Eagle Butte, SD – Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) today hosted a roundtable discussion on the importance of the Four Bands Community Fund in spurring economic development on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. Senator Johnson was joined by representatives from the Four Bands Community Fund and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and by five entrepreneurs that have been assisted by Four Bands in becoming small business owners.
“I always enjoy visiting my friends on Cheyenne River, and it’s extra special when we get to celebrate programs that are working to spur job creation and economic growth,” said Senator Johnson. “Four Bands has a proven track record – helping reduce the deep, persistent, and unacceptable poverty that still affects too many of our native communities.”
Four Bands is assisted by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Funds which were created in 1994 to help spur economic development in disadvantaged communities. This grant program is run out of the Treasury Department and resources are used for small business loans, financial literacy, and technical assistance. It is estimated that CDFIs leverage between $19 and $27 for every dollar they receive in awards from the Treasury program. On Wednesday, the Treasury Department announced it awarded Four Bands a $750,000 CDFI grant.
Four Bands was founded in 2000 and has grown to be the leading organization on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in the areas of small business training and lending, entrepreneurship education, and financial literacy.
Prior to the roundtable discussion Senator Johnson announced that Four Bands was awarded additional funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and USDA. They received a $300,000 Rural Innovation Grant from HUD and a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant from USDA Rural Development.
Participants at today’s roundtable included Lakota Mowrer, Assistant Director, Four Bands Community Fund; Elsie Meeks, State Director, USDA Rural Development; Barb Gross, VP, OctaFlex Environmental Systems; Richard Gross, General Manager, Lakota Archery; Jett Kraft, employee, Lakota Archery; RJ Lawrence, Owner, Lawrence Lawn Service; Bonnie LeBeau, Owner, Bonnie’s Quilting Boutique and Danny Butcher, Owner, Rez Kid Studios.