Denise Red Owl

Denise Red Owl enrolled her son and grandson in Lakota Funds' Child Development Account Program. Presley and Shaun, even at ages 6 and 7, are in a position to learn more, save more, and earn more than their parents and grandparents. Read more.

Child Development Account

Lakota Funds is dedicated to enriching the lives of Pine Ridge Reservation youth through programs that educate and encourage habits of asset building. That is why we launched a unique matched savings program for grade school children, the Child Development Account Program. The program is designed with age-appropriate lessons and also focuses on building the family core.

Once a child has enrolled in the program and opened their savings account, Lakota Funds seeds each Child Development Account with a $50 deposit and matches the participating families’ deposits by a 3:1 ratio. If the child deposits the maximum amount of $100 each year, Lakota Funds will contribute $300. The account has the potential to grow to $3,200 if the child participates the full length of the program.

In addition, participating children and families take part in training and education to provide a solid foundation that helps children understand the benefits of savings and how to be responsible for their account.

Child Development Account Activities

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Eligibility Guidelines

Household Size
Maximum Gross Household Income

Program Requirements

Steps to Enroll Your Child

  1. Complete the program application and submit with the required documents.
  2. Complete the program orientation with a Lakota Funds staff member.
  3. Open your child's savings account at a participating bank with your initial deposit.

Child Development Account Program Progress Report

October 2011 - February 2013
In its first year of implementation, the Lakota Funds' Child Development Account (CDA) Program saw excellent results. The program officially launched with funding from the Northwest Area Foundation in October 2011 and by November 2011, Lakota Funds had enrolled 2 children into the CDA Program. Enrollment numbers gradually increased until reaching its maximum program capacity of 25 participants in September 2012. Since that time, Lakota Funds has been able to maintain maximum capacity.

Download the complete progress report.

The average cumulative savings contributed by participants also steadily increased over time, starting at $80.00 in November 2011 and growing to $136.00 in February 2013. To date, participants of the Child Development Account Program have saved a cumulative total of $3,330.00, and Lakota Funds has matched those deposits with $9,990.00. This provides a total investment of $13,320.00 into the education of 25 children on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Currently, the average savings account balance for program participants is $532.80. Of the participants, 44% (11) have contributed their maximum annual savings amount.

As children enrolled, Lakota Funds worked with the schools that participants attended to put a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in place, enabling teachers to deliver the financial literacy lessons from the CDA curriculum in their classrooms. Currently, the 25 CDA participants attend a total of eight schools, including Batesland School, Lakota Waldorf, Little Wound School, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pahin Sinte Owayawa, Red Cloud School, Rockyford School, and Wolf Creek School.

Lakota Funds had facilitated a total of six family financial trainings that host a variety of activities designed to engage the whole family in a pattern of asset building. Most of the activities are based around handling money and how to apply using money in different situations.

Lakota Funds is looking forward to watching how the participating families learn and grow from the Child Development Account Program.

Child Development Account Program Best Practices

After two years of implementing its Child Development Account Program, Lakota Funds developed a best practices guide. This document provides an in depth look at outcomes and lessons learned from the first matched savings program for grade school children implemented on an Indian reservation in the United States. Download the best practices guide.