The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) serves all federally-recognized tribes in Oklahoma and Native-controlled nonprofits. Tribes served include Absentee Shawnee, Alabama Quassarte, Apache, Caddo, Cherokee, Cheyenne & Arapaho, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Citizen Potawatomi, Comanche, Delaware, Eastern Shawnee, Fort Sill Apache, Iowa, Kaw, Kialegee, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Miami, Modoc, Muscogee (Creek), Osage, Otoe-Missouria, Ottawa, Pawnee, Peoria, Ponca, Quapaw, Sac & Fox, Seminole, Seneca-Cayuga, Shawnee, Thlopthlocco, Tonkawa, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, Wyandotte, and Euchee (Yuchi).
What is the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition?
ONAC is a nonprofit asset-building coalition that works with Oklahoma tribes and partners interested in establishing asset-building initiatives and programs in Native communities, for the purpose of creating greater opportunities for economic self-sufficiency of tribal citizens. The coalition is Native-led and one of only several Native asset-building coalitions in the country. Our goal is to increase the number of sustainable Native asset-building programs in the state and to support those administering such programs by providing free technical assistance, networking opportunities, mini-grant funding, administrative policy guidance advocacy, and promotion of what is working well with these programs at a state and national level.
Brief History of the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition
In 2001, a meeting organized by the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University in St. Louis and First Nations Development Institute was held to determine interest in the development of an intertribal consortium or coalition of tribes having initiated (or about to initiate) asset-building programs. From 2001 until 2006, Karen Edwards (Choctaw), a Project Director at the CSD, continued working with several Native asset-building practitioners in Oklahoma to build the base for the coalition. They conducted outreach and meetings. During this time, CSD and First Nations Development Institute, both classified as tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, financially supported ONAC. By 2006, ONAC was a project of First Nations Development Institute and they paid Karen Edwards, as a consultant once she retired from CSD, to be the project manager for ONAC.
In 2007, a group of tribal representatives met, at the Cherokee Casino and Resort in Tulsa, and agreed to become an organized Native-focused asset-building group, along the lines of those developed in some other states. ONAC remained a project of First Nations Development Institute until 2014 when the coalition was approved as a tax exempt organization. Currently, while our focus is on serving Oklahoma tribes and Native nonprofits, we are now working on a national level with our participation in asset building advisory groups, requests for administrative policy guidance at the federal level, and in our ability to open Children’s Savings Accounts for Native youth residing in various states.
What ONAC Provides Constituents:
- Asset-building resources, models and strategies.
- An annual Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Conference.
- A forum to talk about tribal, local, state or federal asset-building policies.
- Opportunities to connect and partner with Native and non-Native asset-building practitioners in Oklahoma and around the country.
- Outreach to Oklahoma tribal leaders, tribal government programs, and other Oklahoma-based Native organizations and businesses to provide information about asset-building.
- Free asset-building program design and implementation technical assistance and training.
- Mini-grants to tribes and Native nonprofits for asset-building projects.
- When available, funding for specific pilot Native asset-building projects.
- Administrative Policy Guidance requests to federal programs, as needed (such as our request for information about tribal TANF-funded Individual Development Account program purchases, etc.)
- Opportunities to speak at national asset-building conferences about your asset-building programs, as available
Why Your Support is Needed
To advance ONAC's mission, ONAC is seeking to raise $5 million to fund an endowment for general operations expenses and program support. A strong endowment would make ONAC sustainable and viable well into the future. As of 2016, ONAC's annual operating budget is $251,522. Endowment funding of $5 million would allow ONAC to draw 5% a year ($250,000). With the sustainability that an endowment provides, ONAC would then continue to seek foundation and individual donor support, as well as memberships, sponsorships, and other donations to offer more Children's Savings Accounts and asset building grants in the state, in order to better meet the demand for our coalition services.
ONAC exists to increase the number of Native asset-building programs and to support those administering the programs. Beyond our Native asset-building coalition in Oklahoma, there are few other such Native coalitions in the country. ONAC’s first priority is to serve tribes, Native nonprofits and other supporters in Oklahoma. Given the lack of other Native asset-building coalitions near us and around the country, we also invite those interested in Native asset-building outside of Oklahoma to join our listserv and participate in our conferences, webinar, and peer-learning calls, given the need for such information in other Native communities. To help continue the work of this coalition, ONAC needs your assistance. We invite you to join as a coalition member. Additionally, we welcome donations and sponsorships. All membership donations, endowment gifts, and general donations are fully tax-deductible as no goods or services are provided in exchange. ONAC appreciates your support and looks forward to partnering with you as we all enhance Native asset-building activities in 2017 and beyond.
Thank you for considering this request for support!