ALBUQUERQUE – Native American leaders, bankers and federal officials met here Aug. 27-28 to discuss capital needs of Indian Country and modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to better meet the needs of tribal governments and citizens.
NeighborWorks America selected Pete Upton, executive director of Native360 Loan Fund Inc., was one of 45 leaders for the NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
The NeighborWorks program, sponsored in part by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, is an 18-month program that provides executives with skills to advance their organizations’ performance. Each participant identifies and clearly defines a specific challenge critical to their organization’s success then spends the program addressing that challenge.
Achieving Excellence includes three formal sessions at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, as well as one-on-one executive coaching and intensive peer learning. The program kicked off at Harvard Sept. 11-15, and three additional meetings are planned across the country. Between academic sessions, participants worked on a goal critical to their organization’s success and worked closely with their executive coach and peer group.
“The Achieving Excellence Program gives leaders the tools to build stronger organizations—more engaged and results-oriented staff and board members working to increase their impact in the communities they serve,” said Christina Deady, senior director of leadership and workforce development at NeighborWorks America
Achieving Excellence has graduated nearly 400 executive directors, CEOs and other senior leaders since the program began in 2002. Independent evaluations have shown positive results for organizations that have participated in this program.
In an impact evaluation of a recent class of the NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence Program, 72 percent created positive change in their communities, 77 percent raised staff performance and morale, and 100 percent improved organizational strength and results. For more information about the NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence Program, go to www.neighborworks.org/ae.
About Native360 Loan Fund Inc.
Native360 provides affordable financial services to members of all tribes in Nebraska, Iowa and southeast South Dakota. It provides affordable credit, capital, technical assistance and related programs to help build strong and self-sufficient Native American business owners.
About NeighborWorks America
For nearly 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. (d/b/a NeighborWorks America), a national, nonpartisan nonprofit, has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to home ownership and safe, affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $34 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.
Native360 Loan Fund Inc., is one of 19 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to receive lending capital and grants from the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business Diverse Capital program.
Recipients were announced Dec. 6, 2018. Funds are used to deliver affordable financial products and technical assistance to diverse small businesses that do not typically have access to conventional financing.
As part of its announcement, Wells Fargo said it wanted to be more inclusive of rural communities as well as their urban counterparts.
“Rural small businesses and their diverse owners have different challenges than their urban counterparts, and we want to be part of a solution that helps remove those obstacles to growth,” said Mike Rizer, director of community relations at Wells Fargo.
“The range of geographies served by these awardees demonstrates Wells Fargo’s commitment to supporting communities across the country, regardless of our retail presence’ he added. “Small business owners who would not otherwise have access to the resources needed to start or grow their businesses will now have resources through the CDFIs we are supporting.”
Native360 Executive Director Pete Upton applauded Wells Fargo’s rural commitment. “Our service area includes Nebraska, Iowa and southeast South Dakota,” he said. “Access to affordable capital is just as vital in these areas as it is in more heavily populated areas. We very much appreciate our opportunity to participate in the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business Diverse Capital program.”
Native360’s Pete Upton joined Native American leaders from across the country Nov. 28-29, 2018, for the Native CDFI Network’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.