While many look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday, we need to recognize that this is a day of mourning for Native Americans due to the centuries of racism, oppression, and violence experienced as a result of European colonization. In reflecting on this as Native American Heritage Month draws to a close, we have gathered a few resources that we hope will help you and your organizations to continue to build your knowledge and understanding of these communities and their experiences with the philanthropic sector so that you can best support and include them during the year ahead.
Indigenous Philanthropic Professionals Report, Released in March of this year, this report works “to strengthen representation of Indigenous communities and professionals” and “serve as a mechanism for change.” Among the report’s key takeaways is that, despite an increase in Native philanthropic professionals, funding for Native communities remains abysmally low. “We have been pushing philanthropy for quite a while to fund general operations and not make it tied to a specific program,” Native Americans in Philanthropy Vice President of Indigenous Leadership and Education Programs Brittany Schulman (Waccamaw Siouan) told Tribal Business News. “Multi-year grants can be a game-changer for nonprofits and tribes in Indian Country. Philanthropy has a long way to go to understand some of the contexts so they can do their job better in funding our people.” In addition to the landing page for the report linked above, you will also find a video recording of a webinar that explores the report’s findings.
“Increased funding for Native Americans can’t be a passing trend” The disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Native American communities created “a new awareness and willingness by philanthropy to tackle some needs.” Here, Midwest Early Recovery Fund’s Heidi Schultz offers advice for how to make these communities part of—and priorities in—your funding strategies.
Investing in Native Communities This collaboration between Native Americans in Philanthropy and Candid is a rich resource center that will help you to build your baseline knowledge of the Native American experience and how you as a funder can drive equity through your funding.
Overlooked Released in 2021 by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, this report identifies two concerning trends that are unique to Native American nonprofit leaders and communities: they have less positive experiences with funders than nonprofit leaders of other races and ethnicities, and that most foundations overlook nonprofits that support Native communities. In addition to taking a deep dive into the data, this report provides resources and advice from Native American nonprofit leaders that can help you to support these communities.
“Help Us to Expand the Philanthropic Landscape to Support Native Americans” Last year, PEAK’s Dolores Estrada and Reis Foundation’s Kyle Reis penned an article where they discussed their work with a tribal entities working group that was launched in 2020 to “identify and amplify equitable funding practices with respect to Native communities.” With participating organizations that include Native Ways Federation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, NoVo Foundation, and International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, and Native Verify, the piece shares some of the group’s early insights and findings. In addition, the group wants to collect and share the practices of PEAK member grantmakers to help empower Native-led organizations. Read on for more details on how to lend your voice to this initiative.
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