South Dakota Housing presented its “Friend of Housing” Award to Tawney Brunsch at the annual statewide housing conference. South Dakota Housing presents the award annually to an individual who has made a commitment to affordable housing in South Dakota through their contributions, achievements and vision.

As a community leader, Brunsch serves as the Executive Director of Lakota Funds, the first Native Community Development Financial Institution, serving the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations with access to savings accounts, consumer loans and mortgage loans. She also led Lakota Funds to be the first Native financial institution to become a USDA FSA guaranteed lender. Under her leadership, as of December 2020, Lakota Funds had loaned more than $16.3 million through 1,225 loans, aiding 823 businesses and creating over 2,000 jobs.

On the state level, Brunsch is a vital member of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition since its creation in 2013, a group dedicated to increasing homeownership opportunities for Native families to build strong and healthy communities. She currently serves as the fiscal agent, on the Executive/Steering Committee, leads the Physical Issues Committee, and is active on the Policy and Veteran’s Committees.

At the national level, Brunsch was a founding board member for the Native CDFI Network, a national group that works to strengthen Native CDFIs. She is the Chair of the Credit Committee for the Council for Native American Farmers and Ranchers and just completed her term on the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines’ Advisory Council. And this year, she ascends to chair the Consumer Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

When Tawney is not working tirelessly for her native community, she dedicates her spare time to her passions that include her grandbabies, children, and her beloved Green Bay Packers.

“Every community needs a champion and the Native community is lucky to be the recipient of Tawney’s work” said executive director Lorraine Polak. “Tawney uses her passion to lead the way for the betterment of her community.”

The Friend of Housing Award was started 23 years ago to recognize individuals and/or companies who are instrumental in providing affordable housing in South Dakota. Annually, South Dakota Housing accepts nominations for the award and announces the recipient at their annual housing conference.