June 11, 2024

Data Study Determines Thriving Wage for Cheyenne River

Last year, through a collaboration with The Opportunity Project, Four Bands Community Fund commenced a thriving wage research project. The goal of the project was to gain a better understanding of the level of financial resources required for local residents – not only to meet basic needs but also to save for the future and achieve financial goals. By analyzing financial data from over 60 mortgage borrowers, we found that the thriving wage for a household of three on Cheyenne River is $20.05 per hour.

“By publishing these findings, we hope to let people know that homeownership isn’t as far away as they may have thought it was. We have some baseline data to work with and that can be used by aspiring homeowners to set actionable goals,” says Tommy Robinson, Regional Revolving Loan Fund Manager at Four Bands, who worked on the data analysis.

Four Bands’ project followed a regional market study published by the Mountain | Plains Regional Native CDFI Coalition, which found that Native American communities were regularly excluded from articles on wealth and poverty.

“For us, this study is about data democratization and putting information in the hands of people to whom it matters most. We have known for a long time that public data sets don’t capture the realities of Native communities or the data simply doesn’t exist. By accurately assessing our economic environment we can invest resources where they are needed most,” says Lakota Vogel, Executive Director of Four Bands.

Building on our thriving wage research, we are launching a second project with funding support from the Aspen Institute where we will work with 20 business owners to develop job quality improvement plans through a self-determined growth trajectory. Participating Cheyenne River employers will work with a business coach to examine strategies for implementing a thriving wage within their place of business.

“We’re at a starting point with this research, but we’re looking at the thriving wage issue from every angle,” explains Vogel.

Four Bands is currently recruiting small business owners and entrepreneurs on Cheyenne River to participate in the new project. Participants will receive executive business coaching and have opportunities for peer learning and business networking. Those who are interested are encouraged to contact Lakota Vogel at lakota@fourbands.org or (605) 964-9337.

Phone: 605-964-3687
Fax: 605-964-3689
Eagle Butte, SD 57625
412 S. Main Street