First Nations purchased its own headquarters office building in Longmont, Colorado, and moved in on April 26, 2013. The purchase was a strategic move that makes great economic sense both for the organization and for the Native communities it serves. According to First Nations Board Chair B. Thomas Vigil, “It became obvious that First Nations needed to seize control of its own physical space. The building is now a key asset of the organization, providing operational space as well as rental income from other tenants.”
Michael E. Roberts, First Nations’ president, commented that “First Nations will no longer be dealing with wildly escalating rental rates, and will be allowed to keep the concentration of its resources on serving Indian Country and not paying rent.” The move was precipitated by a 67% rent increase demanded for the same space that First Nations and its independent subsidiary, First Nations Oweesta Corporation, had occupied for more than two and a half years.
First Nations’ board approved the borrowing of funds from First Nations’ endowment fund to purchase the building. Going forward, First Nations will be paying back the loan to its own endowment with interest, will buffer itself from future rent increases, has available space for expansion, may be eligible for nonprofit property tax offsets, and will earn income from other building renters. Currently, some of the other tenants include insurance and real estate agencies, a senior citizen care firm, plus two other American Indian organizations.
The two-story building was constructed in the 1980s. First Nations negotiated a below-market price for the property along with concessions for some necessary updates and repairs.
According to Michael, the purchase of the building is a sign of the continuing growth and maturity of the organization. “Besides the major economic advantages of owning our own property, it is a bricks-and-mortar symbol of the permanence of our mission of strengthening Native American communities across the United States.”
Our phone numbers and email address all remain the same, but here’s our new street address:
First Nations Development Institute
2432 Main Street, 2nd Floor
Longmont, CO 80501