CUs Serving Native Communities Receive NACA Awards from CDFI Fund

Jamie Chase, CU Strategic Planning
253-200- 0418

Rafael O. Morales, Federation
800-437-8711 x206

Honolulu, HI – On Wednesday, August 24, 2011, Donna J. Gambrell, Director of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii to announce awards totaling $11,847,579 for 35 Native Community Development Financial Institutions (Native CDFIs) and organizations serving economically distressed Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities (Native communities) across the nation. U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa were also in attendance. The organizations awarded are headquartered in 17 states and serve mostly rural communities.

A total of three credit unions and one credit union organizing group received $603,510 in this round, representing 11.4% of the total Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program awards. In addition, a credit union-affiliate CDFI Loan Fund also received an award for $146,485, bringing the total awards to credit unions and credit union affiliates to 14.3% of total awards.

CU Strategic Planning, the firm that specializes in credit union grant writing garnered $453,950 for three credit unions serving financially distressed Hawaiian communities including; Aloha Federal Credit Union, Ka’u Federal Credit Union and The Queens Federal Credit Union.

CU Strategic Planning and the Federation have been working closely to help more credit unions receive their CDFI certification and apply for awards from the CDFI Fund.

“The awards announced today clearly demonstrate the successful growth of the Native CDFI movement across the country,” said CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell. “We’re here in Hawaii to celebrate this success and the seven awardees dedicated to economically empowering underserved Native Hawaiian communities.”

“We are pleased to see these awards made to credit unions in Hawaii and South Dakota,” said Federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal.  “The communities served by these organizations have been long ignored by regulated financial institutions, and these award monies will go a long way to helping these institutions provide much needed financial services to some of the most underserved groups in the United States.”

These grants, made through the CDFI Fund’s NACA Program, will help those financial institutions spur local economic growth and recovery, as well as expand access to affordable financial products and services.

According to the latest U.S. Census report, Hawaii had the nation’s largest percentage drop in median income and biggest percentage spike in poverty rate. The cost of living in Hawaii is among the highest in the United States. The basics of life—housing, food, utilities—are considerably higher than in the mainland and research shows that 85 percent of credit union members in Hawaii are low-income earning less than 80 percent median family income for Hawaii.

“Hawaii First FCU’s leadership is a big reason these credit unions received awards today,” said Jamie Chase, founder of CU Strategic Planning whose consulting team wrote every credit union application that received NACA funding. “Hawaii First used a NCUA OSCUI grant to host a workshop for other credit unions to learn about the CDFI Fund. As a result, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and CU Strategic Planning were able to co-host workshops attended by the credit unions that won today.”

“It is really the cooperative model in action that led Hawaii First, CU Strategic Planning and the Federation to collaborate, resulting in these awards for our credit unions,” said Cheryl Weaver, General Manager and CEO, Ka’u Federal Credit Union.

In Kyle, South Dakota, two other CDFI awards were made to the proposed Lakota Federal Credit Union and its sponsor, the Lakota Funds.  These CDFIs are located in Shannon County, an area that is 94.43% Native American with a median household income of $25,048, down from $26,750 in 2000, and where 51.6% of families living below the poverty line, an increase from 42.1% in 2000.  The Federation has been assisting the organizing group for several years to charter a credit union to provide affordable financial services to this highly underserved community.

These grants, made through the CDFI Fund’s NACA Program, will help those financial institutions spur local economic growth and recovery, as well as expand access to affordable financial products and services.

A full breakdown of the credit union awards from this round is available on the Federation’s website at:


About CU Strategic Planning: CU Strategic Planning is the only strategic planning facilitator with the mission to help credit unions realize their potential through the International Credit Union Operating Principals. As a result, CU Strategic Planning writes and wins more grants for credit unions than any other firm in the United States.

About the Federation: The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation) is a certified CDFI Intermediary representing more than 240 community development credit unions (CDCUs).  The Federation’s member CDCUs provide credit, savings, transaction services and financial education to more than 1.7 million residents of low-income urban, rural and reservation-based communities across the United States, and hold over $11 billion in community-controlled assets.  The Federation also represents 50 Community Development Partners, some of the nation’s largest credit unions with a special commitment to serving low-income communities.  Founded in 1974, the Federation is headquartered in Lower Manhattan with offices in Colorado Springs, CO; Madison, WI; and San Francisco, CA.   The Federation offers a wide range of advocacy, educational, training, investment, marketing, and outreach programs to support and assist CDCUs.  For more information about the Federation and its programs, please visit:

© 2011 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and CU Strategic Planning.

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