WIBA Collectively Awarded $3,861,265 to Serve Wisconsin Native Americans


June 15, 2021

Fern Orie, Chairwoman
Email Ms. Orie

Wisconsin Indian Business Alliance Collectively Awarded $3,861,265 to Serve Wisconsin Native Americans

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today awarded $1.25 billion in COVID-19 relief funds to 863 community development financial institutions (CDFIs). The awards were announced today by Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House with Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen.

The grants will be made through Treasury’s CDFI Rapid Response Program (CDFI RRP) and will provide necessary capital for CDFIs to respond to economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in underserved communities.

“In serving places that the financial sector historically hasn’t served well, CDFIs lift our whole economy up. We know that for every dollar injected into a CDFI, it catalyzes eight more dollars in private-sector investment, meaning that today’s announcement might lead to an additional $10 billion in investment,” said Secretary Janet Yellen. “The President and the Vice President ran on a very ambitious agenda – ‘Build Back Better,’ unwinding systemic racism, creating an economy that works for everyone. I believe this is what that looks like in practice. By channeling more capital into CDFIs, we are translating those ideals into reality.”

The CDFI RRP grant funds will be used to support eligible activities such as financial products, financial services, development services, and certain operational activities, and to enable CDFIs to build capital reserves and loan-loss reserves. The CDFI Fund designed the program to disburse the funds rapidly in light of the nationwide economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDFI RRP was authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Pub. L. 116-260).

“These awards provide CDFIs with an unprecedented level of flexible capital to help distressed and underserved communities across the country take meaningful steps towards recovering from the debilitating economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CDFI Fund Director Jodie Harris. “CDFI RRP awards will enable CDFIs to help businesses keep their doors open, help families make ends meet, and help maintain important community facilities during this difficult time.”

The four Native CDFIs that comprise the Wisconsin Indian Business Alliance (WIBA) received:

Collectively, WIBA Members received a total of $3,861,265 to serve Native American individuals, families, businesses and Tribal communities.

“This is a game-changer for our organizations. This funding will significantly increase our ability to serve our communities, who experienced higher more devastating health and economic impacts due to the pandemic. We appreciate the U.S. Department of Treasury’s focus on underserved communities. This positions us to further assist our families and businesses, and we are ready,” said Fern Orie, Chairwoman of the Wisconsin Indian Business Alliance and CEO of the Wisconsin Native Loan Fund.

Bay Bank, also a certified Native CDFI and owned by the Oneida Nation, was awarded $1,826,265. This brings the Rapid Response Program’s funding to Wisconsin Native CDFIs to $5,687,530.


About WIBA:
The Wisconsin Indian Business Alliance (WIBA) is a coalition of non-profit organizations with a mission to expand Native economic development by building the financial sovereignty of Native individuals, families, Native-owned businesses and communities in Wisconsin.

Working together, WIBA Members are Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that collaborate and leverage resources to maximize access to loans, training, and counseling to best serve Enrolled Members of the 11 Federally recognized Tribes in Wisconsin – both on and off reservation communities.

WIBA Members collectively work to bring millions of dollars to Wisconsin Indian Country from corporations, foundations and government programs to deliver our continuum of loan products and capacity-building technical assistance services to Native individuals, families, businesses and communities.

For more information about WIBA, please visit www.wiedc.org.

About the CDFI Fund:
Since its creation in 1994, the CDFI Fund has awarded more than $3.9 billion to CDFIs, community development organizations, and financial institutions through the Bank Enterprise Award Program, the Capital Magnet Fund, the Community Development Financial Institutions Program, the Financial Education and Counseling Pilot Program, and the Native American CDFI Assistance Program. In addition, the CDFI Fund has allocated $61 billion in tax credit allocation authority to Community Development Entities through the New Markets Tax Credit Program, and closed guaranteed bonds for over $1.7 billion through the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program.

For more information about the CDFI Fund and its programs, please visit www.cdfifund.gov.