Chrystel Cornelius is the President & CEO of the Oweesta Corporation, a national Native CDFI intermediary predominantly serving Native communities across the United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Ms. Cornelius has worked with Native communities for most of her professional career, with more than 23 years of experience working in the Native economic development field. She is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians located in North Dakota. Ms. Cornelius has dedicated her career to capitalizing Native communities upholding tribal sovereignty and self-determination measures through the issuance of capital and organizational capacity building efforts. Chrystel Cornelius is a founding steering committee member and previously held the position as the Board Secretary for the Native CDFI Network (NCN). Ms. Cornelius is also a former board member of Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), is a current board member of the Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF) and holds the position of Chairwoman for the Red Feather Development Group. She is a BALLE Fellow and Skoll Fellow. Ms. Chrystel Cornelius attained a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Rural America is far more diverse than how it is portrayed in media and popular culture. This article is the second in the Nonprofit Quarterly series Eradicating Rural Poverty: The Power of Cooperation. Coproduced by Partners for Rural Transformation,...