The White Earth Investment Initiative began in 2002 and became a certified Community Development Financial Institution in 2007. Its history of service to Native American communities, particularly the White Earth Reservation, has led to economic impacts in the area of job creation and development in distressed communities.
White Earth Investment Initiative focused its early activities on community development issues, including beautification, zoning and community governance. In 2004, White Earth Investment Initiative began a program that provided down-payment assistance to low-income workers for the purchase of affordable and reliable used cars; this eventually evolved to our consumer lending program. In 2005, White Earth Investment Initiative began providing culturally relevant homebuyer education classes. This expanded to housing counseling and to an online education option, as well.
Also in 2005, White Earth Investment Initiative began its involvement in free tax preparation on the reservation as part of a partnership with Mahube Community Council. This led to the establishment of an independent tax site. From 2008 to 2016, we partnered with Community Development Bank of Ogema to offer the alternative refund loan and savings program.
In 2009, White Earth Investment Initiative constructed its offices and business incubator on Main Street in Ogema, Minn. We also partnered with a community-based organization to offer a youth savings program, beginning a series of pilot projects designed to help build assets among Reservation residents through matched savings and trust funds.
In 2016, we closed our first home mortgage loan.
Today, White Earth Investment Initiative continues to focus its mission on helping create new jobs, improving community life and providing assistance to Native American communities.