Welcome Elias!

Elias Mendoza joins the Coalition as Program Director. 

The Coalition is pleased to announce we have hired Elias Mendoza (Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe) as our Program Director. This is a major step in our journey to become an independent nonprofit organization. As the Coalition’s first full-time staff person, Elias will guide the organizational development process and interface with our five working committees. 

“I am thrilled to be a part of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition and look forward to working with other passionate people across the state to create a clear path to homeownership for our Native families,” says Elias.

Elias became familiar with the Coalition by serving as a partner site for our Construction Internship Program in 2019. At the time, he was the Program Director for Sisseton-Wahpeton’s 477/Employment Training Service Center, a unique program that co-mingles the Tribe’s adult education, workforce development, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) programs to leverage resources and maximize effectiveness. By working together with the Sisseton-Wahpeton Housing Authority, Elias and his team brought five interns through the Construction Internship Program with a 100% completion rate. 

When he saw the announcement for our Program Director position a few months ago, he thought, “This is something I know I can put all of my passion into. This is something I would love to see grow.” 

Elias is looking forward to leveraging his skills and experience to build bridges between tribal, state, and federal agencies in his new role. He is also passionate about creating pathways to homeownership for Native people. Elias brings over 10 years of experience in executive support, staff training and development, and project planning to the Coalition.

Although born in Los Angeles, California, he spent much of his early childhood on and around the Lake Traverse Reservation. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences from North Dakota State University and working in several metropolitan areas across the country, in 2012, Elias finally moved back home to Sisseton where he currently resides.