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LONGMONT, Colo. — A pair of Native-led organizations are partnering to offer financial support for Native community development financial institutions to help communities grappling with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Oweesta Corp. of Longmont, Colo. and Rapid City, S.D.-based NDN Collective have developed a $1.25 million unrestricted grant fund for Native CDFIs to use to “extend relief to their consumer and business borrowers,” according to a statement. 

Both emerging and certified Native CDFIs are eligible for the funding. The partners expect to issue 25 unrestricted operating grants valued at $50,000 each before the end of the year. 

“Oweesta and NDN Collective’s commitment to the new and better normal as part of long-term community resilience and sustainability will be supported through fundable community projects and initiatives,” according to a statement. 

The organizations are seeking Native CDFIs that are “actively participating in areas aligned with transition and resiliency work in their communities to help us develop future grant and capacity building opportunities with you.” 

Interested Native CDFIs must complete a grant opportunity survey by Monday, Nov. 2 detailing their programs. Oweesta and NCN Collective will analyze the survey data, determine the number of requests and then invite survey respondents to apply for the grant program. 

Oweesta serves as an intermediary exclusively for Native CDFIs and Indigenous communities, offering a range of financial products, training, technical assistance, investments, research and policy advocacy. The organization is currently the only Native CDFI intermediary. 

Meanwhile, NDN Collective is an advocacy group that aims to build up Indigenous communities through self-determination, with a focus on justice and equity. The group also invests via grants and fellowships in transformational people and projects through the NDN Fund.

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