ONAC remained a project of First Nations Development Institute until 2014 when ONAC was approved as a tax exempt organization.
I firmly believe asset building is the way to build wealth in families, especially those experiencing generational poverty. With organizations such as ONAC, you can meet other asset-building practitioners, get new ideas, and take lessons learned home to enhance your tribal asset building programs. Over the last fourteen years, I have been attending ONAC meetings and have served as a member of the ONAC leadership. By participating in ONAC, I have continued to learn about asset building from others in the state. In turn, I have shared about the Cherokee Nations’ asset building programming efforts, such as with our Voluntary Income Tax Assistance, matched savings account, financial education, entrepreneurship, and credit builder programs. ONAC has come a long way in the past several years especially after we had the funds to support an Executive Director at least half time. My hopes for ONAC going forward are that more Native people in Oklahoma understand about asset building and how they could enhance asset-building efforts in their tribe.
Additionally, I hope ONAC is able to secure sustainable funding streams, as this coalition plays a crucial role in tribal asset development. ONAC has funded thirteen mini grants since 2014. We would like to increase the numbers of grants offered to help more tribes and Native nonprofits get their asset projects off the ground.
I am so pleased that ONAC is offering Children’s Savings Accounts. I think such programming for children is where we get our biggest return on our dollars and where we have the most impact. Asset building for children will allow us break generational poverty and help our youth to have what they need to flourish.
I am honored to serve as the ONAC Board Vice President. We appreciate the support that tribes, Native nonprofits, and other partners have shown ONAC. The coalition wishes to continue to expand our reach and help our constituents take advantage of the coalition’s resources. The sky is the limit on how we, together, can build assets in our tribal communities.
To add extra incentive for parents served by the Cherokee Nation Office of Child Support Services to deposit funds in the accounts, they will offer the custodial and noncustodial parents, who have establishment and enforcement cases, an offer for private mediation. If both parties are willing, and the non-custodial parent owes a custodial parent money, in order to work a good obligation, the non-custodial parent may deposit money into the Children’s Savings Account for the benefit of their child. This reduces the non-custodial parent’s debt, and helps the child to have a bigger nest egg of savings. We hope that this Children’s Savings Account project, with an added debt reduction component, may be a model for other tribally-administered Child Support Programs that wish to offer Children’s Savings Account programs. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Cherokee Nation Child Support Program to launch this program.
As of December 11, 2016, ONAC has funded 380 CSAs. Of these, ONAC opened and funded 305 accounts with its partners, plus funded mini grants for an initial thirty-five accounts that were opened by the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, as well as awarded two mini grants to the Kaw Nation and Ranch Good Days, Inc. for forty more accounts, for a total of 380 accounts. Of the data available to date, 295 accounts were opened through the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan; thirty-five were opened at financial institutions, one bank in Anadarko and another in Tahlequah; forty are still being funded by ONAC grantees, the Kaw Nation and Ranch Good Days, Inc.; and ten were opened through MOST-Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan. ONAC will fund the remaining 280 accounts through April 2018.
Christy Finsel is an independent consultant and
researcher focused on asset building. From 2006 to present, Ms. Finsel has provided training
and/or technical assistance to thirty-two American Indian, Alaska Native, and
Native Hawaiian communities who were designing and implementing Individual
Development Accounts (IDA) or financial education programs. In 2010, she prepared Native-specific
training content for the Native Asset Building Initiative Project Design and
Application Development Workshops. She then conducted eleven of those workshops for Native communities for
the Administration for Native Americans. During the ASSET Initiative, Ms. Finsel was the AFI Regional Consultant
for Region VII where she worked with Administration for Children and Family
programs to integrate asset-building opportunities (included in this work was
the technical assistance she provided for the Kansas Child Support Savings
Incentive Program, a Children’s Savings Account program geared to children of
noncustodial parents). In the last several years, she has completed managing a pilot Native Youth Savings Account Program
in McKinley County, New Mexico, for First Nations Development Institute. She also provided technical assistance
to the Meskwaki Nation as they designed and implemented an Individual
Development Account (IDA) program and to Wai’anae Community Redevelopment
Corporation for their NABI-funded Individual Development Account program. In October 2014, she was named a National Center for
American Indian Enterprise Development "40 under 40" award
Currently, she is working with First Nations Development Institute and providing technical assistance to Chief Dull Knife Tribal College as they design a Children’s Savings Account program; voluntarily organizing Missouri Asset Builder calls; and directing the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC), created to work with the tribes in Oklahoma on asset building efforts.
Ms. Finsel is a resident of St. Louis, MO. She voluntarily co-administers a youth IDA program at La Salle (DLS) Middle School in North St. Louis City, which she designed and launched in 2003. Ms. Finsel is also co-administering a Child Savings Account program at DLS.
She holds a MA in Theology from St. Louis University and a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. Ms. Finsel is in a Religious Studies Ph.D. program studying Native worldviews and asset building. She is an enrolled tribal member of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Please note: As of September 6, 2016, ONAC received our audited financials from our auditor. Our earlier compilations were completed on a cash basis while our 2015 audit was completed on an accrual basis.
Since February 2014, ONAC has raised a total of $773,092 in funding to support programming, administration, and fundraising costs. Funders include the Chickasaw Nation, First Nations Development Institute (with support of the Ford Foundation), W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Cherokee Nation Commerce Group, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, Choctaw Asset Building, Sac and Fox Nation Business Committee, Delaware Tribe of Indians, Delaware Nation, AARP Oklahoma, eighty-two individual donors, and four Native nonprofit memberships.
Becker and Rosen, Certified Public Accountants, LLC audited the financial statements of ONAC, for the year ended December 31, 2015. The auditors presented an unqualified audit report. Here is ONAC’s 2015 Financial Statement of Activities: http://oknativeassets.org/resources/Documents/ ONAC_2015_Annual_Report.pdf. For more detailed information, please request the complete audit report.
ONAC’s vision is that Native families will have multiple opportunities to grow their assets, through participation in integrated and culturally-relevant Native asset building programs. Our dream would be that all Native youth would have Children’s Savings Accounts to help them save for their future and let them know that college is a real option for them. The coalition also would like to be able to provide more funding for asset building initiatives in the state (to tribes and Native nonprofits) to increase the numbers of sustainable asset building programs (such as financial education, matched savings accounts, credit repair/credit builder, and family emergency savings account programs).
With the second-largest Native population, per capita in the United States, residing in Oklahoma, and that population increasing (2010 Census), support of Native asset building programs will help Native families to concretely build assets that will lead to family financial security. There is great potential for ONAC to work with constituents to help numerous Native families build their assets.
In ONAC’s strategic plan, the coalition notes that we need funding to support and grow the nonprofit. ONAC’s leadership has worked to put in place a multi-pronged fundraising plan (individual donors, foundations, members, federal grants, corporate funds, sponsorships, etc.). The next step of that plan is to raise funds for an endowment. To advance ONAC’s mission, ONAC is seeking to raise $5 million to fund an endowment for general operating expenses and program support. A strong endowment would make ONAC sustainable and viable well into the future.
As of 2016, ONAC’s annual operating budget is $251,522. Endowment funding of $5 million would allow ONAC to draw 5% a year ($250,000). With the sustainability that an endowment provides, ONAC would then continue to seek foundation and individual donor support, as well as memberships, sponsorships, and other donations to offer more Children’s Savings Accounts and asset building grants in the state, in order to better meet the demand for our coalition services.
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