Harnessing our Collective Wisdom: Strengthening the Circle of Safety, Justice and Healing

by Lucille A. Echohawk, Network Weaver for Southwest Region, Native Americans in Philanthropy

The Tribal Law and Policy Institute (http://www.home.tlpi.org) invited Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) to present a daylong workshop on December 7, 2016 in Palm Springs, Ca. as part of the Pre-Conference Institutes to the 15th National Indian Nations Conference: Justice for Victims of Crime. NAP sponsored the pre-conference institute entitled “Foundation Funding”. Presenters included NAP’s CEO, Sarah EagleHeart; Melissa Powless Chacon, Network Weaver, Southern California; Lucille EchoHawk, Network Weaver, Southwest Region; and Tachini Pete, Network Weaver, Northwest Region.

The pre-conference institute provided information on mainstream philanthropy’s giving to Native communities and provided hands-on development strategies to build participants knowledge and understanding for establishing and maintaining strong relationships with foundation funders. The institute also introduced NAP’s Art of Reciprocity: An Indigenous Development Guide.

NAP also sponsored a workshop session during the Indian Nations Conference. With only a 90 minute session, also entitled Foundation Funding, Melissa Powless Chacon and Lucille EchoHawk discovered that none of the participants had attended the pre-conference institute and were as diverse in their fundraising experience. Thus, given the limited time after viewing some of the prepared power point and utilizing worksheets focused on fund development through identifying assets and goal setting, we then devoted the remaining time to Q & A, stressing the importance of establishing and maintaining strong relationships with foundation funders.

Reflecting on the two foundation funding sessions and the diversity of fundraising experience of participants, especially with private funders, it is quite evident that more of these kinds of sessions as well as individual mentoring are needed as tribes and Native non-profits seek to diversify their funding support.

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