PGA golfer Notah Begay III partners with REDW to promote accounting in Native American communities


Indian Country Todayreportsthat retired PGA golfer Notah Begay III, in his first ambassador role outside of professional sports, has partnered with southwest CPA and business consulting firm REDW to promote accounting and financial literacy to Native American communities.

Begay, who earned his bachelor's degree in economics at Stanford University and is himself full-blooded Native American, started the partnership in order to promote more financial literacy in tribal communities. The partnership with REDW will promote the firm's services to tribal governments and companies.

"Finance is like being in the middle of the ocean, and if you don't have a boat, you're going to drown," Begay toldICT in a phone interview. "If a Native American kid gets a degree in accounting, they will never not have a job. There will always be work for them, for the rest of their lives. I think that's a very strong message to be sent."

REDW currently works with approximately 200 different tribes and has been involved in the community for more than 30 years. Begay decided to work with the firm after feeling a "definite synergy between what I believe in and what they are doing as a company."

"I think REDW understands the importance of financial literacy and entrepreneurship in our Indian communities, and they want to do more to try and cultivate talent from these communities, but also to promote stronger backgrounds in accounting, finance and entrepreneurship," Begay said, perICT. "At the end of the day, if we're successful in these pursuits as a team, it's going to produce [tribal] leaders that have a better understanding of the world of finance, which is so vast."

Founded in 1953, REDW offers auditing, accounting, financial reporting, internal controls and other financial services to tribal communities, holding offices in Albuquerque and Phoenix.

Begay plans on visiting Native American schools across the nation, with an emphasis on making the profession more "fun" to young people.

"Accounting affects us all — every single one of us from our tax returns to our audits to our compliance with the way some gaming compacts are structured," added Begay. "If we can have more young people educated in these areas, it's only going to make our communities stronger down the road."

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