The Nusenda Foundation today announced that Henry Jake Foreman, MCRP, founder of the Indigenous youth collective and mentorship program Karuna Colectiva and program manager of New Mexico Community Capital’s (NMCC) Financial Literacy & Business Basics Course, has been named the most recent recipient of its Financial Education Innovator Award.
When the award was first created in 2018, recipients’ respective organizations received a $500 donation to help grow and develop their programs. However, according to Robin Brulé, Executive Director of the Nusenda Foundation, organization leadership realized that amount needed to be increased to more quickly grow these winning projects to scale, therefore helping more New Mexicans succeed. Foreman will be the first awardee to receive the newly increased $5,000 donation.
“Being able to increase the this donation tenfold means we can make a more meaningful impact on organizations who are dedicated to increasing economic mobility for their fellow New Mexicans, and who are carrying out innovative education strategies that improve financial well-being in their communities,” said Robin Brulé, Executive Director of the Nusenda Foundation. “We’re especially eager to support Jake, who uses Indigenous processes and methodologies to encourage personal development, innovation, and entrepreneurship statewide.”
Foreman’s program is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and is designed to build a solid foundation to form and grow business ideas, along with a personal financial plan for success. Program participants receive 15 hours of coursework such has how to create a house budget and savings goals, how to eliminate debt, how to develop and promote a business or service idea, how to develop cash flow projections, and how to market their product or service. Participants also receive a stipend and a Chromebook, and in partnership with Google, also receive additional training on Applied Digital Skills. Community partners provide no-cost childcare and meals to participants during their training sessions. Google also recently showcased Foreman’s project on its YouTube channel, which has more than 8.6 million subscribers.
Kip Ritchie, NMCC chair and president of Milwaukee’s Greenfire Management Services, LLC, said Foreman’s genuineness and passion has helped expand and grow the foundation’s programming.
“He is just a fantastic leader, and we’re really excited to have him as a part of our organization, Ritchie said. “When I listen to him speak, and see how passionate he is about the program, it’s contagious. He is a great asset, and we’re very pleased and excited for him for this award he’s received. We look forward to more things from Jake in the future.”
Foreman, who identifies as Absentee Shawnee, Filipino, and Scots-Irish, was born and raised in Albuquerque and attended Albuquerque High School and the University of New Mexico, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in civic engagement and nonprofit management, then his master’s degree in community and regional planning. A turning point in his life was when his father died in 2010. “He was an alcoholic, and he died of cirrhosis of the liver at age 52; just as his father had,” Foreman said. “I was going down the same path and I thought, ‘how can I heal?’
He struck out on a quest — to Hawaii, the Amazon, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru — and said he realized that Indigenous cultures in each of the areas he visited had endured hundreds of years of historical trauma, yet have stayed resilient through multigenerational planning and continued connection to their Indigenous culture. “It was then that I chose to combine my three passions — bicycling, gardening, and art, into an enterprise that would help myself and others heal from generations of trauma,” he said.
Cycles of Life was started during Foreman’s time at the Native American Community Academy — a place where students could practice Indigenous, holistic ways of self-care and community care. An expansion of that program grew into Karuna Colectiva, a youth cooperative enterprise that aims to help Native youth who are having trouble in school and teaches them entrepreneurial and soft skills. It features an art gallery, screenprinting and vinyl sticker manufacturing, and bicycle maintenance.
The Nusenda Foundation will be recognizing a Financial Education Innovator on a quarterly basis; nominees are accepted year-round and can be from diverse backgrounds, such as community organizations, nonprofits, and education and government sectors. For information on the Financial Education Innovator program and to submit a nomination, visit: nusendafoundation.org/innovators.
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