Jason Schoch, part owner of Old West Gypsy Market, used a loan from Lakota Funds to start his business and provide visitors with a unique cultural experience to his coffee shop, gift gallery, and farmers market. Read more.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a CDFI?
A: A CDFI, or community development financial institution, is a specialized financial institution that provides a unique range of financial products and services in economically distressed markets that are underserved by traditional financial istitutions. CDFIs include regulated institutions such as community development banks and credit unions, and non-regulated institutions such as loan and venture capital funds.

Q: What community does The Lakota Funds serve?
A: Lakota Funds serves the nine community districts located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota and within 25 miles of the exterior boundaries of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Q: Can someone donate or invest into the Lakota Funds?
A: Yes. Lakota Funds exists because many institutions and individuals have either donated money as a tax deductible contribution or invested their money to get a return on their investment with a tremendous social impact. Click here to learn more about donating through our 1,000 Arrows Campaign.

Q: If I am not a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe can I qualify for a loan?
A: Yes. Lakota Funds' Loan Policies state borrowers must be an enrolled member or enrollment pending of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, be the spouse/partner of an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, or be an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe. The loan applicant must also reside and base his/her business on the Pine Ridge Reservation or within 25 miles of the exterior boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation as recognized by the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Q: I have bad credit, does that automatically disqualify me for a loan?
A: No! Many of our clients have poor credit or no credit history. If this is the case for you, our staff will work with you in rebuilding your credit record, or we may ask that you get a cosigner.

Q: Do I need collateral to get a loan?
A: Yes, collateral will probably be required. The amount and term of the loan will determine the type and value of collateral necessary. Business loans are not grants, therefore if for some reason you cannot repay the loan, Lakota Funds will need to be repaid by the sale of the collateral. We can use a vehicle, business equipment, livestock, real estate, and other items of value that you own and can provide clear title. If you are planning to use your loan to buy additional equipment or vehicles, we can use the new purchase as collateral, as well. All collateral must be accessible from the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Q: What happens when people don't pay back loans to the Lakota Funds?
A: If a loan is not paid back, Lakota Funds will need to be repaid through the sale of collateral. Failing to repay a loan affects the borrower's ability to get loans in the future as well as their overall credit score. Not paying back a loan to Lakota Funds also affects other people in the community who want to get a loan through the Lakota Funds because funds from the lending pool aren't paid back.

Q: How do I start the application process?
A: You can download the application and submit it either via email or in person. If you need assistance filling out the application, please call us at 605-455-2500. If you are not ready to apply and need some help developing your business plans first, please contact one of our Success Coaches.