Last week was my first week on the job as the new Executive Director of Native Americans in Philanthropy. I come to this position with humility and appreciation for the great work that so many of you have put into this organization over the past 30 years. It is your support that has created such a strong foundation for us to advocate for stronger philanthropic investment in tribal communities.
We are at an important moment in this work. To date, large foundations still only direct an average of 0.04% of their funding to our communities. At the same time, Native people are organizing movements at a truly global level to confront critical issues like the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, the degradation of our sacred sites and lands, and the erosion of our sovereignty. We have an important role to play as advocates for increased funding to support these movements and the communities they serve.
A thriving future for tribal communities relies on a thriving nonprofit sector. One of the reasons I’m excited for this new role is the clear vision laid out by our board of directors in their recent strategic plan. There are leaders, activists, organizations and everyday tribal community members who are doing innovative work across the country, centered in Indigenous values. Promoting and amplifying this great work to the philanthropic sector is central to our vision. We will also be focused on strengthening leadership pathways and systems of support for Native people in the sector. Finally, building on the recent launch of our Investing in Native Communities online portal, we will continue to develop resources and partnerships that will educate the sector about who we are, the strength we draw from our communities and cultures, and the vision our young leaders have for their futures.
In the coming months, I’ll be sharing more about our plans to implement our new strategic plan. In the meantime, I encourage you to reach out to me to share your ideas and feedback about how we can make the greatest impact. Collaboration and partnership will be my guiding values as I work with our board and staff to chart the next course at NAP. Effective advocacy for tribal communities in philanthropy is only possible if we honor the powerful work being done in our communities—and the leaders who steward it.
I look forward to being part of this journey with you.