Building on the Success of Its Inaugural Financial Literacy Program for Native American High School Students, REDW Rolls Out 2018 Curriculum at Santa Fe Indian School

REDW LLC, one of the largest CPA and business consulting firms in the Southwest, also known as the premier firm serving tribes and tribal enterprises, is proud to announce it has rolled out the second series of its successful financial literacy program for Native American high school students.

The inaugural program, which took place in late 2016 in partnership with Junior Achievement of New Mexico (JA NM), resulted in more than 100 high school seniors acquiring fundamental skills and knowledge in the area of personal finance. At the culmination of the program, the students rated it as the “most impactful curriculum offered of the College Career Readiness classes.” The survey further confirmed, “What made the program most rewarding were the hands-on activities and the opportunity to visualize the direct correlation between personal finances and planning for future purchases, such as a car.”

Launched on February 22, the 2018 program offers training to grades 9-12, an expansion from the original offering to only high school seniors. Three classes of approximately 65 students, led entirely by volunteers, will receive the curriculum developed by JA NM.

The original impetus for REDW’s financial literacy program was the firm’s strategic partnership formed in 2016 with Notah Begay III, PGA TOUR professional golfer and founder of the Notah Begay III Foundation, NB3 Consulting, and other business ventures. This partnership reflected our shared goal of increasing financial literacy in Indian Country in order to nurture future tribal business opportunities, financial success, and self-sufficiency.

Notah Begay III with students from the Financial Literacy Program

“I’m very excited to see how my partnership with REDW continues to grow stronger and remain true to our shared vision,” said Notah Begay III. “Together, we strive to take a holistic view of top priority needs in Indian Country, and then we look for innovative ways to develop and deliver quality programs to address them. Each of us plays an important role, and I’m thrilled I can use my passion and influence to ensure Native American youth continue to grow as students and, ultimately, as professionals,” added Begay.

“We’re excited to once again leverage our partnership with Notah and JA NM to benefit Native American students,” said James Montoya, REDW Principal and Chair of the Financial Literacy Program. “When we began this journey, we knew that achieving positive change would require a long-game strategy. It’s extremely gratifying to see that our commitment to giving back to Indian Country is providing the motivation and focus required to keep this program vibrant into the future,” Montoya added.

“There is a misconception that financial independence is only for some,” said Melissa Nuñez, CFP®, CRPC©, AIF® at REDW Stanley and instructor of one of the classes. “We want these students to realize they are already making financial decisions that will impact their futures. With the right skills and education, they can improve their chances for financial success. Some of them may one day serve on tribal councils, where they will be responsible for the economic health of their communities.”

The program’s Personal Finance module focuses on the key areas of earning money; spending money wisely through budgeting; saving and investing money; using credit cautiously; and protecting one’s personal finances.

Immediate student outcomes include:

  • Students will learn about what it takes to be successful beyond the classroom.
  • Students will understand the importance of education to their future success.
  • 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.

The program’s long-range impact is expected to improve Native American secondary and post-secondary graduation rates, encourage Native American students to pursue business and professional careers, and increase the number of Native American students pursuing accounting, finance or business degrees at major universities in the Southwest region.