Native CDFIs call for capital to close the funding gap in Indian Country


Native Community Development Financial Institutions are calling on Congress to increase funding that would bolster community development and economic opportunities in Indian Country. 

The need for additional NACA funding is “long overdue,” according to Jonelle Yearout, executive director of Lapwai, Idaho-based Nimiipuu Fund, which serves the Nez Perce Reservation and surrounding communities. 

“The demand is always beyond the allocation,” she said, adding “It is time for the Treasury to increase this allocation to NACA.” 

Nimiipuu Fund has relied on NACA funding over the years to deploy loan capital and services, including financial literacy and technical assistance. Like many other Native CDFIs, she maximizes the NACA capital to generate additional money for lending to customers. “I know we can leverage any award we get from the Treasury (by a factor of eight).”   

Nimiipuu plans to continue adding staff and loan products in response to its community’s needs, she said.  

“In the work that we do, we are showing we’re needed and Nimiipuu Fund is a viable resource for our Tribal members,” she said, adding that the fund wants to create more success stories and promote sovereignty. 

“I am proud to be serving our community and providing resources needed for our tribal members to live and prosper on the reservation,” she said. “If you think about federal policy historically, our wealth was taken from us. Tribes are wanting to take that back, and a financial institution is part of the solution.”