Summer Update, July 2015

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Hello, friends! It has been a while. But, that does not mean that ONABEN has not been busy! Our team has embarked upon some major grant writing. I wish I could say that the process is complete. But, anyone involved in the world of non-profits understands that in many ways fundraising is an on-going activity. And, that’s okay! Raising dollars allows our team the opportunity to stay connected to peoples and places that have come to mean so much to us!

There is much ahead of ONABEN in the coming weeks! The Cherokee Artist Marketplace will take place in Asheville, North Carolina, on July 11, at the Asheville Art Museum. We are very excited to be a part of what has become an annual event! If you aren’t familiar with ONABEN’s work with the Eastern Band Cherokee community and Sequoyah Fund, a Native CDFI, check out the Authentically Cherokee Facebook page!

In August, ONABEN will provide an entrepreneur camp to a group of Native American students in Smith River, California. The camp will provide an overview of business planning, marketing and financial management. I will share more information as the camp gets closer. ONABEN loves working with youth. It is always a rewarding experience.

You might recall that in March, ONABEN provided a similar service to the Mvskoke Loan Fund in Oklahoma. It was an awesome good time! The camps in Oklahoma were unique in that all participating students are aspiring artists! Our participants experienced some very cool successes. For instance, Shelby Webster, of Checotah High School, sold the rights to one of her artworks to a small business owner who intends to use the image as his business logo!

Oh, remember Trading at the River? Well, we had so much fun in Tulsa that we are planning a Trading at the River Marketplace on Friday, September 25, in Portland! The Marketplace will be an excellent outlet for Native business owners to expand their networks and grow their customer base. I am especially pleased to include that the artwork associated with the Marketplace was created by Maddie Lamb, a sophomore at Sequoyah Schools, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Maddie was one of the students who participated in the art camps that ONABEN presented on behalf of the Mvskoke Loan Fund! Way to go Maddie!



Geez, all this talk about the art camps and the artists has me reminiscing. Too bad our friends couldn’t catch a glimpse of all of the fun that we had…Oh, wait a minute…you can! Take a look at a video that our team created!

Link to the video

Michael Bridges

Michael Bridges

Michael is a proud U.S. Army Veteran and a member of the Cherokee Nation. With 10 years of service as an Infantryman, Michael implements the core values of integrity, honor, and selfless service into his leadership of the company. With over 20 years of experience, Michael began working with building websites and graphic design in 1998. A family-oriented man, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife Kristina and their three children. He is a proud and active member of Jenks Lodge #497 A.F. & A.M. and an advisor for the Order of DeMolay.