REDW LLC, one of the Southwestâ€™s 10 largest certified public accounting and business consulting firms â€“and also one of the premier CPA firms serving tribes and tribal enterprisesâ€“ is pleased to announce the launch of its first financial literacy program for Native American high school students.
This program is the direct result of REDWâ€™s recently formedÂ strategic partnershipÂ with Notah Begay III (NB3), which has a special focus on promoting and improving financial literacy and business education for Native American youth. REDW and Begay, in close collaboration withÂ Junior Achievement of New MexicoÂ (JA NM), are putting into place a robust high school curriculum designed to empower young Native Americans to make sound financial and, ultimately, career choices.
The REDW, NB3 and JA NM flagship program will be initiated at theÂ Santa Fe Indian SchoolÂ (SFIS), with the intention of replicating the program at other Native American educational institutions. The Santa Fe Indian School was established in the late 1800s to educate the children of the southwest Native American tribes.
â€œUltimately, this is what my partnership with REDW is all about,â€ said Notah Begay III. â€œTogether, we strive to take a holistic view of top priority needs in Indian Country, then we look for innovative ways to develop and deliver quality programs to address them. Each of us plays an important role, and Iâ€™m thrilled I can use my passion and influence to ensure Native American youth continue to grow as students and, ultimately, as professionals,â€ added Begay.
â€œAs a Firm with a 30-year old tradition of serving tribes and tribal enterprises, it is especially gratifying to be able to play such as big role in giving back to Indian Country,â€ said James Montoya, CPA, REDW Principal and Co-Chair of the Financial Literacy Program. â€œThe partnership with Notah is already producing the results we anticipated from the beginning, but itâ€™s also special to be able to team up with reputable organizations like Junior Achievement and Santa Fe Indian School that share the same passion for education,â€ Montoya added.
â€œWeâ€™re passionate about the accounting and finance profession and want to share that passion in Native American classrooms in hopes we can spark an interest in a field we know offers unlimited personal and professional growth opportunities,â€ said Lisa Wilcox, REDW Principal and Program Co-Chair. â€œREDW has a long history in recruiting Native American business and accounting graduates to join our ranks. Ultimately, through programs such as this one, our goal is to help increase the pool of Native American students pursuing accounting, finance or business degrees at major universities.â€
Jennifer Riordan, Board Chair of Junior Achievement of NM, said: â€œWe couldnâ€™t have asked for a better situation and partnership. Itâ€™s very exciting to see how much can be accomplished when nonprofit, for-profit and educational organizations, along with influentialÂ individuals, all come together to impact education and financial literacy. This partnership perfectly aligns with Junior Achievementâ€™s recent launch of a Native American Initiative. We very much look forward to seeing this program through and the proud faces of our new Native American high school graduates,â€ Riordan added.
Below is a timeline of key events and dates of the 2016 program:
- Oct 11 â€“ Program Kickoff meeting at Santa Fe Indian School (SFIS) – 1501 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM
- Oct 18 â€“ first 90-minute class taught by REDW Team Members and other volunteers at SFIS
- Oct 25 â€“ second 90-minute class taught by REDW Team Members and other volunteers at SFIS
- Nov 08 â€“ third 90-minute class taught by REDW Team Members and other volunteers at SFIS
- Nov 15 â€“ fourth and last 90-minute class taught by REDW Team Members and other volunteers at SFIS
- Nov 29 – Graduation celebration at SFIS
The Personal Finance program focuses on the following key areas: earning money; spending money wisely through budgeting; saving and investing money; using credit cautiously; and protecting oneâ€™s personal finances.
Immediate Student Outcomes
- Students will learn about what it takes to be successful beyond the classroom from Native American role models.
- Students will learn about seven critical content areas: financial literacy, workforce readiness, business, economics, ethics, entrepreneurship and 21st century soft skills.
- Students will understand the importance of education to their future success. â€¢ Students will build skills in teamwork, decision-making and interpersonal effectiveness.
- Students will become aware of post-secondary education and career opportunities.
- Students will learn how to connect what they learn from the program to their families and communities.
- Increased Native American graduation rates at secondary and post-secondary education levels.
- Increased tendency of Native American students toward business and professional careers.
- Increased and recognized participation by Native American businesses, supporting tribal interests and healthy community development.