand their financial education and lending activities. The effort will be aimed at existing clients as well as potential new clients in the various areas.

Further, Oweesta will facilitate eight community-wide trainings in the geographic regions to assist with implementation of the tribal financial education programs. Upon completion of the project, Oweesta also will develop a formal evaluation and data-collection model for the local institutions to use in order to improve their grassroots financial literacy efforts.

About First Nations Oweesta Corporation

First Nations Oweesta Corporation is dedicated to growing the Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) industry, and it has directly contributed to the availability of needed debt capital in tribal communities. Oweesta is a CDFI intermediary that helps build strong Native American institutions and programs through professional services designed to enhance local capacity and provide tools for Native community development. Oweesta’s primary programs include capitalization of Native CDFIs plus training, technical assistance and consulting. For more information, visit

About KeyBank Foundation

KeyBank Foundation, through its civic programs, corporate contributions and volunteerism, supports organizations that foster economic self-sufficiency, principally in areas where KeyBank operates. It is a nonprofit charitable foundation, funded by KeyCorp. Founded in 1969 as Society Foundation, it became Key Foundation in 1996 and KeyBank Foundation in 2009. Its funding priorities are geared toward economic self-sufficiency for individuals and communities, including the areas of financial education, workforce development, and promoting inclusive environments for those of diverse backgrounds.


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