Published On: Wed, Oct 12th, 2011

Financial Empowerment Plan seeks community input




     Fair week was a busy time for Qualla Financial Freedom, the EBCI’s award winning financial education program.  Staff worked a booth to communicate with the community about a Five Year Financial Empowerment Plan designed to identify how best to provide financial education opportunities to EBCI members.  The plan is a joint effort between QFF, NC Cooperative Extension, and First Nations Development Institute with funding provided by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation; and the goal is to make sure that all tribal members – youth, adults, and senior citizens – have the information they need to make informed choices to protect their own financial well-being and promote personal self-sufficiency.

Keith Sneed with Financial Empowerment Plan gift card winners Waylon Sequoyah, Sadie Standingdeer, and Makenzie Sequoyah. (Photo courtesey of Keith Sneed/QFF)

     “We had a great week of outreach at the fair” stated Keith Sneed, EBCI Financial Skills Educator and QFF program manager.  “Staff collected more than 200 surveys and conducted close to 50 interviews with community members from across the Qualla Boundary.  These comments and suggestions tell us where we need to focus our efforts”

     To encourage participation, survey respondents were entered into a nightly gift card drawing.  Sandra Smith, of the Yellowhill Community, won a $50 Food Lion gift card for taking 5 minutes to offer her suggestions for improving financial education.

     “I think we need to concentrate on the youth first and make sure they have the skills to manage their money before they become adults.  That will make the most impact in my opinion” Smith said.


Principal Chief Michell Hicks (left) shakes hands with Sneed during the Fair.

    Other EBCI Financial Empowerment Plan respondents and gift card winners included: Waylon Sequoyah, Michelle Carson, Sandra Smith, Mick Rattler, and Stephanie Lewis.

     Interested in contributing your ideas to the EBCI Financial Empowerment Plan?  Contact: Shawn Spruce, Programs Consultant, First Nations Development Institute, 554-6200 or