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Funding aims to build resilience in Native American businesses as they address COVID-19-related challenges

January 12, 2022

MESA, AZ – KeyBank has announced a $300,000 philanthropic grant to the The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED), a non-profit organization that assists American Indian Tribes and tribal people with businesses and economic development.

KeyBank’s grant will be used to offer hybrid in-person and online Native Edge Institute (NEI) training events in eight KeyBank states (Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Utah and Washington), that include business development training and counseling, as well as services specifically tailored to increasing Native and tribally owned businesses’ COVID-19 resilience.

In addition, this KeyBank grant will provide funding for the Native Edge Finance CDFI to make twenty small business loans to Native-owned business in KeyBank states. This commitment of will help address the immediate financial needs of these businesses as they continue to recover from impact of COVID.

The funds will be used to aid tribal businesses affected by COVID-19, leading to greater economic stability. The need is great: A survey of private sector businesses in Indian Country in July 2020 found that 68% of respondents had at least a 20% revenue loss. At the time, 48% of respondents believed their businesses were more than six months away from returning to normal, and 27% had predicted their business will never return to normal.

“We see this as a valuable partnership as we aim to help Indian tribes and businesses gain access to economic opportunity and growth,” said KeyBank’s National Executive for Native American Financial Services Mike Lettig. “This organization fits well with our mission of helping our clients and communities thrive by achieving greater economic stability. Nowhere is that more important than in rural communities that often lack access to business expertise and capital.”

“KeyBank has been a tremendous partner with the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development,” said Chris James, President and CEO of the National Center. “Its support of our Native Edge Institutes has helped our organization bring these critical training and educational programs to new audiences in nearly every corner of the country. We look forward to continuing our work with KeyBank and the entrepreneurs and communities it serves.”