About Bii Gii Wiin CDLF

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We are The Emerging Native CDFI of the Twin Cities

Our mission is to provide training and access to capital in order to to promote home ownership, entrepreneurship, and financial capabilities among American Indian men and women throughout the state of Minnesota. We do this through the provision of development services and financial products.

We were founded in 2012, as a spin off from the American Indian Community Development Corporation. We were created in response to community conversations that identified homeownership education, credit improvement resources, and entrepreneurial training as key tools that had been missing from the Native community development ecosystem in the Twin Cities.

Over the years we have served hundreds of tribal members and descendants from dozens of tribes. Among our many tremendous partners, we work closely with organizations including Oweesta, Northwest Area Foundation, Otto Bremer Trust, Neighborhood Development Center, Nexus Community Partners, Minnesota Housing and Finance Agency, Minnesota Home Ownership Center, and the CDFI Fund.

 

About OUR APPROACH

THERE ARE TWO Primary WAYS TO BUILD INTERGENERATIONAL WEALTH:

1. OWN A BUSINESS
2. OWN A HOME

IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THESE GOALS, WE HAVE TO:

3. BUILD WISE FINANCIAL HABITS
4. MAKE OUR CREDIT WORK FOR US

BII GII WIIN'S JOB IS TO MAKE SURE THAT AMERICAN INDIAN MEN AND WOMEN HAVE ACCESS TO THE MONEY AND INFORMATION NEEDED TO BUILD AN INDIGENOUS ECONOMY THAT ENSURES A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR OUR COMMUNITY.

 

Meet Our Team

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Amber Franklin (LEECH LAKE Band of Ojibwe)

Program Coordinator

Amber is core to our First Time Hombuyer and Financial Wellness programs. As one of our primary counselors and trainers, she is a go-to resource as you pursue the next steps on your journey toward financial wellness and/or homeownership. Amber returned to BGW in 2019, after spending time deepening her expertise in homeownership counseling with Habitat for Humanity in Houston, TX. In a previous stint with BGW Amber served as our VITA Site Coordinator.

 
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Andrea Reese (LEECH LAKE Band of Ojibwe)

Director of Programs & Lending

Andrea began her journey with Bii Gii Wiin CDLF in 2012 when she was a single mother utilizing the work experience (WEX) program through the Mille Lacs Band Department of Labor. Andrea has consistently demonstrated an incredible work ethic and her vested interest in serving the community. Andrea spent her childhood years growing up in Onigum, MN on Leech Lake. She credits her sense of community and values to youth program opportunities, community elders, aunts and uncles, and her mother.  

When she’s not in the office she is shuffling her three children to and from various sports, youth programs, and community events.


 
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Kit Fordham

Executive Director

Kit oversees BGW CDLF’s operations while working closely with the BGW CDLF Board, Staff, and Clients to guide the organization as it deepens its impact and broaden’s it’s ability to generate intergenerational wealth in the American Indian community. In his spare time Kit can be found with his wife, a member of the Mille Lacs Band, out in their kayaks with their pup, Liza Jane.

The BGw Board of Directors

Cole St. Arnold

Board Chair

Community Development Manager at Minnesota Housing Partnership

Morgan Thompson

Treasurer

Executive Assistant at the Minneapolis American Indian Center

Frank Downwind

Secretary

Project Manager at American Indian Community Development Corporation

Mike Goze

Board Member

CEO at American Indian Community Development Corporation

Nikki Pieratos

Board Member

Project Director at the Center for Indian Country Development at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank