John Yellow Hawk used a loan and grant from Lakota Funds' Su Owojupi (They're Planting) Project to plant a garden that will infuse the Pine Ridge Reservation with a variety of fresh vegetables and help mitigate health issues caused from living in a food desert. Read more.
Conference Focuses on Boosting Business on Reservations
April 14, 2013
The 2013 South Dakota Indian Business Conference shared effective strategies to build private sector businesses on South Dakota's reservations. Lakota Funds has played a key role in addressing these issues on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Read the full story.
Federal Initiative Brings Healthy Fare to Food Deserts
April 1, 2013
For Tawney Brunsch, a troubling aspect of life for the people who live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is the great distance that many have to travel to access healthy foods. "This is a very prominent problem," says the executive director of Lakota Funds, a community development financial institution (CDFI) that promotes socioeconomic sustainability on the southwestern South Dakota reservation. Read the full story.
Local Foods Classes Growers Seminar in Kyle
January 13, 2013
The Pine Ridge Reservation has plenty of land and good, reliable water sources, but not enough gardens or gardeners, say proponents of local foods and sustainability there. In an effort to change that, the Gathering of Gardeners classes — as well as a series of how-to workshops aimed at local food entrepreneurs — will begin this month in Pine Ridge Reservation communities. Read the full story.
Timber Ghost Outdoor Services Expands Operations
December 7, 2012
Timber Ghost Outdoor Services, owned and operated by Francis and Jennifer Big Crow of Porcupine, South Dakota, utilized a business loan from Lakota Funds to purchase new rental items and equipment, which will enable them to offer services for more and larger events on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Read the full story.
Gardens Flourish on Pine Ridge
December 5, 2012
John Yellow Hawk’s garden is one of many new feeders of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation’s developing economy. This past year, Yellow Hawk and 20 other Oglala gardeners each received a $1,000 loan and a $2,000 grant from Citigroup via Lakota Funds, a 26-year-old Native community development financial institution in Kyle, South Dakota, on the northern end of the reservation. With this support, the gardeners purchased the seeds, tools, fencing and other items and services needed to get market plots under way. Read the full story.
Barrett Haas Named First Lakota Funds' "All Star"
December 4, 2012
Barrett Haas of Pine Ridge, South Dakota is the first to receive recognition by Lakota Funds as an "All Star" for his participation in multiple programs designed to build assets for Lakota individuals and families. Haas completed the financial literacy course, utilized a Credit Builder Loan to improve his credit rating, and is currently participating in the Individual Development Account Program, a matched savings program, with the goal of building a new home for his family. In addition, he enrolled his daughter in the Child Development Account program, a unique matched savings program designed for grade school children. Read the full story.
A Star Is Born: Pine Ridge Gets Its First Movie Theater
December 3, 2012
Owning and running a sleek new twin theater is a dream come true for movie lovers Angel Reddest and her mother, Monna Patton, both Oglala Lakota. The first movie house on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Nunpa (“two” in Lakota) opened on November 2 and has been packing side-by-side 160-seat and 200-seat halls ever since. The cinema is the latest of several recent additions to the burgeoning Pine Ridge economy—most of them in the Kyle area, anchored by Lakota Funds, a community development financial institution in this northern portion of the reservation. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Receives National Award for Innovations and Commitment in Native Community Development Field
October 24, 2012
On October 17, 2012 Lakota Funds, a Native community development financial institution (CDFI) located in Kyle, South Dakota, was presented with the Circle of Honor Award during the national Native CDFI Awards Ceremony in San Antonio, Texas. The Circle of Honor Award recognizes a Native CDFI that is successfully increasing access to capital and financial resources in Native communities by developing innovative loan products, promoting community development, and overcoming challenges. Read the full story.
NCUA Charters Lakota Federal Credit Union
August 29, 2012
The Office of Consumer Protection at the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) approved the second new federal credit union (FCU) charter in 2012 today. Lakota FCU, a community credit union with a low-income designation, will serve the approximately 40,000 people who live, work, worship, volunteer, attend school, and transact business on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Read more.
No-Risk Native Investment
August 2, 2012
Imagine a reservation the size of Connecticut with 30,000 people living on it who have no access to banking services and which is ringed by predatory payday lenders. That's how Randy Rice, community impact investments portfolio manager at Boston-based Trillium Asset Management, describes the Pine Ridge Reservation to investors. Located 75 miles southeast of the Black Hills in South Dakota, it is home to the Oglala Lakota, part of the Great Sioux Nation. Read more to find out how Trillium invests in Lakota Funds.
Lakota Funds Creating Jobs
July 19, 2012
As featured on KOTA Radio 1380, Lakota Funds will use a $100,000 grant from the USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant program to provide technical assistance for small and emerging contractors and sub-contractors in Shannon County, where the unemployment rate is one of the highest in the nation. Read and listen to the radio spot.
Credit Union Official Supports Kyle Charter
June 28, 2012
The National Credit Union Administration is "very close" to approving a charter for a credit union that would serve the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the association's board chairwoman said Wednesday. Debbie Matz was in Rapid City to speak at the annual meeting of the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas. Matz said she supports the proposed credit union that would be based in Kyle and is sponsored by the Lakota Funds certified Native Community Development Financial Institution. Read more.
Economic Development Revs Up on the Pine Ridge Reservation
June 26, 2012
Supporting them is an expanding infrastructure, with public transit throughout the 2 million-plus-acre reservation, good cell-phone coverage in most areas and wireless Internet widely available. Approval of a federally backed credit union is imminent, said Whitney O’Rourke, Oglala, of Lakota Funds, a community development financial institution in Kyle, South Dakota in northern Pine Ridge. There is currently no bank on the reservation, and off-reservation banks make few loans there because much of the land that might act as collateral is held in trust by the federal government or is tribally owned. That will make a credit union the game-changer, easing access to cash and encouraging business formation and homeownership. Read more.
Pine Ridge Building Products Lumbers Towards Success
June 26, 2012
“I always knew this kind of business would be a success here,” said Eddie Abold, Oglala and sole proprietor of Pine Ridge Building Products, on Highway 18 just east of Pine Ridge village. He didn’t rush into a start-up, though. Before opening his doors in September 2011 with a loan from Lakota Funds, a local community development financial institution, Abold learned his trade by working in a lumberyard in Gordon, Nebraska, then in the procurement arm of the tribal housing department. Read more.
Tenants of Eagle Nest Housing Development Prepare for Home Ownership
May 29, 2012
As part of a plan to provide home ownership opportunities on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Lakota Funds has given all tenants of the 30-unit Eagle Nest Housing Development in Wanblee, South Dakota first right of refusal to purchase the homes they currently rent before the units are put up for sale in 2014. The sale of individual housing units within the Eagle Nest Housing Development will be the largest-ever flood of homes on deeded land into the Pine Ridge Reservation real estate market. Read the full story.
First-Ever Dollar Store Opens on Pine Ridge Reservation; Provides Low Cost Household Items to Residents
May 11, 2012
Last month, Dollar Hunter, the first-ever dollar store on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation opened in Kyle, South Dakota. Owner, Katie Hunter, paired her savings from Lakota Funds’ matched savings program with an investment from a partner in order to attain the necessary start-up capital. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds’ Lending Department Hits a New Record by Reaching the $6 Million Mark in Loans Disbursed
May 11, 2012
Lakota Funds has reported that as of mid-April 2012, they have disbursed over $6 million in loans. To be exact, the lending department has deployed 790 loans totaling $6,060,768.71, resulting in 1,235 jobs created or retained and 446 businesses started or expanded on the Pine Ridge Reservation or within a 25 mile surrounding radius. Read the full story.
Wiyaka Wicasa, Local Lawn Care Business, Expands to Offer Wood Vending and Hauling Services to Residents of Pine Ridge Reservation
April 25, 2012
Marlen Featherman, member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and owner of Wiyaka Wicasa, has expanded his business to offer complete lawn care, wood vending, and trash hauling for residential and commercial clients of the Pine Ridge Reservation. The expansion of Wiyaka Wicasa, the only full-service landscaping businesses on the reservation, is part of a growth trend in the local economy which is bringing more services than ever before to community members. Read the full story.
Great Plains Asset Building Coalition to Serve 52,500 Native Americans through Citi Foundation Grant
April 13, 2012
The Great Plains Native Asset Building Coalition, a group of six organizations dedicated to growing asset development strategies in the region's Native communities, was recently awarded a $50,000 grant by Citi Foundation to expand its reach to serve 52,500 Native Americans with a variety of financial education, entrepreneurship development, and assistance programs. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Celebrates National Financial Literacy Month with First Youth Matched Savings Program
April 6, 2012
As National Financial Literacy Month is in full swing, Lakota Funds is celebrating with a monumental achievement. Kolton Wisecarver, 16-yearold resident of Wounded Knee, South Dakota and Oglala Sioux Tribal member, is the first participant to enroll in Lakota Funds’ Youth Matched Savings Program and learn through first-hand experience the value and benefits of saving money. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Selected for Starbucks Foundation Grant Program; Chance to Win $15,000 Dependent Upon Community Votes
March 29, 2012
Lakota Funds is one of 124 non-profit organizations across the country that has been selected as a participant in Starbucks Community Card: Vote. Give. Grow., a program which enables any Starbucks customer with a Starbucks Card to help determine how the Starbucks Foundation distributes $4 million amongst the non-profit participants. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds 2011 Annual Report Now Available
February 14, 2012
Take a look at the 2011 Annual Report to see how we have impacted our community during the last year. Download the report.
Lakota Funds Featured in Technology Center Case Study
February 1, 2012
Lakota Funds partners with Technology Center to address the growing needs of the organization and make the most out of available technology. Read the case study.
Lakota Funds Featured in Golden West Horizons
January 31, 2012
The Oglala Lakota Oyate (People) find it easier now that 25 years ago, when Lakota Funds first took form, to realize their dreams, goals, and opportunities without leaving the breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage. When someone mentions the challenging circumstances of Shannon County, where Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is located, Tawney Brunsch, Executive Director of Lakota Funds is quick to point out all of the personal and economic successes that have passed through Lakota Funds' doors. Read the full story.
What Lies Beneath South Dakota's "A"?
January 31, 2012
South Dakota has earned an "A" in Financial Assets and Income in the 2012 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard released today by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, in partnership with Lakota Funds. Tawney Brunsch, Executive Director of the Kyle, South Dakota-based Lakota Funds says this high ranking is misleading. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Releases Best Practices Guide
January 6, 2012
The best practices guide, prepared by Kathleen Pickering Sherman of Colorado State University, provides the reader with a depth of insight to the Lakota Funds history, products and services, and strategies for success as never seen before. Download a copy of Best Practices Guide: Microenterprise and Emerging Businesses, Native Small Business Support, and the Contributions of Financial Institutions to Community Development.
Lakota Funds Receives Mobilizing Rural Communities Innovation Award
January 4, 2012
Rural Dynamics presented Lakota Funds with the Mobilizing Rural Communities Innovation Award based on their leadership role in the economic resurgence on Pine Ridge Reservation and the establishment of their Child Development Account program. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Co-Sponsors 4th Annual LNI Business Plan Competition
December 21, 2011
Lakota Funds, Oglala Sioux Tribe Credit & Finance Office, and the Office of Indian Energy & Economic Development collaborated to sponsor the Fourth Annual Business Plan Competition held in conjunction with the Annual Lakota Nation Invitational on December 14, 15, and 16, 2011 in Rapid City, South Dakota. This year's competition experienced a dramatic increase in entries with over thirty students from around the state presenting their business ideas. Lakota Funds success coaches provided assistance to aspiring Pine Ridge student entrepreneurs. Read the full story.
Proposed Reservation Credit Union Would Make Banking More Accessible
December 20, 2011
The proposed Lakota Federal Credit Union would bring several important banking functions to a permanent location in Kyle: secured and unsecured personal loans; savings accounts; ATM cards with access to no-fee ATMs in each of the nine reservation districts; direct deposit for paychecks; and low-fee check cashing and money order services. Read the full story in the Rapid City Journal.
More Than That...
December 12, 2011
Although our Reservation faces some of the most severe conditions of poverty in the nation, our youth are taking control of their futures. With hope, determination, passion for Lakota traditions, and dignity, they are creating a positive environment for themselves and younger generations to thrive in. This video was produced by a group of Todd County High School students that want the world to know they are making a change. Watch the video on YouTube.
Lakota Funds Prepares for 2011 Tax Season
November 1, 2011
Lakota Funds is gearing up for their fourth year participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site program. The VITA site program provides free income tax preparation to the families of the Pine Ridge Reservation, and enables them to receive every tax benefit available, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Last year Lakota Funds prepared 245 returns for local residents. Click here for more details on this year's VITA site.
Louis Young, Owner of Arrow Barber Shop
June 9, 2011
Louis Young has been offering his customers a great deal on haircuts for many years. His regular customers appreciate the stories of yesteryear and at $10 per haircut new customers are enjoying them now too. Louis, owner of Arrow Barber Shop, serves his customers in ways that other barber shops do not, offering flexible hours and a central location in a quiet residential block of Pine Ridge, just minutes of the business district. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Will Gear Up for Summer Classes
May 25, 2011
Lakota Funds Success Coaches will be teaching summer courses on June 13, 2011 through July 8, 2011 in collaboration with the SD GEARUP Program. The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program better known as GEARUP, created in 1992 is an academic summer enrichment program for Native American students entering high school. This summer program partners with twenty-one South Dakota schools, according to SD GEARUP, they have exceeded the projected enrollment with 4,939 students participating in the program during the 2009-10 summer session. Read the full story.
CITI 11 Youth Pilot Project
April 15, 2011
Freshmen students attending Pine Ridge High School had the opportunity to participate in a pilot project sponsored through OWEESTA "helps build strong Native institutions and programs through professional services designed to build local capacity and provide tools for Native community development" this project is in collaboration with Lakota Funds in Kyle, South Dakota and Four Bands of Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Douglas Patton Jr, Red Cloud alumni will be working with three freshmen classes on Tuesday's and Thursday's for a period of eight weeks. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Partners with First People's Fund to Provide Training
April 7, 2011
Lakota Funds in collaboration with First Peoples Fund, Red Cloud Heritage Center and the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce provided a Professional Development Training for Native Artists, in the Lakota Trade Center located in the Lakota Funds building on April 7, 2011. Success Coaches with First People's Fund, Kim Tilsen-Brave Heart and Don Montileaux provided information on how to price merchandise, research marketing techniques, wholesale, how to create and build artist portfolios, budgeting, and how to develop a website for their merchandise. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Provides More Than IDA Services
March 11, 2011
Madonna Whirlwind Horse, Little Wound High School alumni, mother to 3 children: Wilma 3, and twins, Max and Kylee 6, and student at Oglala Lakota College, states she was aware of Lakota Funds Individual Development Account (IDA) but never applied prior to this year. This year, after utilizing Lakota Funds VITA (free tax preparation services), Madonna was able to not only get her tax return prepared for free, but was also able to make a large deposit into her new IDA account with her tax refund. Kateri Montileaux, Success Coach, prepared Ms. Whirlwind Horse's taxes and encouraged her to take advantage of Lakota Funds IDA Savings Program, which provides a 2 to 1 match of the IDA participant's deposit. With the participant's maximum deposit of $1800 the 2 to 1 match means the individual could have $5400 when they cash out in as little as six months to be used for one of three assets: home purchase, business start up or college savings. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Offers Contractors Training
March 8, 2011
On March 5, 2011 Lakota Funds provided a Contractor's Training on Bidding and Estimating. This is one of four trainings Project Solutions and Lakota Funds will offer during a three month period at two locations, the Lakota Trade Center located on the second floor of the Lakota Funds building and the Pine Ridge College Center located in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Helps High School Students Triple Their Savings for College
March 8, 2011
High School students attending local high schools are encouraged to visit with Lakota Funds staff during Career Days, Lakota Funds will provide a booth with information available on services available for students. On April 13, 2011 Lakota Funds will be attending Little Wound School's Career Day; one of the many services that Lakota Funds offers is a Youth Individual Development Account (IDA). This savings program matches $2 to the individuals $1 in just six months, the money saved can be used towards one of the assets: home, college or business. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Creates Opportunities for Advancement by Partnering with Western Dakota Technical Institute
March 2, 2011
One of the more popular community outreach opportunities offered by Lakota Funds in the past year is a program that has been helping individuals obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Lakota Funds coordinates and pays for the trainings that are provided by Western Dakota Technical Institute. The CDL trainings are intended to help more tribal members obtain the skills necessary to apply for many higher paying jobs that require a CDL. A "Class B" CDL, for example, is required to drive all school busses for all schools programs located on the Pine Ridge Reservation and for Oglala Lakota Head Start programs. The trainings are also intended to give many CDL driver's who already have the "Class A" license the opportunity to advance in their career field, by obtaining a "Class B" license. Kateri Montileaux, Lakota Funds Success Coach and coordinator of the CDL project says, "The goal is to provide all the classes necessary for an interested individual to actually have a CDL at the end of this very short program. And then to secure a better job or better pay by having their CDL." Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Helps Prepare Youth For Economic Success
February 18, 2011
Lakota Funds provided a presentation on services available for youth during the 2011 Oglala Lakota Nation Education Consortium. Douglas Patton Jr., Success Coach attended the OLNEC meeting on February 12, 2011 in Rapid City, South Dakota to encourage participants to utilize the many programs available to students on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Read the full story.
Lakota Funds Offers New Shorter Courses
January 20, 2011
Starting the last week in January, Lakota Funds will utilize two new curriculums: "Making Your Move" for Homebuyer's Education and "Building Your Own Business" for Business Planning, the teaching methods for the courses will be consistent with the curriculum, the Business Planning course will have follow up with client if needed. Read the full story.
Third Annual LNI Business Plan Competition Inspires High School Entrepreneurs to Present Their Best Ideas
December 17, 2011
Room 102 of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City was home for the 2010 High School Business Plan Competition, co-sponsored by The Oglala Sioux Tribe Credit and Finance Program, The Office of Indian Energy & Economic Development, and the Lakota Funds. Read the full story.