Financial & Investor Education
First Nations Development Institute and its independent subsidiary, First Nations Oweesta Corporation (a community development financial institution), work in partnership with Native American tribes and communities throughout the U.S. to assist them in designing and administering financial and investor education programs. Our projects range from helping individuals and families understand the basics of financial management – opening and maintaining a bank account and using credit wisely – to helping individuals understand financial markets and a variety of financial instruments for borrowing and saving.
Learning how to manage finances ensures that Native people will be more likely to save and invest. Our programs result in increased investment levels and economic growth in Native communities.
First Nations Development Institute uses the Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families curriculum, which was originally developed by First Nations Development Institute and the Fannie Mae Foundation. For more information about this publication, visit our Knowledge Center.
First Nations Development Institute also coordinates the InvestNative investor education project (more information can be found at www.investnative.org.)
First Nations created the My Green campaign and website in response to the demand to provide financial education to the growing number of Native youth who are receiving a large lump sum of money as part of their Minor’s Trust (Big Money) payout.
The campaign website went live on April 17, 2013 and is equipped with a variety of interactive money tools designed to help Native youth make the most of out of their per capita payments. Visit www.mybigmoney.org to try out the My Big Money online game, the different money tools and visit the Ask Mo financial advice column to get answers to your most pressing questions regarding financial planning.
The campaign is led by four Native youth, Denessa, Jordan, Dakota, and Hunter, who share their stories and lessons learned about their Minor’s Trust, or “Big Money.”
My Green FAQ
Q: What does Big Money stand for?
Q: What are Minor’s Trust Payouts?
Q: Who Receives Minor’s Trust Payouts and Per Capita Payments?
Q: Where can I learn more about Minor’s Trust Payouts and Per Capita Payments?
Q: Where can I learn more about Financial Education in Native Communities?
Western Shoshone Youth go on a $pending Frenzy
“This was a really fun project and it will help me think about how I will spend my money.”
First Nations staff and consultants worked in partnership with Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) to provide a financial reality fair titled the “$pending Frenzy.” In light of the historic land claims settlement with the Western Shoshone tribes, First Nations held a simulation for Western Shoshone youth who would be eligible for large trust settlement payments upon turning 18. The reality fair utilized fake money close to the amount that would be available to youth through their trust settlement payment to give students experience handling a substantial lump of money and how to spend it wisely. There were four total experiential learning events that took place over the course of two days - two in Elko, Nevada, on October 2, 2012, and two in Pyramid Lake, Nevada on October 4, 2012.
The $pending Frenzy served more than 130 students from six different Western Shoshone tribes. The workshops included opportunities to purchase a car, a house, groceries, and other financial activities. Students could practice visiting a bank to cash their check and put money into savings and try out investing a portion of the money. The evaluation of this event revealed that 83.5% of participating students agreed that the $pending Frenzy model and topics covered were relevant to their life, and 95% stated that they would use the information they learned during the $pending Frenzy to assist them with managing their money.
Find the report about the effort in our Knowledge Center at this link. It’s titled Learning by Doing: Financial Education for Native American Youth Receiving Large Lump-Sum Payouts.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation School-Based Financial Education
Our goal with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation school-based financial education project is to support systemic change that will positively impact the economic security of Native families. We will use the public school setting to offer customized, experiential financial education and Individual Development Accounts to Native youth in several high schools in McKinley County in New Mexico. This project offers bundled services to American Indian families and will help Native people work towards a better economic future.
“Crazy Cash City” Event Reaches 200 Students
That’s just one comment from a student among the nearly 200 who participated in First Nations Development Institute’s October 2012 “Crazy Cash City” event in New Mexico. First Nations in partnership with First Financial Credit Union, provided the “Crazy Cash City” money-spending simulation in Gallup, New Mexico, for local high school students, the majority of whom are Native American. The exercise – which was a test of a new pilot program tailored to Native American youth modeled after the National Credit Union’s Mad City Money simulation– was intended as an experiential learning opportunity for kids currently taking a financial literacy class.
The event was held at the Rio West Mall and consisted of six two-hour reality fairs in which the students had to navigate a series of simulated financial tasks and challenges designed to teach basic budgeting and banking skills. It was all in fun – since they were spending play money and not really buying things – but it was also informative and highly interactive.
All participants were given a folder containing a fictitious family profile that listed what their income was, the income of a spouse, the age of any children, and any outstanding debt or benefits they received. The high school kids then visited about 10 booths that provided various choices for housing, transportation, child care and more, and they were asked to make smart financial decisions based on their family profile. At the conclusion of the seminar, the students were expected to have a fully balanced budget that they logged in their check register and budgeting sheet.
Visit the Knowledge Center to read the Crazy Cash City Evaluation Report.
Financial Literacy: Life on Your Own Terms
First Nations Development Institute received a grant from the Daniels Fund to support the Financial Literacy: Life on Your Own Terms curriculum project, which has been piloted with a group of high school students at Gallup Central High School in New Mexico. The purpose of the curriculum project was to institutionalize a culturally appropriate financial and investor education class for high school students. The classes addressed personal finance topics such as responsible use of a credit card, avoiding predatory lenders, understanding banking, car buying tips, safeguarding against identity theft and basic investing skills.
Students at Gallup Central High School Participate in National Financial Capability Challenge
FINRA's New Distribution Channels for Investor Education
First Nations received a grant from FINRA(Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) to provide financial and investor education to at least 500 individuals over a three-year period by partnering with the Office of Special Trustee (OST) to provide investor education trainings, with an outcome of changing financial awareness, attitudes and behavior. First Nations will also provide financial and investor education to students in Bureau of Indian Education schools. We are also conducting a national social marketing campaign that emphasizes the importance of saving or investing tribal per capita, or trust payment, wisely. The goal of this marketing campaign is to promote changes in financial awareness, attitudes and behavior by developing and disseminating marketing materials to educate community members about financial management and investing.
Celebrating the Success of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Oklahoma Asset-Building: Promoting Economic Security for Life
First Nations Development Institute received a grant from the Ford Foundation to launch the "Building Economic Security for Life" project. The purpose of the initiative is to promote an asset-building agenda at the state and local levels that will provide income and program strategies to ensure family economic security. First Nations has partnered with Oklahoma Native Asset Coalition and Oklahoma Policy Institute to promote a research agenda that builds on the momentum of family asset-building strategies.
Oklahoma Policy Institute
Ask Dr. Per Cap
Ask Dr. Per Cap is a financial advice column to help you travel the winding road toward financial independence. I will draw upon my experiences – some good, some bad – to help you learn skills, tricks and strategies to take control of your financial future. And if we succeed, well, hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes I did because you’ll know better.
Click here for more information.