353 Old Hays Rd. Hays, MT 59527
If you are interested in a dynamic career that actively promotes an improved economic outlook and sustainable communities for Native Americans, we would like to talk with you.
Montana Native Growth Fund
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Education and Client Services
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Darla Snell serves as the Programs Coordinator/Loan/Underwriter Officer for Montana Native Growth Fund, where she plays a key role in sharing Montana Native Growth Fund’s mission and values and will help drive a client-centric environment, oversees efforts designed to nurture, expand, and create new relationships with a goal of improving economic outlook for Native people. She is an enrolled member of the Nakoda Tribe of the Fort Belknap Indian Community, where she currently resides with her husband and 4 children, two of which are currently attending college.
Darla holds an Associate’s degree in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Business Management. She has taken several courses while at MNGF and received certificates for her training completion in the Loan/Mortgage fields and is still pursuing further education.
Darla has served as a great asset to wherever she goes. She worked at the Hays/Lodge Pole High School as an Attendance Monitor, Secretary and Student Records manager for 3 years. Darla then went to Fort Belknap Housing Authority where she worked in various departments including, Occupancy, Resident Services and Maintenance. There she took work orders, handled rent applications and tenant records. She loves spending time with her family and friends making memories.
MNGF Executive Director
(406) 673-6050 or (406) 673-6051
Kerry Shàbi serves as the Business Development Supervisor for Island Mountain Community Development Financial Institution, DBA, Montana Native Growth Fund. She oversees the day-to-day operations and management of staff and provides long-range strategy and development for the growth of the MNGF’s programs and services. Prior to MNGF, Kerry had 8 years of experience in loan management, particularly focused on business and entrepreneurial support in tribal communities. Her passion is assisting tribal members build, restore and sustain businesses on the reservations. She is primarily invested in creating key partnerships to provide training, technical assistance, and capital for homeownership, small business, and food sovereignty within the Fort Belknap Indian Community where she was born and raised.
Kerry is an enrolled tribal member of the Aaniiih Tribe, she carries the name, “bé’icítei’iθaa,” which translates to “Iron Woman.” She is married to Kyle Shàbi, they have 3 children and raise them with traditional values and always give back to the community. In her free time, she is actively involved in all her children’s sporting activities, attends rodeos and powwows, loves new adventures and traveling, and spending time with her large immediate family.
Louis C. Werk
Grants and Contracts Manager
Louis serves as the Grants and Contracts Manager for Montana Native Growth Fund, where he plays a crucial role in developing and coding Excel worksheets and reports for the Grants and Contracts handled by MNGF and being the fix-it guy. He has a friendly face and knows about everyone, making it easy for clients to come in and talk about their needs.
Louis is a member of the Aaniiih Tribe of Fort Belknap from Hays. A fun fact about Louis is he enjoys helping everyone no matter what, even if there is bad water with someone; Louis enjoys spending time with family and friends, working on cars, cleaning, being outdoors when it is nice out, and cooking for loved ones. Louis holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and Business Technology from Aaniiih Nakoda College; Louis wants to further his education in either medicine or law at Montana State University Missoula in the future.
Louis is remarkably diverse. He has served in various roles throughout his career. He worked at Martins Grocery for 7 ½ years before finally going to one Job at Island Mountain Development Group, his first year at IMDG; he worked both jobs being the dedicated person he is; he started as an Analyst Intern for one of the portfolios, then moved to be the Portfolio Manager of that same Portfolio, he then wanted to try something different and transferred to another portfolio to be a Sr. Agent, He is now the Grants and Contracts Manager for MNGF, and he brings knowledge and creativity with his past experiences and duties.
Houston Doney is an enrolled member of the Fort Belknap Indian Community and a proud member of the Assiniboine (Nakoda) tribe. He was born and raised in Montana, where he currently resides. Houston is deeply committed to preserving and promoting the culture and traditions of his tribe, and he actively participates in tribal events and activities.
Houston has always had a passion for learning, and he pursued his education with diligence and determination. Throughout his career, Houston has demonstrated a strong work ethic, a commitment to excellence, and a willingness to take on new challenges. Houston became a board Member for Montana Native Growth Fund to be able to help and assist this business to better the future of the Fort Belknap Indian Community and beyond
In his free time, Houston enjoys spending time with his family and friends, exploring the great outdoors, and engaging in cultural activities. He is an avid supporter of local sports teams and is passionate about giving back to his community. Whether through volunteering his time, supporting local charities, or advocating for important causes, Houston is dedicated to making a positive impact on the world around him.
Cora Kay Chandler
Director of Public Relations – Corporate
Cora Kay Chandler is an enrolled member of the Aaaniih and a descendant of the Cree people. She makes her home in Billings, Montana with her family. Her career has been executive assistant to the CEO @ IHS-Billings area for 6 years, Native American Development Corporation for 4 years serving MT, WY, ND, and SD tribes in economic development, and the Business Manager for the 8(a) Company, American Indian Consulting Services for 3 years. She has been an employee at IMDG since 2021, as the Talent Development Manager, and the Communications and Marketing Manager. Her education is an A.A. and she is currently enrolled at MSU-Billings, and her major is Organizational Communications.
She is the owner of Cora Kay Productions since 2016. Her personal mission has been to uplift Indigenous people that are in business and who are artists in fashion, comedy, music, and art by creating and hosting large-scale events throughout Indian Country. Cora Kay is very involved in community engagement with her volunteer-based, urban Indigenous powwow-style dance group for the past 7 years, producer of Big Sky Indigfest 2022-23, Big Sky Indigenous Women’s Gala 2022, featured in Yellowstone Valley Women’s magazine, hosts Indigenous community art markets. Served as the host of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s, Reservation Economic Summit ‘s (RES) 2022 and 2023 closing receptions. Her hobbies are sewing, beading, and golfing.
Cora wants to thank MNGF for this opportunity to serve the community.
Hannah Cross owns and operates a hospitality company in Montana. Her company consults and trains businesses in any stage of development. Hannah’s love for entrepreneurship began at a young age and has developed into a passion she shares with the communities she works in. The Montana Tavern Association named Hannah as a Leader in the Hospitality Industry. As a speaker, she presents across Montana and surrounding areas including presenting for the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana.
Eleanor YellowRobe is a enrolled member of the Aaniiih (White Clay) of Fort Belknap Indian Community. Eleanor is a Certified Public Accountant candidate. As a member of Griz Nation, Eleanor has earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA), a Bachelor of Arts in Native American Studies, and a Bachelor of Science In Business Administration with an emphasis in Small Business Development from the University of Montana. She also attended Haskell Indian Junior College earning an Associates of Science in Business Administration.
Eleanor serves as the Controller, Grants Manager/Economic Development for Island Mountain Development Group. Current economic development projects IMDG is engaged in are the Annaakyaaniiin Wellness Center, Eagle Valley Estates, and the Little River Trading Post where Eleanor provides fiscal grant management. Federal funding for these projects includes the US Development Agency (USDA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) respectively. Eleanor has served previously as CFO to the Fort Belknap Community Council and has accumulated significant experience as a financial administrator working with the Indian Nations in Montana. Most recently, Eleanor became a loan portfolio manager in her position as Interim Executive Director to the Nakoda Aaniiih Credit Agency an emerging CDFI in Fort Belknap.
Eleanor also has used her interests in history and economic development to work on significant research projects for the seven reservations in Montana as author of the “Contribution’s of Montana’s Indian Reservation’s to the Economy” published by the State of Montana Department of Commerce. She is also a statistician for Montana’s statewide federal election results as a personal interest for the Montana Democratic Party. It is these varied experiences and dedication to economic development that Eleanor brings to her role as Controller, Grants Manager/Economic Development for IMDG. In her new role of Board Member to Montana Native Growth Fund, she is excited to continue in her commitment of service as an enrolled member of Fort Belknap and work with the staff of MNGF in developing a sustainable economy for Fort Belknap through homeownership and small business development.
Client Development Coordinator
Denise Stiffarm serves as the Client Development Coordinator for Montana Native Growth Fund, where she plays a key role in sharing Montana Native Growth Fund’s mission and values and will help drive a client-centric environment within the company, where she is key in developing relationships with existing and prospective clients. Denise has served many different rolls throughout her career, the most recent as the PCI Specialist in Compliance at IMDG. Denise is an enrolled tribal member of the Aaniiih Tribe of the Fort Belknap Indian Community, she carries her Paternal Great Grandmother’s name, “Nots Be Go Sis,” which translates to “Whitemoon.”
Denise holds a bachelor’s degree in with a major in Business Administration and minor in Native American Studies from Montana State University Billings, and an associate degree in Allied health from Aaniiih Nakoda College and is currently pursuing further education.
Evan Azure “Long Bull” is an enrolled Assiniboine at the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. He was born in Havre, Montana, and grew up in Harlem, Montana. Evan is the Programs Officer with Montana Native Growth Fund with a focus on community development. Evan adds depth and energy to our team with more than 10 years of experience working in the financial sector, and a heart for relationship building and personal empowerment. As a recent Branch Supervisor, Evan helped establish and strengthen a growing workforce to achieve and exceed goals, giving him insight into the unique needs and perspective of Fort Belknap’s workforce and future homeowners.
Evan has completed course work in Health and Human Performance from the University of Montana. He holds numerous certifications and program awards throughout his career, including regional Customer Service award and Portfolio Growth award. Evan’s passions include family, hunting, exercising and building relationships. He enjoys working with the communities near and far on community development endeavors.
Tonya Plummer is Executive Director for Montana Native Growth Fund, a Native CDFI focused on building capacity and creating opportunities for sustainable tribal homeownership and strong tribal communities. An enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Enemy Swim District and Fort Belknap Assiniboine and Little Shell descendent she brings the insight to develop the CDFI’s mission in culturally and contextually relevant ways. Tonya’s career experience in the mortgage banking industry gives her a specialized skill set to strengthen the CDFI’s capacity to fulfill the mission and grow to scale. She has worked on all sides of the mortgage process in origination, processing, closing, secondary markets, compliance and finally as a Conventional, FHA-DE and USDA underwriter.
Tonya has raised her four children in Montana where she was born. She loves hunting, kayaking and singing and believes in living deliberately and seeking the good while honoring her family and name “Oat E Wiya,” or “Thunder Woman.” She is passionate about inspiring a renewed and culturally empowered rise in tribal homeownership as a cornerstone of stimulating and stabilizing tribal economies and securing our sovereign futures
Lisa Horn serves as the Tribal Realty Specialist for Montana Native Growth Fund. An enrolled tribal member of the Aaniiih Tribe of the Fort Belknap Indian Community, she carries her maternal Great Grandmother’s Nakoda name, “Gisu Nuda Wiya,” which translates to “Red Braid Woman.” Lisa brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her many years of tribal government service, followed by 15 years of federal government service with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of the Interior-Office of Special Trustee for American Indians where she worked closely with BIA land processes and in TAAMS.
Lisa holds an Associate’s degree in Business Administration from Aaniiih Nakoda College and is currently pursuing further education. She was born and raised on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, on a ranch built by her parents. She is married and has three children and three grandchildren, all residing at the Fort Belknap Agency area. She has witnessed first-hand the struggles tribal members have with the current housing shortage here at Fort Belknap and is passionate and excited to be a part of addressing the current housing crisis through responsible homeownership.
A member of the Aaniiih Tribe and the Chickasaw Nation, Ramona resides on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation where she serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Island Mountain Community Development Financial Institution.
Ramona believes strongly in empowering not only our youth but our communities through education, and she has the wisdom and experience of more than 20 years of service as a local educator to prove it. She has worked with youth on and near the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation as a former Upward Bound Director. She has also worked as the Business/Computer Instructor at Aaniiih Nakoda College, as well as Harlem & Dodson High Schools. Ramona also serves as a board member for IMDG, the economic arm of the Fort Belknap Indian Community.
Ramona received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Education Broadfield at MSU-Northern, and her Associate of Science Degree in General Business and Secretarial Data Processing at Aaniiih Nakoda College. She and her husband have 7 children and 21 grandchildren, and she holds each of them dear as her greatest achievement.
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