The Sequoyah Fund will become the recipient of an $875,000 award from the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) Fund for the expansion of services and to increase the volume of their small business lending. The Sequoyah Fund will use the award to grow their lending capital fund and implement a new “Credit Builder” loan program for members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
“We are happy about this news, and humbled that the CDFI Fund believes so strongly in what we are doing here in Cherokee,” said Russ Seagle, Sequoyah Fund’s executive director. “We are excited that we will be able to increase the level of business lending in and around Cherokee, and we are especially excited to start our Credit Builder program to help more enrolled members increase their credit scores so they can access more and cheaper financial services.”
The Sequoyah Fund will provide credit builder loans for people who are struggling to increase their credit scores while avoiding predatory lending operations. They also provide free budgeting workshops, budget and credit counseling, small business workshops, and other programs to assist small businesses and individuals. Additionally, The Sequoyah Fund administers the Authentically Cherokee program and the REAL Entrepreneurship® program. The organization has made over 450 loans in its 20-year history, totaling over $17 million in local investments in small businesses and housing improvement.
The CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives generates economic opportunity for Native Communities by supporting the creation and expansion of Native CDFIs like The Sequoyah Fund though the Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program), Financial Assistance (FA) program, and Capacity Building Initiative trainings. The Native CDFIs, in turn, help to create jobs, establish or improve affordable housing, and provide accessible financial services and counseling within their communities. Awarded funds should be disbursed to CDFIs in March, 2019.
– The Sequoyah Fund release