Native Americans & Philanthropy

Context Is Everything: Reflections On Strengthening Partnerships Between the Philanthropic Community and Native Americans

Jul 14, 2016

Native Americans face extraordinary challenges when entering the philanthropic maze created by foundations. While $5.4 billion is awarded in grants across the United States, less than one percent is targeted toward Native American communities and causes, and some of those funds are granted to non-Native controlled institutions with limited participation by Native people. In an effort to bridge the gap between Native people and foundations, this paper provides an overview of the impediments to partnerships between the two parties and offers strategies for overcoming them. Drawing on in-depth interviews with people who are fundamental to the process – leaders of Native non-profits, foundation staff members and donors – this paper concludes with a series of specific recommendations for forging stronger partnerships between the philanthropic community and Native Americans.