FORT WORTH, Texas, June 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Think Finance today announced a $60,000 donation in the name of three Native American tribes to fund a pilot program that will help students in Indian country go to and succeed in college. Think Finance is the nation's leading provider of cutting edge analytics and technology services for licensed lenders meeting the needs of Americans underserved by traditional banks.
This comes as President Barack Obama makes his first trip to Indian country as President of the United States, where he will see firsthand the issues that tribal members face and the steps they are taking to solve them. President Obama made mention of his Administration's major investments in tribal colleges and universities in an op-ed published in Indian Country Today last week.
The donation was made to Strive for College, a program that recruits undergraduate student mentors from local universities to guide low-income high school students through the process of applying to, enrolling in, and paying for four-year colleges and universities. Strive for College has committed to forming a pilot program that provides virtual mentoring to students in Indian country – some of the most remote and impoverished areas of the country.
In 2012, only 39 percent of Native American students who started in 2005 as first-time, full-time students at 4-year institutions graduated, compared with 60 percent of Caucasian students. Native Americans' college graduation overall is also much lower, with 9.3 percent earning a college degree compared to the national average of 20.3 percent.
"We are honored to partner with Strive and work toward finding solutions to the many problems that Indian country faces," said Martin J. Wong, CEO of Think Finance. "Strive is an excellent organization that has shown their commitment to finding innovative ways to solve problems for some of the most at-risk student populations in the nation. We couldn't be happier that they are now able to take their program to Indian country and help Native American youths achieve their goal of going to college."
"Strive for College has already shown tremendous success helping thousands of low-income high school students through the college application, financial aid, and scholarship process," said Michael J. Carter, Founder, President, and CEO of Strive for College. "Our success rates are staggering, with one of our Chapters seeing its students enrolling in 4-year colleges at a rate more than 66 percent greater than their peers. There is a need for this program in Indian country, and with Think Finance's tremendous donation and continued support, we will be able to help these students succeed in college and beyond."
Think Finance contributed $20,000 each on behalf of three Native American tribes: Louisiana's Tunica Biloxi, Montana's Chippewa Cree, and Oklahoma's Otoe Missouria. The initial donation will fund 20 students per tribe, with eligible students being high school seniors graduating in the spring of 2015. Due to the remoteness and geographic isolation of many Native American reservations, this pilot program will focus on virtual mentoring, which has never before been done in Indian country.
"We are deeply appreciative to Think Finance for their generous and charitable contribution that will help our students achieve their goals of higher education," said John Shotten, Chairman of the Otoe Missouria Tribe in Red Rock, Oklahoma. "We are excited to begin implementing Strive's virtual mentoring at our schools and seeing its impact on our future generations.
"Our tribe is located in a remote part of the great state of Montana and the use of the internet to bring essential commercial and economic opportunities has been a blessing. The power of the internet to bring Strive's program to help our children further attests to the power of the internet to help tribes with self-determination and self-reliance," said Ted Whitford, Vice-Chairman of the Chippewa Cree.
"The Tunica Biloxi Tribe has been doing everything in its power to bring opportunity to enrolled members and to empower young members to succeed in their educational endeavors," added Brenda Lintinger, who serves on the Tunica Biloxi Tribal Council. "With this program, students on our reservation can get the mentoring and perspective they need to take the next step in attaining a college degree."
About Think Finance
Think Finance is the nation's leading provider of cutting-edge analytics and technology services for licensed lenders that want to meet the needs of Americans underserved by traditional banks. Think Finance assists its clients by helping them to offer responsible and transparent credit products and also as a trusted advisor in developing sustainable business strategies. Founded in 2001 and based in Fort Worth, Texas, Think Finance has been awarded numerous accolades, including the No. 2 spot on Forbes' "America's Most Promising Companies" list in 2013.
SOURCE Think Finance