New online hub to help funders better support Native communities


Alliance magazine


Native Americans in Philanthropy and Candid have launched a first of its kind website, Investing in Native Communities, to encourage greater philanthropic funding and support to Native communities in the US. The free site, will be a hub for funding data, research, history, and other resources, provides funders the crucial information they need to best support Native communities and causes.

‘Philanthropy has consistently under-funded Native communities and, particularly, Native-led organizations,’ said Edgar Villanueva, chair of Native Americans in Philanthropy. ‘A lack of available information has enabled this as funders often don’t know what is being funded, how to effectively engage with Native stakeholders to create impact, and the history that has contributed to the unique challenges Native communities face today. This website is an important tool to begin to fill this knowledge gap and drive more attention and investment to Native communities.’

The website centralizes information so users can visualize the geographic landscape of philanthropic funding for Native Americans, recognise why funding for Native communities is important, learn from the knowledge and experiences of other organisations, and expand their understanding of US history through a Native lens, replacing false narratives and misconceptions. The project is supported by the Bush Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

‘As philanthropy increasingly works to operationalize equity, we need better data, shared knowledge, and reciprocal partnerships to inform that effort,’ said Bradford Smith, president of Candid. ‘The website provides data about who is funding Native communities and causes and where that funding is going. The website also aggregates knowledge about what organizations are learning, so that we can all increase our understanding and improve our practices, together.’

The website is accompanied by a new research report, Investing in Native Communities: Philanthropic Funding for Native American Communities and Causes, which provides analysis of how institutions have supported Indigenous communities in the US. From 2002 to 2016, Large US foundations gave, on average, 04 per cent of total annual funding to Native American communities and causes, even though the American Indian and Alaska Native population represents two per cent of the total US population. The report also consolidates advice and feedback from 20 philanthropic and Native leaders, who reflect on successful work and practices in partnering with Native organizations and communities. Drawing from their expertise, the report and web portal provide concrete next steps for foundations.

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