Feb 15, 2021
Ted Piccolo refers to himself as an accidental advocate. It all started when he helped a fellow member of the Colville Indian Reservation craft a business plan for a promising new venture. The plan was sound, but her application for a bank loan was rejected. The bank required her to have $2,500 in equity to make the loan. Like many others on the reservation in rural northwest Washington state, she did not have the assets needed (credit, savings or a home) to meet that threshold. It was a crushing setback and it motivated Ted to find a solution for those whom banks do not serve. He found his answer in the Community Development Financial Institution Fund, a resource within the US Department of Treasury, that deploys funds to underinvested communities. Ted took the many steps needed to become a certified CDFI and now operates the Northwest Native Development Fund, which has made $8 million in loans to tribes throughout Washington, Idaho and Montana. As Ted explains, Native people have a long tradition of sustaining their land and prospering through trade. Ted is a voice for the right of all communities to thrive.