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Native American Communities > About the Native Asset Building Initiative

Native Asset Building Initiative

About the Initiative

Native communities are asset rich in culture and community, though many Native community members are asset-poor in economic assets. Poverty among Native Americans — including American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Native Pacific Islanders — is more than twice the overall U.S. rate. Many Native American communities have fewer full-time employed people than other communities. These situations can make asset building difficult.

Many Native organizations and communities are successfully using asset building strategies to improve the economic condition of their members and communities. In 1999, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe started the first Native IDA program on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Since then, numerous Tribes and Native organizations have included IDAs as part of their asset building strategies, but many are facing challenges in project implementation. Two of the most frequently identified challenges are the lack of funding for administering the project and the lack of funding for providing comprehensive asset building tools.  To support this important work and address these challenges the Office of Community Services (OCS) and the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) have partnered to increase access to and awareness of asset building opportunities in Native American communities through the Native Asset Building Initiative.

OCS and ANA will accept applications to establish and administer asset building projects with a focus on the Assets for Independence (AFI) programs. Grantees will provide an array of supports and services to enable low income individuals and families to become economically self-sufficient for the long-term. The AFI focus of each project requires that eligible participants are given access to matched savings accounts, called Individual Development Accounts (IDA), in which participants save earned income for the purchase of a home, for business capitalization, or to attend higher education or training. Participants are also given access to other supportive services that enable them to become more financially secure. The IDA portion of the project is funded by OCS.

ANA funds may be used to pay for costs associated with the administration of the AFI-funded IDA project and to provide other asset building strategies, such as financial literacy education and coaching on money management and consumer issues.

Applicants will submit one application identifying a single work plan with two budgets, reflecting OCS-AFI funding and ANA-SEDS funding separately. Each successful application will receive two awards, reflecting OCS funding and ANA funding separately. See the complete funding announcement for details.

For more information, contact the AFI Resource Center at 1-866-778-6037 or info@idaresources.org or the ANA Help Desk at  202-401-5399 or NativeAssetBuilding@acf.hhs.gov.

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