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Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC) to Offer Children's Savings Accounts and Mini Grants for Family Emergency Savings Accounts with Tribes and Native Nonprofits in Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, OK - The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc. (ONAC), a statewide coalition in Oklahoma, has begun a project to promote family financial security and opportunity for American Indian families in Oklahoma through pilot Children's Savings Accounts and family emergency savings accounts.
The project is funded by a $200,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.
"Children's Savings Accounts, or "CSAs," provide a nest egg of savings and can positively affect children's educational development. Building from the groundwork that ONAC has laid with CSAs over the last few years, this project will launch the largest pilot of a Native Children's Savings Account project in Oklahoma," said Christy Finsel (Osage), Executive Director of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. "This project will also help our constituents to provide family emergency savings accounts. With the varied project designs of our partners, we will be able to help Native youth and their families save for their future, have access to flexible savings, and connect to other asset building services. These resources from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will allow the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, and our Native partners, to address intergenerational poverty and to continue to positively impact a number of American Indian citizens in Oklahoma."
Efforts will focus on offering financial education, opening accounts and providing the initial opening deposit funds. The project will also continue to build the capacity of ONAC constituents to provide similar programs in the future.
With this project, ONAC will work with our constituents to open a total of 270 Children's Savings Accounts for American Indian children, ages birth to eight, in Oklahoma over the next three years. The partners include the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Anadarko), Osage Financial Resources, Inc. (Pawhuska), Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (Shawnee), Cherokee Nation Child Support Program (Tahlequah), Mvskoke Loan Fund (Okmulgee), and the Ponca Tribe Head Start (Ponca City). Additionally, ONAC will offer a Request For Proposals (RFP) to fund six constituents (tribes and Native nonprofits in Oklahoma) as they provide family emergency savings accounts to tribal citizens. The family emergency savings accounts may be linked to other asset building programs the constituents already administer such as financial education, entrepreneurship development, foreclosure prevention and homeownership preparation, Native language, matched savings account, credit builder/credit repair, and free tax preparation assistance.
"This project will help Native families, with lower incomes, to open flexible savings accounts to buffer them in times of emergency, income fluctuation, or irregular expenses," Finsel said. "Such accounts will promote financial inclusion by providing a mechanism for Native families to connect to mainstream financial services that are safe and affordable. With this funding, we will provide the initial opening account deposit and then the families can grow the accounts over time with their own deposits. Emergency savings accounts, for any family, can be a step along the way towards family financial stability and economic mobility." Finsel added, "We are very excited about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's investment in Oklahoma Native communities and our Native-led asset building coalition."
About the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc.: The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Inc. (ONAC), first organized in 2007 and now a nonprofit, is a Native asset building coalition that works with Oklahoma tribes and partners interested in establishing asset-building initiatives and programs in Native communities, for the purpose of creating greater opportunities for economic self-sufficiency of tribal citizens.
The mission of ONAC is to build and support a network of Oklahoma Native people who are dedicated to increasing self-sufficiency and prosperity in their communities through the establishment of comprehensive financial education initiatives, Individual Development Accounts, and other asset-building strategies. For more information about the coalition, go to http://oknativeassets.org.
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation: The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.