“Lakota Funds” has doubled the geographic area it serves in order to provide financial investment opportunities to the many tribal members living off the reservation.
Lakota Funds has disbursed more than 900 loans, totaling $7.2 million, since it was founded in 1986. That financial distribution has created 1,400 jobs and nearly 500 businesses on or near the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Executive Director Tawney Brunsch hopes expanding Lakota Funds’ service area from 25 to 50 miles from the reservation’s boundaries will provide substantial opportunities for Native entrepreneurs in distant locations.
“We…for years…have been taking calls from people in Rapid City who want to utilize our services,” observes Brunsch. “Also from Rosebud and Mission. And we’re happy to have them participate in our classes. You know…we teach financial planning and the literacy and stuff. But we weren’t able to assist them with their business lending needs. And…so…now we will be able to do that.”
Lakota Funds offers loans for up to $300,000 to either establish a new business or expand a current one. Applicants don’t have to be Oglala…but they do need to be a member of a federally recognized tribe.
Tawney Brunsch notes that Lakota Funds offers all the tools necessary for tribal members to not only build their business but to also build their assets. And that’s the best way, says Brunsch, to help Native communities become self-sufficient.