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First Nations Development Institute Receives $100,000 from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to Bolster the Financial Literacy of Native American Youth

LONGMONT, Colorado (August 12, 2013) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced it has received a grant of $100,000 from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation of Seattle, Washington, to bolster the financial literacy of Native American high school students.

The two-year project will empower up to 75 Native American high school students and their families in Portland, Oregon, by providing culturally appropriate financial education that combines classroom and experiential learning to result in behavioral changes positively affecting management of financial assets. Youth Savings Accounts (YSAs) will be used to help youth to build assets and learn the savings habit, while introducing them to the use of mainstream financial services. First Nations will undertake the project in partnership with the Native American Youth Family Center (NAYA) in Portland.

Activities will include teaching the “Life on Your Terms” course to the students and taking a field trip to a participating bank or credit union to sign up for a YSA account. Those who complete the course with a passing grade will be entered into a drawing to earn an additional $100 to deposit into their account. The students also will participate in a financial simulation fair called “Crazy Cash City” that will help them put the lessons learned in class into practice through experiential learning. By the end of the grant period, an online teacher’s guide for the process will be completed and then made available nationally to teachers of Native American students.

Financial and investor education is one of the five focus areas of First Nations. First Nations and its independent subsidiary – First Nations Oweesta Corporation (a community development financial institution) – work in partnership with Native American tribes and communities throughout the U.S. to assist them in designing and administering financial and investor education programs. These projects range from helping individuals and families understand the basics of financial management – opening and maintaining a bank account and using credit wisely – to helping individuals understand financial markets and a variety of financial instruments for borrowing and saving. The programs result in increased investment levels and economic growth in Native communities.

About First Nations Development Institute

For more than 30 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit

About the Native American Youth Family Center

The Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland, Oregon, works to enrich the lives of Native youth and families through education, community involvement, and culturally specific programming. It has provided educational services, cultural arts programming, and direct support to reduce poverty in the Portland metropolitan area's American Indian and Alaska Native community for over 30 years. Learn more at

About The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

Launched by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Jody Allen in 1988, the Allen family’s philanthropy is dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening communities by fostering innovation, creating knowledge and promoting social progress. Since inception, the foundation has awarded over $469 million to more than 1,400 nonprofit groups to support and advance their critical charitable endeavors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The foundation’s funding programs nurture the arts, engage children in learning, address the needs of vulnerable populations, advance scientific and technological discoveries, and provide economic relief amid the downturn. For more information, go to


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