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What We Do

Congratulations Fern FCI's 2021 Nan Cheney March for Justice Awardee!


Fern Orie, a strong advocate for cultural and economic prosperity of Native Americans in Wisconsin is named the 2021 Nan Cheney March for Justice Awardee by Forward Community Investments!
Fern fights tirelessly to improve the lives of Wisconsin tribal members in many ways. Knowing one way to improve these members’ lives is by infusing capital into those communities, she was the founding CEO of the Wisconsin Native Loan Fund (WINLF) a certified Native Community Development Financial Institution. The goal of creating WINLF is to provide access to affordable lending opportunities by promoting financial self-sufficiency and improving economic and social conditions on Tribal lands in Wisconsin. Under her leadership, WINLF has deployed over $7 million in loans to tribal members on all eleven reservations and across the state for home improvement, home purchase, down payment, debt consolidation, auto purchase, and starting or expanding small businesses. Along with the loan products WINLF provides development services like financial education, homebuyer education, credit coaching, and technical assistance, to name a few.

Click Here to Read More About Fern

Congratulations Aunt Jackie! FCI's 2020 Nan Cheney March for Justice Awardee!


It has been a long and winding road for Jacquelyn, but her journey has shaped her into a caring, compassionate and empathetic person who goes by “Auntie Jackie” to more than just her family. 

Jackie is the Founder and CEO of F.O.S.T.E.R. of Dane County (Families Overcoming Struggles to Encourage Resilience) a nonprofit that seeks to promote and strengthen marginalized families particularly families of color through culturally relevant, strength-based, and trauma-informed services, activities, and resource provision. She made the decision to create this organization based on her vast experience in day-to-day counseling and family support services where she observed and analyzed the many barriers to providing resources and services to communities and families in need. 

Click Here to Read More About Jackie

Drumroll Please........Hedi Rudd is named the 2019 Nan Cheney March for Justice Award Recipient! 

Hedi Rudd_HeadShot_2019.jpg

Per Salli Martyniak, FCI’s president, “Hedi is the embodiment of what an unsung hero looks like. She works quietly behind the scenes, integrating art and activism as a means of giving voice to those who might otherwise be voiceless. Like much-beloved community leader Nan Cheney, for whom this award is named, Hedi has tirelessly invested thousands of hours in building community. Now, it’s our privilege to turn the lens on her! FCI will be honoring Hedi on May 9, 5:00 to 7:00pm, at Monona Terrace.
Click Here to Read More About Hedi

Congratulations to Will Green for being named the recipient of the
2018 Nan Cheney March for Justice Award

Congratulations to Dr. Karen Menendez Coller - Centro Hispano of Dane County

Karen's work at Centro Hispano of Dane County is the kind of work so desperately needed in these times of divisiveness and fear. As the inaugural recipient of the award, Karen exemplifies what it means to work hard and tirelessly and fearlessly for a cause. She works nonstop to fight against the riffs caused by immigrant-baiting and the type of immigrant “reform” that threatens the stability of families. According to Karen, receiving the “March for Justice” award was a bright spot after months of darkness. Coller said, “It provided a big lift, knowing that we are not alone in this fight for justice.”

Hers is the kind of work that inspires all of us to fearlessly use our money, time and resources to end racial disparities and injustices.


Nan Cheney was a fierce advocate for peace, social justice and the environment. A prominent Madison peace activist whose pleasant demeanor masked one tough cookie, Nan worked for decades on social justice, anti-war and environmental activism. There was little Nan Cheney wouldn't do for a cause she believed in—she traveled to Selma, Ala., to march with Martin Luther King Jr., hit the front lines at immigration reform rallies and helped found several organizations, including the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.

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