Oakland, CA – Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) and Common Counsel Foundation (CCF) announce the granting of $232,000 to 32 Native-led groups empowering American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities across the United States to advance Native-led, community-defined solutions both on and off the reservation. Established in 2013, Native Voices Rising is an innovative collaborative fund that supports Native-led grassroots organizing and advocacy efforts. It emphasizes Native wisdom and decision-making, and relies on Native community members to screen, review, score and make grant recommendations, thereby fostering more democracy in the deployment of the funds than is often the case in the philanthropic sector. Native Americans in Philanthropy and Common Counsel Foundation support the Native proposal reviewers with training and technical expertise to grow their skills in the craft of social justice grantmaking. According to Native Americans in Philanthropy CEO, Sarah Eagle Heart, “In the wake of the inspiring struggle at Standing Rock in 2016, and the harsh threats to Native sovereignty, sacred spaces, water rights, and the rights of Mother Earth – the need to lift-up community voices for equity, and amplify solutions grounded in our own Native traditions is perhaps greater than ever.”
The Native Voices Rising pooled fund provides a mechanism for donors, including foundations who haven’t previously made grants to this community, to directly invest in organizations led by Native people focusing on structural change. Momentum is growing: Native Voices Rising started in 2013 with two contributors and grew in 2017 to a collaborative fund with 19 contributors. As in past cycles, Native Voices Rising grant partners shared several characteristics:
• Native leadership
• Membership of Native people, typically multi-generational
• Incorporation of Native community-centered values
• An organizing or advocacy program that amplifies Native voices to win positive
change in policy or corporate accountability
Native Voices Rising funding is informed by the 2013 report “A Case For Funding Native-Led Change” which collected data and conducted in-depth research with Native-led groups on their vision for change, strategies and recommendations to grantmakers for stronger investments in the grassroots work being done in Indian Country. The full report and executive summary can be found at http://www.NativeVoicesRising.org.
Laura Livoti, CEO of Common Counsel Foundation, added that “Despite the historic harm suffered and current need for support experienced by Native communities, philanthropy has simply been unresponsive.” Indeed, research has shown that Native causes receive only a fraction of 1% of mainstream foundation dollars – and a smaller fraction of that fraction supports Native-led efforts that address root causes and issues, and seek structural change. “Grassroots Native-led efforts need and are worthy of additional resources to facilitate their success in winning grounded solutions and change for their communities – while Native Voices Rising contributions represent only a drop in the bucket of what is needed, Native Voices Rising is proving to be a vehicle to enable philanthropy to do more.”
A full list of the Native-led grassroots groups funded by this Native Voices Rising cycle can be found at www.NativeVoicesRising.org. Interested donors can learn more about contributing to the re-granting pool by contacting Common Counsel Foundation at [email protected].
Common Counsel Foundation is celebrating its 30th year of advancing equity and environmental health through a combination of direct grant making and strategic philanthropic advising for client member funds and manages projects focused on organizational development, leadership training and sustainability and donor education. More information is available at www.commoncounsel.org. Native Americans in Philanthropy is a membership circle of nonprofits, tribal communities, and foundations committed to the beliefs, traditions and gifts of Native peoples. NAP board and members hold a vision of healthy and sustainable communities enhanced by the Native spirit of generosity. This vision inspires and motivates member engagement through our mission to advance philanthropic practices grounded in Native values and traditions.