MISSION – The Confederate Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation have opened a full-service financial operation.
Nixyaawii Community Financial Services held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday August 10 and a grand public opening on August 11, featuring hot dogs and burgers. The entity is a loan fund of the Indigenous Community Development Financial Institution that provides loans, homeownership assistance, adult financial education and more to members of the Confederate Tribes of Umatilla, reserve residents and tribal workers. CDFIs are specialized financial institutions that serve geographically defined low-income communities and / or populations that do not have access to finance.
Dave Tovey, executive director of Nixyaawii Community Financial Services, said this has been in the works for several years.
The tribes conducted a community survey and feasibility analysis in 2015 for this new financial transaction, and in 2019 the tribes appointed Tovey as executive director. According to the tribes, Tovey led the way in establishing the political base of the NCFS, finalizing the composition of the board of directors and working out the operational details.
Tovey said the financial organization was granted nonprofit status from the IRS in early 2020, and shortly after its business plan was approved by the board of directors of the IRS. CTUIR. Tovey explained that this plan merged three tribal programs – the Business Development Services, the Housing Ministry’s Home Ownership Program and the Tribal Credit Program – under one roof.
Grants and donations exceeding a total of $ 367,000 provided seed funding until the approval of the 2021 budget, including $ 175,000 from the Northwest Area Foundation and $ 60,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation.
Nixyaawii Community Financial Services operates in the former Dairy Queen location in the Perennial building off Highway 331, near the Arrowhead Truck Plaza. The renovations to the space allow for social distancing, Tovey said, including a separate waiting area and separate offices. The NCFS also retained the drive-thru of the old restaurant to allow customers to make transitions on the go.
Tovey also said that Nixyaawii Community Financial Services is in the process of becoming an indigenous community development financial institution.
“Indigenous CDFIs are drivers of opportunity, providing accessible funding to resourceful and resilient communities in Indian County,” according to the tribes. “They weave partners, funding and networks to create sustainable prosperity and opportunities shared by all. “