Tawney Brunsch is the Executive Director of Lakota Funds, the first-ever Native community development financial institution (CDFI) on a reservation. With a well-versed career in the financial industry, Tawney is committed to revitalizing the Pine Ridge Reservation’s economy by providing access to sound lending products paired with the assistance necessary for private sector development. Since becoming Executive Director of Lakota Funds in 2010, Tawney has led this financial institution through several more history-making accomplishments, including:
- the charter of the Lakota Federal Credit Union, the first federally insured financial institution on the Pine Ridge Reservation since 1935;
- the launch of a child development account program, a unique matched savings program for Kindergarteners and 1st graders designed to build the family core, the first of its kind on any reservation in the nation;
- the conversion that is currently underway of Eagle Nest Housing, a low-income tax credit housing development, into privately-owned homes.
Tawney is a strong voice and advocate in Indian Country. She was the recipient of the 2018 Visionary Leader Award, recognizing her long‐ term contribution to the Native CDFI industry and local financing and asset building efforts that make her an inspiration for others. She was a founding board member for the Native CDFI Network, a national group that works to strengthen Native CDFIs, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial, a Native CDFI dedicated to creating opportunities for homeownership on the Pine Ridge Reservation. She is the Chair of the Credit Committee for the Council for Native American Farmers and Ranchers and serves on the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Advisory Council. Tawney is also actively involved with the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition, a group that is dedicated to increasing homeownership opportunities for Native families to build strong and healthy communities. In addition to Lakota Funds serving as the Coalition’s fiscal agent, Tawney chairs the Physical Issues Committee and serves on the Executive Committee and Veterans Committee.
Tawney received her Bachelor’s Degree in Commercial Economics from South Dakota State University and is certified as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Preparer. She dedicates her spare time to her passions that include her grandbabies, children, and her beloved Green Bay Packers.