Gifts of Appreciated Securities

A gift of appreciated stocks or mutual funds may be a tax-advantaged way for you to make a significant impact on First Nations’ immediate goals to preserve Native cultures, build stronger tribal economies, expand financial education, increase access to healthy foods, and so much more.

Donating appreciated stocks or mutual funds to First Nations is simple and can be made by taking a few quick steps:

  • CALL your broker or account administrator.
  • DIRECT them to our website for transfer instructions at www.firstnations.org/give
  • SPECIFY which stocks you want to give.
  • CONTACT First Nations to let us know of your gift, so we can track it, send you a receipt for tax purposes, and thank you for your thoughtful gift.

Eileen Egan

For more information about making a gift of stocks or mutual funds to further our mission, please contact Eileen Egan in our Development Office today at (303) 774-7836 or by email to eegan@firstnations.org. You can also visit www.firstnations.org/give.

(This information is not intended as tax, legal or financial advice. Please consult your personal financial advisor for information specific to your situation.)

Financial Ed Workshop Held at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

Some of the attendees at SIPI go over their materials

The Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families curriculum is a culturally appropriate financial education curriculum designed for use in Native communities. It is used by tribal colleges, tribal housing authorities and other programs to educate approximately 2,300 students a year – and the numbers are growing.

On October 1-3, 2014, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) partnered with First Nations Oweesta Corporation to provide a “train-the-trainer” workshop to help practitioners learn to use the Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families curriculum in their home community.

In coordination with the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute’s (SIPI’s) Board of Regents Office, First Nations helped conduct a three-day workshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that provided an orientation to the curriculum, an overview of teaching tools, and training on a range of teaching techniques. More than 15 participants in the workshop learned how to use the Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families curriculum in a variety of settings to promote financial empowerment.

“We were happy to be able to partner with First Nations Development Institute to offer this workshop,” said Vonne Strobe, a project coordinator for SIPI’s Board of Regents Office. “We definitely learned a lot that will be useful in serving the clients in our financial education program.” Other participants in the workshop included staff from tribal housing authorities, education departments, and staff from New Mexico’s tribal libraries program.

“It is an honor to work with such a great group of passionate and dedicated financial educators,” noted Shawn Spruce, a workshop facilitator and a First Nations financial education consultant. “We look forward to hearing how people are able to use these tools to serve their community members.”

To learn more about the Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families curriculum, visit the First Nations website at http://www.firstnations.org/knowledge-center/financial-education/bnc.

By Sarah Dewees, First Nations Senior Director of Research, Policy and Asset-Building Programs

Seneca in a “Frenzy” While Northern Cheyenne Goes “Crazy”

 

Seneca students during their $pending Frenzy

Wouldn’t it be nice if financial education was offered in a dynamic, interactive format where individuals can try out the skills that they are learning and gain confidence to manage their money?  These workshops, often referred to as “financial simulations,” give youth (and adults) the chance to practice managing their money in a safe environment.

On June 30, 2014, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) offered an interactive workshop specifically tailored to Native American youth receiving minor’s trust payments.  Four certified financial literacy trainers from the Seneca Nation of Indians – together  with experts from First Nations – hosted the “$pending Frenzy” for Seneca Nation youth. This workshop provided the youth with play money in the amount of a tribal annuity payment to learn about a range of spending and investing options.  Students were asked to make a series of budgeting decisions over a two-hour period.  The model was developed in response to demand from certain tribes who were struggling with how to prepare their youth for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Seneca students getting their "cash" to budget and spend

The $pending Frenzy workshop is based on experiential learning principles – the belief that youth learn by doing.  Students learn to use a bank to cash their check, and then are asked to make decisions about buying a car, buying a home, and balancing their wants and needs while budgeting their money.  Unexpected emergencies and opportunities were presented to the youth in the form of “Cards of Fate,” which helped them learn to plan for unforeseen life events.

Justin Schapp, assistant to the Seneca Nation of Indians’ treasurer, coordinated the event and said the $pending Frenzy was well-received by the students.   “People need to be educated as to how long you really can make money last” was the thought of one participant.  Another student noted that “budgeting it out so it will last me a long time” was one of the biggest challenges or hardest parts about handling a large sum of money.

The $pending Frenzy is similar to “Crazy Cash City” events that First Nations has hosted, mirroring the belief that learning by doing is the most effective approach for helping youth develop financial skills.  The Crazy Cash City workshop is a 90-minute reality fair in which students have to navigate a series of simulated financial tasks designed to teach basic budgeting and banking skills.  It is designed to be fun — since they are spending play money and not really buying things — but it is also informative and highly interactive.  All participants are given a folder containing a fictitious family profile that listed what their income is, the income of a spouse, the ages of any children, and any outstanding debt they have or benefits they receive.  The youth then visit about 10 booths that provide various choices for housing, transportation, child care and more, and are asked to make smart financial decisions based on their family profile.

Pondering financial options at Chief Dull Knife

In early June, First Nations conducted a Crazy Cash City workshop in coordination with the Chief Dull Knife College cooperative extension service for youth on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.

“There is tremendous demand for effective financial education for Native youth,” said Sarah Dewees, First Nations’ senior director of research, policy and asset-building programs. “We are honored to have worked with so many tribes and Native nonprofits to help provide financial education in their communities.”

By Tawny Wilson, First Nations Program Officer

Purchasing decisions being made at Chief Dull Knife

Student Artist Puts Soul & Soles Into “My Green” Campaign

Erin Bulow (Zuni Pueblo) proudly displays his custom painted "My Green" contest shoes

First Nations Development Institute’s “My Green” campaign helps Native youth learn how to take charge of their money – and begin to walk the path to financial wellness. As part of this financial education campaign, First Nations sponsored a contest in early 2013 where the grand prize was a pair of shoes that made that journey a little easier.

“You see so many contests these days with prizes like electronic gadgets and gift cards,” commented Sarah Dewees, First Nations’ senior director of research, policy & asset-building programs.  “That stuff can be great, but we wanted something more original that could tie directly into My Green’s message of financial empowerment.”

Sarah and her team didn’t have to look very far.  Last year First Nations worked closely with young artists on a “My Green” financial education poster project at Miyamura High School in Gallup, New Mexico.  One student had an interesting hobby that got them thinking.  Erin Bulow, 17, hand paints colorful designs on tennis shoes. It turns out that custom-painted shoes are “all the rage” these days. In fact, there’s even a national shoe-painting contest for high school art students that is sponsored by Vans, a popular tennis shoe company. The Vans “Custom Culture” program is a national shoe-customization contest where schools from all over the U.S. compete for a chance to win money for their art programs, and usually has about 2,000 schools participating.  Miyamura High School entered this year, and so did the Early College Academy at the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland, Oregon (NAYA Early College Academy is another school with whom First Nations partners to provide financial education programming).

First Nations hired Erin, who is originally from Zuni Pueblo, to design a one-of-a-kind pair of “My Green” shoes to serve as a prize for the contest.  Erin comes from a family of distinguished artists – his grandfather was Duane Dishta, a well-known kachina carver and silversmith, and his mother is an accomplished painter and potter.  In addition to shoe painting, the high school senior carves fetishes, makes pottery, silversmiths, and enjoys photography and writing short stories.  To date he has created more than 20 pairs of custom-painted tennis shoes that he sells along with other artwork through his website, BuffaloMedicineTrading.com.

“I’ve been into art my whole life, but I really started getting serious when I was about 13,” Erin explained. “It’s my passion to create, but it’s also my business.  I’d like to eventually own a gallery and become a full-scale dealer and trader.”

Erin’s ambition fits well with the “My Green” message of financial empowerment.  He also draws upon profound life experiences to produce art with a positive message.  When he was a child, his family home was lost in an accidental fire.  “I learned a lot when that happened,” he observed.  “I learned how important it is to be self-reliant and have money set aside.  I’ve had to grow up fast, but that’s a good thing.  I think some of these values come out in my art and I’m proud to share them with other young people who appreciate my work.”

It’s been said that the secret to a fulfilling life and rewarding career is doing what you love.  Erin Bulow has figured this lesson out a lot sooner than most. Our lucky contest winner got to think about taking a walk in his shoes – in more ways than one.

By Shawn Spruce, First Nations Financial Education Consultant

“Crazy Cash City” for a Crazy Cash World

 

A scene from a similar "Crazy Cash City" event in Gallup, New Mexico.

What’s the best way to learn about personal finance? How about a workshop where you get to make financial choices – and sometimes mistakes – but all with play money?

First Nations Development Institute partnered with the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) in Portland, Oregon, to offer a “Crazy Cash City” workshop just yesterday, May 19, 2014. NAYA sponsors an alternative high school known as the Early College Academy that emphasizes student empowerment and academic excellence while integrating core American Indian and Alaska Native values in partnership with parents, families, elders and community members. First Nations is working with the Early College Academy to provide innovative financial education programming, including the “Crazy Cash City” workshop where more than 100 youth will learn the basics of budgeting, bill paying and financial responsibility.

“Students learn best in experiential settings,” noted Shawn Spruce, First Nations’ financial education trainer coordinating the event. “Kids like to hear, see, think and do. They are not just learning the concepts, they are carrying out the actual activities of budgeting and bill paying. Research shows that this is a much more effective learning model for youth than classroom lectures.”

The “Crazy Cash City” workshop is a 90-minute reality fair in which students have to navigate a series of simulated financial tasks designed to teach basic budgeting and banking skills. It is designed to be fun — since they are spending play money and not really buying things — but it is also informative and highly interactive. All participants are given a folder containing a fictitious family profile that listed what their income was, the income of a spouse, the age of any children, and any outstanding debt or benefits they received.  The high school kids then visit about 10 booths that provided various choices for housing, transportation, child care and more, and are asked to make smart financial decisions based on their family profile.  At the conclusion of the seminar, the students were expected to have a fully balanced budget that they logged in their check register and budgeting sheet. This workshop has been held multiple times with high schools in Gallup, New Mexico, and is based on the Credit Union National Association’s “Mad City Money” program.

Students calculate expenses at a similar event last year in Gallup, New Mexico

The purpose of the event is to give the youth opportunities to practice good spending and budgeting habits prior to entering the “real world” after graduation.  The idea is to promote smart and informed decisions that will last a lifetime.  This event was made possible with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. First Nations is honored to be partnering with NAYA on this project, and proudly supports their work in an additional grant supported by The Kresge Foundation.   “This event really brings together community partners and it is always great to work with the students and teachers,” said Michael E. Roberts, president of First Nations Development Institute.  “We are happy that we found an exciting way to teach youth practical budgeting and banking skills that they can soon apply in the real world.”

By Sarah Dewees, First Nations Senior Director of Research, Policy & Asset-Building Programs

Students Practice Money Management in “Crazy Cash City”

Students received prizes for taking turns in the Money Machine at the event

“Thank you for the experience. I finally got an idea of how things are in the real world.”Comment from a student after participating in Crazy Cash City.

On December 10, 2013, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) partnered with First Financial Credit Union to provide the “Crazy Cash City” money-spending simulation for students at Gallup Central High School in Gallup, New Mexico.  The program was offered to the entire school, and 85 students participated.

The Crazy Cash City event  was held in the school’s gym and consisted of two 90-minute reality fairs in which the students had to navigate a series of simulated financial tasks designed to teach basic budgeting and banking skills. It was all in fun — since they were spending play money and not really buying things — but it was also informative and highly interactive.

Bernadine Lee from the Navajo Partnership for Housing explains recreational expenses

All participants were given a folder containing a fictitious family profile that listed what their income was, the income of a spouse, the age of any children, and any outstanding debt or benefits they received.  The high school kids then visited about 10 booths that provided various choices for housing, transportation, child care and more, and were asked to make smart financial decisions based on their family profile.  At the conclusion of the seminar, the students were expected to have a fully balanced budget that they logged in their check register and budgeting sheet.

Jason Valentine of Coldwell Realty (right) pitches a "hard sell"

The event was made possible by a partnership between First Nations, faculty and leadership at Gallup Central High School, and First Financial Credit Union. Other community partners chipped in including volunteers from the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, Navajo Partnership for Housing and local retailers. Gallup Central High School Teacher Arnold Blum, First Financial Business Relations Manager Dale Detrick, and First Nations Financial Consultant Shawn Spruce coordinated the event. The event was partially funded by a grant from the National Credit Union Foundation and resources from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Mike Chavez of Lowe’s Supermarkets (right) discusses grocery spending

Students who filled out an evaluation form for the event expressed their support for the workshop and stated that the Crazy Cash City money simulation was a valuable experience.  Most importantly, all agreed that the simulation helped them learn to manage their money and that they could now successfully make and use a monthly budget.   Some students had such an enjoyable time during the first simulation that they participated again in the second event.  Many of the students who repeated adjusted their approach from the lessons they learned during the first go-around and even served as mentors to first-timers when they needed help.

The purpose of the event was to give the youth the opportunity to practice good spending and budgeting habits prior to entering the “real world” after graduation.  The idea was to promote smart and informed decisions that will last a lifetime.  When asked what was the most challenging part about managing monthly expenses for her fictitious family, one student responded, “Keeping up with my bills, and putting food on the table and caring for my one-month old baby. Also, keeping (the baby) in good hands when I leave.”

Liz Sanchez from My Closet (right) sells to a student

“This event really brings together community partners and it is always great to work with the leadership at Gallup Central High School and First Financial Credit Union,” Shawn said. “We are happy that we found an exciting way to teach youth practical budgeting and banking skills that they can soon apply in the real world.”

By Benjamin Marks, First Nations Research and Program Officer

FN+FIMO+FINRA+SEC+OST = Navajo Financial Ed

Attendees closely listen to workshop presenters and take many notes

To help tribal citizens of the Navajo Nation prepare for a potential financial windfall, the Federal Indian Minerals Office (FIMO) teamed up with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) to offer a series of financial education workshops in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in December 2013. Staff from the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST) also assisted with the trainings.

Participants engage in an interactive activity during the training

The outreach event was held at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and consisted of two three-hour workshops designed to help people learn about managing their money, avoiding fraud, and investing. Interactive exercises, videos and presentations were used to provide information on financial topics.   FIMO was established in 1992 by the U.S. Department of Interior to provide services to individual Navajo mineral owner beneficiaries regarding their mineral interests and rights. To date the organization has approved 70 of 344 pending negotiated leases worth about $195 million to over 20,000 people.  There are also plans to auction off roughly 200 additional leases as a result of the current oil boom on the Navajo Nation.

Another activity helped drill home the information

The training began with a financial self-assessment and guided the participants through making goals, budgeting, tracking expenses and making a financial plan. The participants then learned about different types of fraud and effective means of combating fraud.   First Nations Financial Consultant Shawn Spruce coordinated the event in partnership with Charles Felker from the SEC, Susan Arthur from the FINRA Foundation, and Leona Begay from FIMO. The event was partially funded by grants from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.   The purpose of the event was to assist oil and gas lease beneficiaries with money management by promoting smart and informed decisions that will help with budgeting and protect beneficiaries from fraud. When asked about the training, many beneficiaries responded that the workshop was extremely valuable.

Visual aides were used during parts of the presentations

“It was really exciting to partner with staff from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Indian Minerals Office to provide this training,” Shawn said. “We look forward to providing many more, and having an even wider reach in the future enabling us to effectively build money management skills for this community.”

By Sarah Dewees, First Nations Senior Director of Research, Policy & Asset-Building Programs, and Rachel Vernon, First Nations Program Officer.

Native Youth Participate in InvestNative Online Financial Education Challenge

In December 2013, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations)  finished another round of its popular InvestNative Online Financial Education Challenge.  The online financial education curriculum, funded by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, provides concise, interactive and youth-focus financial literacy lessons.   The curriculum is aligned with the Jump$tart National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education and has been further adapted to meet the specific needs of Native youth in their communities.

Working in partnership with several high schools across the nation, First Nations recruited more than 70 students to participate in the online challenge in December.  This is the fourth time the online challenge has been offered, and to date over 418 students have participated and about half (204 students or 49%) have successfully completed all modules.

Guided by the principles of behavioral economics, First Nations provided an incentive for students participating in the challenge, and students who completed all eight lessons and passed a series of assessments (one for each module) with an average score of 80% or more were entered into a lottery to win a pair of the popular Beats brand headphones.  High schools that participated last year included Gallup Central High School and Thoreau High School in New Mexico, and Meskwaki High School in Iowa.  Beats headphones winners from Gallup Central High School (above) and Thoreau High School (below) are pictured here.  

An evaluation of the curriculum in 2013 revealed that 91% of all students who completed an evaluation agreed that the curriculum was relevant to their lives and 95% agreed that the information presented would assist them with their financial needs.  First Nations will continue to work with community partners in 2014 to make this curriculum available for high school students and youth groups.

To learn more about the curriculum, visit www.investnativeonline.org.

By Sarah Dewees, First Nations Senior Director of Research, Policy & Asset-Building Programs

Wingate High Rules Stock Market Game

L to R: Anfernee Begay, Chandler Thompson, Clay Carviso and Bruce Lewis. In back is Ryan Yazzie

Financial education for Native Americans is one of our focus areas, so we’re delighted to report that financial literacy students from Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Education school at Ft. Wingate, New Mexico, really put the “win” in Wingate recently.  They were recognized for outstanding team performances in the “Stock Market Game” at an awards ceremony at the University of New Mexico on May 8, 2013.

Sophomores Anfernee Begay, Clay Carviso, Chandler Thompson and Ryan Yazzie – accompanied by financial literacy teacher and game advisor Bruce Lewis – received first- and second-place trophies for the state-level competition.  Begay also won a special trophy for achieving a 26.5 percent total return on his portfolio, the highest of any in the competition.  During his acceptance speech, Begay credited the use of applied mathematics in managing his award-winning portfolio. “I didn’t know too much about the stock market before playing the game, but I learned that anyone can buy stock and be an owner in a company,” Begay commented.  “Basically, I looked for stocks that had positive rising slopes during the last six to nine months and purchased them on margin in order to leverage my capital.”

All four students also completed the First Nations Development Institute-sponsored “Life on Your Terms” financial literacy course at Wingate, in which they studied various investing concepts such as risk, diversification and indexing that contributed to their success in the game.  Moreover, in just a few years Wingate has become a regional Stock Market Game powerhouse under Lewis’s guidance, having won various competitions three years in a row.

“We sure do enjoy playing the game,” Lewis explained to the audience.  “It’s great because it’s just like the real thing.  Students have to use formulas to calculate their asset-allocation percentages, and research stocks so they know where to put their money.  And, of course, have the discipline to know when to buy and sell.”

All of us at First Nations say “way to go Wingate High School!”

The Stock Market Game is an online educational activity that has served more than 13 million young people since 1977.  The game introduces students to the financial markets as they learn math, economics and the importance of long-term saving and investing.  Teams invest a hypothetical $100,000 in real stocks, bonds and mutual funds, learning cooperation, communication and leadership as they manage their portfolios over a 10-week period.  The game is sponsored nationally by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Foundation with local support from Fidelity Investments and The University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management.

Life on Your Terms is a high school financial literacy course offered to students in the Gallup McKinley County School District and surrounding communities in coordination with First Nations Development Institute and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  Currently the course is taught in 11 area high schools, with First Nations providing textbooks, classroom support and special events at no cost to partnering schools.

By Shawn Spruce, First Nations financial education consultant

L to R are Dean Doug Brown (Anderson School of Management), Bruce Lewis (Wingate), Champion Anfernee Begay (Wingate), and Shaun McHugh (Fidelity Investments)

First Nations Keynotes at Seminole Conference

The Native Learning Center affiliated with the Seminole Tribe of Florida invited First Nations Development Institute to present at its Fifth Annual Summer Conference – Strengthening Tribal Communities Into the Future – in Hollywood, Florida, on June 5, 2013.

First Nations Senior Program Officer Montoya Whiteman (Cheyenne-Arapaho) spoke during a general session to approximately 150 conference attendees. She discussed First Nations’ history and purpose, the organization’s current My Green financial education campaign, and the Building Native Communities Financial Series, specifically A Journey to Financial Empowerment.

Montoya Whiteman

Montoya noted that the opportunity to share First Nation’s work in this type of environment reinforces the importance of collaboration, and provides insight into demonstrated strategies, tools and research activities.  “It also highlights the valuable resources that are free to Native communities and the public, and which are available through our First Nations website,” she added.

To learn more about research models and publications, visit http://www.firstnations.org and click on the “Knowledge Center” tab, or simply click here.

At First Nations, Montoya currently supports the organization’s Strengthening Native American Nonprofits Program through technical assistance, training, site visits, institutes, and webinars for improving nonprofit capacity and organizational effectiveness. She implements several U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women grants, as well the Housing and Urban Development One CPD Technical Assistance grant. Most recently, she has taken on responsibility for overseeing a new project that will expand First Nations’ work to urban Indians and organizations, beyond its normal focus on rural and reservation-based Native communities.