Native Assets Projects
 

This joint project of the Center for Social Development and the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies investigated the potential of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to serve as part of a poverty alleviation strategy in Indian Country. Researchers collected data from over 9,000 tax returns that were filed at 14 Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites serving Indian Country. The data was used to determine the number of Native community members who are eligible for EITC, the amount of money flowing to Native community members through EITC, potential uses of EITC income, and opportunities to build community infrastructure and programs that could help EITC and other tax dollars remain in Native communities and serve as leverage for further asset building.
 
Funding provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, First Nations Development Institute, and Native Financial Education Coalition.

This joint project of the Center for Social Development and the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies sought to gain a better understanding of the definition and vision of asset building in Native communities, including a better understanding of the role financial assets play in community development. Specifically, the project investigated the current asset holdings of one Native community by allowing Native community members to define "assets" for themselves and for their community.

In this mixed methods research project, CSD addresses saving for education in American Indian communities in North Carolina. Qualitative research in the study investigates whether American Indian parents save for post-secondary education, and what methods of saving are culturally acceptable. The research also seeks to identify how saving for post-secondary education could be facilitated for American Indian parents, both by improving the design of financial products and removing barriers to saving.
 
The study also employs a quantitative approach to test significant indicators of saving for post-secondary education among American Indian adults, and to spatially assess North Carolina’s 529 College Savings Plan (NC 529 Plan or Plan) awareness.

CSD's research on Native assets examines the effectiveness of asset-building policies in Native communities and seeks to inform policy design at the state and federal levels to make asset-building policies inclusive of Native communities. In addition, this work increases opportunities for tribes and Native peoples to examine the importance of asset building to their communities, and to establish and express informed positions on asset-building policy.
 
In its research and policy work, CSD collaborates with the Kathryn M. Buder Center for Indian American Studies, individual Native American tribes, and with several native-focused organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians, First Nations Development Institute, First Nations Oweesta Corporation, and Native Nations Institute.
 
Funding provided by Annie E. Casey Foundations, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and Ford Foundation.

In this project, the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies and the Center for Social Development (CSD) examine the uptake and potential uses of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) dollars by Native people. Surveys conducted at fourteen Native community organizations currently providing free tax preparation services found that most planned to use their refunds for personal expenses. However, many community members expressed strong interest in learning about matched savings accounts, homeownership, and financial management education, particularly credit counseling. These findings provide insight into the kinds of community infrastructure and programs that help dollars stay in a community and help citizens leverage their financial resources.