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Winnebago Tribe's development corp earns top rating, $2 million grant

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Monday, April 1, 2024   

The Nebraska Winnebago Tribe's Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation, or HCCDC, has been awarded $2 million through MacKenzie Scott's Yield Giving company.

Some 6,300 nonprofits applied to Yield Giving's open call for grants. The HCCDC was among 279 to receive a top tier rating. In the next-highest tier, 82 organizations each received $1 million.

Kristine Earth, executive director of the corporation, said the Tribe has a lot to be proud of but a lot of work left to do.

"We're so excited and are so thankful for this generous gift for our community," Earth stated. "We do have a lot of issues; we have a lot of health disparities. And so, a donation like this really is going to make an impact for our entire Tribe as a whole."

HCCDC marks its 20th anniversary this year, working to improve economic, educational and social opportunities for tribal members. Earth pointed out they have five key initiatives: housing development, commercial development, financial services, quality of life and food sovereignty.

The Winnebago Tribe has experienced huge growth in its middle class in the past few decades but roughly 30% of its members still live in poverty. HCCDC created a farmer's market, which Earth says is helping them address both health disparities and food sovereignty.

"Through our farmers market, now we're able to touch on not only agriculture and tribal farming, but also our health care system," Earth outlined. "Offering the fresh fruits and vegetables and the Indian corn; things that will restore the health of our people."

Earth added Winnebago is in a "food desert," making food security a major focus for the Tribe.

"It's hard for people to access fresh fruits and vegetables, and we have such a growing community," Earth stressed. "We are all coming together to grow our own food and to feed ourselves, so we can be sustainable in the future."

On the website, MacKenzie Scott called all the open call grant winners "vital agents of change." Scott's Yield Giving organization has donated more than $17 billion to 2,300 nonprofit organizations since 2019.

Disclosure: Ho-Chunk, Inc. contributes to our fund for reporting. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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