The JP UP Date: Honoring Native American Heritage Day | Shop Small Tomorrow

Andrew BarnesThe JP UP date

Number 250                       November 24, 2023                                   St. Louis

JP Client Supporting New Growth from Old Traditions

As we honor Native American Heritage Day today, at Justine PETERSEN we want to take the opportunity to highlight a client who is powering community development in Navajo Nation. Born on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, Ira Vandever lived his teenage years in the St. Louis area, and was a standout high school and collegiate athlete before turning pro in Europe. Ira eventually moved back to the United States, where his career evolved beyond sport. He’s now leveraging his experiences and skills to share with the Pueblo peoples and Navajo Nation through his nonprofit, Pueblo Diné Latina. Ira operates a studio in Cubero, New Mexico where he utilizes organic hemp fiber for weaver, along with other local artists. Ira also became the owner of thirty five acre property, taking it over from a prominent artist in the community, Fernando Arellendo. The property includes several buildings that can be used for residential and industrial artisan purposes. It also boasted enough acreage for agricultural uses. While the property was the perfect site to help Pueblo peoples flourish in their crafts and skills, quite a bit of maintenance was needed in order to fully optimize it. Most predominantly, it needed a new water well pump. After being introduced to Justine PETERSEN, Ira was able to secure a loan that enabled him and the community to procure and install a new pump and renewed septic system. These updates most critically allow for Ira and the Pueblo peoples’ vision to take form: preservation around the three cultural identities [Pueblo Diné Latina], particularly around gardening and food sourcing. Nearly a year after becoming a JP client, Ira reports that “we have expanded and are ready to create a small lending program focusing on Native American communities.” He also notes and reminds that there are Native American communities across the country who can benefit from community development investment, including those in the Missouri River Valley. We are incredibly proud to call Ira a partner, and indebted to the Native American communities who continue to teach us the importance of being stewards of our precious lands, among many other contributions.

Remember to Shop Small Saturday, November 25th

Justine PETERSEN reminds everyone to Shop Small Saturday, November 25th and all holiday season long. We believe the most treasured gifts are those that come hand-selected  within your own community. Small businesses provide so much to us, including local identity and new jobs. Let’s be sure to show up for the many small business entrepreneurs who always do the same for us.


RSVP for the Annual JP Holiday Party

It will be quite the event, but it won’t be the same without YOU! Make sure to RSVP for Justine PETERSEN’s Annual Holiday Party on Thursday, December 7th at our Greencubator space (1124 Lumiere Place, St. Louis, MO 63102 – one block down from the casino). The event will feature a bar and food from The Messy Kitchen Catering, along with more entertainment you won’t want to miss. The event is free and can be RSVP’d for here. Hope to see you there!


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Justine Petersen Housing and Reinvestment Corporation · 1023 N Grand Blvd · Saint Louis, MO 63106-1641 · USA