Help us test our pilot Wabanaki Marketplace site!

marketplace_final-01FDDC is working to support Wabanaki artisans through a new online nonprofit sales platform–The Wabanaki Marketplace! Visit www.wabanakimarketplace.com to see the site and purchase authentic Wabanaki art!

Feedback from partners and supporters is essential to making this project a success. Sign up for our Marketplace Newsletter to stay in touch and help us improve the site. Our test phase continues until May 26th and our full launch is scheduled for this summer!

FDDC Seeks Office Manager

Our Orono-based non-profit Native American community development financial institution is seeking an Office Manager to provide administrative and bookkeeping support. Join a dedicated and innovative team of individuals working together to provide financing opportunities that support local families and community initiatives. Click here for the job advertisement and the job description, as well as instructions for how to submit your application. Applications will be accepted until April 18, 2017.

Tax Filing Resources

With tax season right around the corner, it’s important to find local resources that may be able to assist you in filing your taxes. Four Directions is currently finalizing tax clinic dates in each of the Wabanaki communities. We will also take appointments at our office in Orono throughout tax season. Four Directions can provide free e-tax filing assistance to households earning $64,000 or less through the utilization of www.myfreetaxes.com. 

The following tax clinics have been scheduled thus far:

Micmac Tax Clinics Saturday and Sunday, February 4th and 5th | ABM Tribal Admin Building | 9am-4pm
Penobscot Tax Clinics

Saturday, February 11th | Nick Sapiel Building | 9am-4pm

Wednesday, February 15th | Nick Sapiel Building | 11am-7pm

Maliseet Tax Clinics Friday, February 17th | Maliseet Housing Authority | 9am-4pm
Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point Tax Clinics

Saturday, February 18th | 136 Old County Road “Old Transitional Housing Building” | 9am-4pm

Wednesday, February 22nd | 136 Old County Road “Old Transitional Housing Building” | 11am-7pm

Passamaquoddy Indian Township Tax Clinics Friday, February 24th | Township Recreation Center | 9am-4pm
Four Directions Orono Office Tax Clinics Throughout tax season, by appointment.

 

 

Additionally, please note the following information from the IRS regarding delays in tax refunds this year: 

“Some Refunds Delayed in 2017

Beginning in 2017, a new law approved by Congress requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the EITC or the ACTC until mid-February. The IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC — until at least Feb. 15. This change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the agency more time to help detect and prevent fraud.

”This is an important change as some of these taxpayers are used to getting an early refund,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We want people to be aware of the change for their planning purposes during the holidays. We don’t want anyone caught by surprise if they get their refund a few weeks later than in previous years.””

SOURCE: IRS.GOV

Applications Open for Maine Wabanaki Master Artists & Apprentices!

FDDC is now accepting applications for the Wabanaki Marketplace Youth & Culture Program. See below for details and click here to access the application!

To: Maine Wabanaki Master Artists and Apprentices

From: Four Directions Development Corporation

Date: October 25, 2016

Subject: Wabanaki Marketplace: Youth & Culture Program

Four Directions is accepting applications to the Wabanaki Marketplace: Youth & Culture Program, an art initiative designed to connect youth with cultural knowledge held by their elders using an apprenticeship structure. Apprentice-master pairs will apply to the program through a joint application. Completed applications submitted by December 14, 2016 will be reviewed by a committee made up of Four Directions staff and consultants. When selecting candidates to the program, the committee will consider the strength of applications, diversity of tribal communities represented in the applicant pool, and diversity of art forms represented in the applicant pool. Five master-apprentice pairs will be accepted into the program and notified the following week.

About the Program

The Wabanaki Marketplace: Youth & Culture Program was designed to provide opportunity for the transmission of cultural knowledge between youth and elders while also empowering youth through the development of entrepreneurial and documentary skillsets. Youth will work with a master artist for a six month period, documenting their experiences through photography, videography, and audio recordings. Students will document their work using an iPad and additional recording equipment and produce a final 5-minute video at the end of the project period to promote their work as artists on the Wabanaki Marketplace. Students will be given the iPad to keep at the end of the project.

Students and masters will develop a 6-month work plan in their application outlining what they reasonably expect to achieve during the project. This work plan will help both masters and students to make progress while allowing students to reflect on their progress in their documentaries.

In addition to their documentaries and their work with master artists, apprentices are also required to attend three professional development trainings in January, March, and June. The trainings will be focused on documentary best practices, financial management, marketing, and creating professional displays for artwork.

Masters will receive a $600 stipend for working with apprentices and must also submit a budget covering the cost of materials for working with youth during the project period. In addition to being given iPads and associated recording equipment, youth apprentices will receive a $250 stipend and an Apple Store gift card to purchase apps used during this project for their professional use moving forward. The Wabanaki Marketplace will also purchase at least one item per master and apprentice to be featured in a master-artist product line on the Marketplace website.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Wabanaki Marketplace: Youth & Culture Program, applicants must be Maine residents and enrolled in one of the four Wabanaki tribes in the state. Youth must be between the ages of 13 and 18 at the start of the program.

Application Materials

  1. Completed Application
    1. Artist info
    2. Master questions
    3. Apprentice Questions
    4. 6-month work plan
    5. Budget
    6. Supplemental Materials (optional)
  2. Proof of Maine residency (driver’s license, state ID) ­– masters only
  3. Proof of Tribal Enrollment (tribal ID, enrollment letter sent from tribal census department)

Barriers to Submitting the Application

Anyone experiencing barriers to submitting the application, such as lack of access to a printer or computer, should contact the Wabanaki Marketplace Coordinator at the number or email address below. Four Directions will work to make appropriate accommodations to ensure that those eligible may apply to the program.

Questions?

If you have questions about the program or the application feel free to contact the Wabanaki Marketplace Coordinator, Frances Soctomah, at (207) 866-6545 or fsoctomah@fourdirectionsmaine.org.

 

FDDC Continues Success with $800,000 CDFI Award

Four Directions Development Corporation, a nonprofit Native American Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), is pleased to announce receipt of an $800,000 award from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund. A total of 196 CDFIs throughout the United States received awards on September 27, 2016, for a total of $185.7 million in grants and loans. These funds enable organizations to provide increased access to lending and investment activity in low-income and distressed communities across the country.

Four Directions (FDDC) is part of a special group of Native CDFIs who work to bring affordable loan capital and free financial education programming to meet the unique needs of tribes and tribal members. Just one of three Native CDFIs east of the Mississippi River, Four Directions has been a leader in the Native CDFI industry since its founding in 2001.

Prior to Four Directions’ founding, one of the most critical needs in all five Wabanaki tribal communities was securing affordable access to financial capital. While there are many financial institutions throughout Maine, due to tight regulatory requirements, most of these institutions cannot provide substantial loans on reservations and trust lands. On-reservation land and buildings can only be owned by a tribal member or by the tribe itself, and thus, cannot be used as collateral for loans with non-Native lenders.

Faced with extremely limited financing options, many tribal members in Maine resorted to credit cards, payday loans, other subprime lenders, and precious savings to pay for large and/or unexpected expenses. Housing real estate market transactions on tribal land were limited. As a nonprofit CDFI, Four Directions developed trust agreements with the tribes allowing FDDC to create borrowing options that did not exist 15 years ago. FDDC can now make collateralized mortgages, equity loans, business loans, and home improvement loans on reservation.

FDDC has been a leader in Native lending and financial literacy and has been recognized locally, statewide, and nationally as an outstanding Native CDFI. The nonprofit has assisted 800 individuals with tax filing assistance, credit coaching, financial literacy training, homeownership education, and business counseling. FDDC has closed over $11.5 million in mortgages, home improvement, energy efficiency, and consumer loans to over 220 families. What began out of one tribe as a small revolving community loan fund for small business and housing loans has developed into a well-respected CDFI providing a variety of loans and financial education services to all tribal members and tribal communities in Maine.

And yet, as a non-depository lending institution, Four Directions must work diligently to raise sufficient funds to cover operating expenses as well as its revolving loan fund. This award from the U.S. Treasury will be a great help in this regard. 80% of the award will supplement FDDC’s loan fund and 20% will assist with the provisions of free financial education services. Four Directions is honored to receive such support from the CDFI Fund and is looking forward to using it to continue to invest in the success of tribal members across Maine.

Indianpreneurship: Orono Train-the-Trainer Event in September

Please join our two day intensive training from September 26-27th and get a solid foundation to begin to teach Indianpreneurship’s small business planning course to your community. The training will certify participants to coach Native entrepreneurs using the ONABEN suite of Indianpreneurship products.

Four Directions Development Corporation is hosting this training is hosted in partnership with ONABEN, A Native American Business Network. The training is located in Orono, Maine and funded in part by the US Department of Agriculture.

Visit ONABEN’s website to register!

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Job Opening: Wabanaki Marketplace Coordinator

Four Directions currently has an opening for a pilot Wabanaki Marketplace Coordinator to perform duties and conduct programming to support Native artisans in Maine. Please check out the Job Advertisement and Job Description for more information. Applications must be received by August 12th for consideration.

Upcoming Financial Training with Micmac Staff

Four Directions Development Corporation is teaming up with staff members of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs on July 12th to learn more about budgeting and credit building! As a group we will learn our own individual patterns and habits when it comes to finances, plan S2MARTER goals, learn tools to stabilize budgets and credit scores, as well as how to leverage the resources around us through this knowledge. With this “Train the Trainer” model, staff members who attend will be better able to help guide community members with questions around budgets and credit. For more in depth information, or if you have any questions about how housing counseling/financial education programming might fit with you, please reach out to FDDC at 207-866-6545!