In late August of this year, Inclusiv/Capital director Cathi Kim had the opportunity to attend the initial Native American Financial Institutions Gathering discussing the subject of Native CDFIs at the Center for Indian Country Development in Minneapolis.
What she found was an abundance of cooperative goodwill – a nurturing, thriving, and promising assemblage of 120 Native-serving financial institutions coming together with the shared goals of developing connections, communicating, and collaborating to increase financial inclusion and improved economic health in their respective Native regions of influence.
The experience proved illuminating, inspiring, and fulfilling – but also exceedingly challenging.
According to the U.S. Census estimate on July 1, 2021, the Native American and Alaska Native combined population is 7.2 million. Within those populations, the poverty rate registers at nearly 30 percent, the highest of any U.S. Census census race group.
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