Native Loan Fund Receives $400,000 Investment


May 18, 2011

Honolulu, Hawaii – The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), a nonprofit providing community development services, has received a commitment for a $400,000 investment by the First Nations Oweesta Corporation headquartered in Longmont, Colorado.  The capital investment is dedicated to CNHA’s community loan fund to expand its renewable energy loan program where solar water heating systems have been installed on over 150 Native Hawaiian homes in the state of Hawaii.

“We are so grateful for this show of confidence by Oweesta in the innovative capital strategies being deployed here in Hawaii,” said Robin Puanani Danner, CNHA President.  “This investment provides a powerful boost to the momentum of our Hawaiian Energy Program, to convert entire neighborhoods to solar, one house at a time.  Truly an incredible partnership that brings new capital to our state for our mutual mission of serving indigenous populations, but also one that stimulates the economy through all of the jobs that are created every time a solar system goes up on a roof.”

Over 6 years ago, Oweesta was instrumental in providing training and technical assistance to CNHA in analyzing the feasibility of operating a community based loan fund to reach underserved families across the state.  As a result, CNHA developed a business plan, executed the complex components of operating a loan fund, and began lending in 2009.   In 2010, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a certification of CNHA as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) under its CDFI Fund program, and awarded the nonprofit with a small operating grant of $150,000.  Since then, CNHA has deployed $1.1 million in loan capital under its portfolio of small business, consumer and interim construction loan products.

“Oweesta is very excited about the growth and capacity of CNHA to deliver capital to the Native people of Hawaii,” said Jon Panamaroff, Oweesta Corporation.  “It’s truly great to see a Native CDFI in Hawaii working hand in hand with communities.  We’re proud to make an investment not only in CNHA, but in its work in the state of Hawaii.”

The CNHA governing board, under the leadership of Alvin Parker, the CNHA Chairman, will act on the strategic plan developed for the $400,000 investment on how each dollar will be deployed, as well as timeline targets for the nonprofit loan fund to meet.  “Access to capital will always be a critical factor in our Hawaiian communities,” Parker said.  “This investment grows our ability to make sure that Hawaiian households are fully able to participate in the renewable energy transformation needed in Hawaii, and to reduce monthly energy costs that will indeed assist families in these economic times.”

First Nations Oweesta Corporation is a subsidiary of the First Nations Development Institute, founded to increase access to capital by American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities.  As the only national intermediary Native CDFI certified by the U.S. Treasury, Oweesta makes capital investments in certified or emerging Native CDFI’s around the country.  For more information visit or contact Jon Panamaroff, Chief Operating Officer, at 303.774.8838 or

CNHA, founded in 2001, is a Hawaii nonprofit delivering loan fund services, affordable housing and small business assistance, and administers the Hawaiian Way Fund to support cultural practitioners and next generation leaders.  For more information visit or contact 808.596.8155.


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