Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) is excited to share that Jeanette Ziegler (Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut) has joined the organization as Chief Operating Officer (COO). Over the past several years, NAP has worked to expand its staff, programs, and relationships to promote equitable and effective philanthropy in Indigenous communities. Bringing on a COO is part of that effort and signifies an exciting time of growth for NAP.
Jeanette’s impressive background has prepared her for this role. For the past 30 years, she has overseen various operations for the Mohegan Tribe where she managed grant revenues and loans for the Tribal Government, facilitated numerous projects for the Tribal Council Chair and Chief Operating Officer, and adapted operations and objectives against the changing landscape of COVID-19. She holds a MPA from the University of Connecticut, and a BA in economics from the Eastern Connecticut State University. With her executive leadership experience, Jeanette will play an important role in facilitating the programs and operations that are necessary to Indigenizing the philanthropy sector.
What does hiring a COO mean in practice? It means increased capacity to engage Indigenous peoples and organizations in the philanthropic process, support Native professionals in philanthropy, and further influence the philanthropic sector to be in alignment with an Indigenous worldview. Please join us in welcoming Jeanette and read the Q&A with her below to hear from her directly!
What are you most looking forward to about your work with NAP?
Though it may sound cliché, the opportunity to make a difference. This is also a foundational principle of the organization—to give back, help others and share knowledge. It has always been part of my thought process that I would someday pursue non-profit work; my goal was to secure an opportunity where I could leverage my background and education to advance objectives that mattered.
As luck would have it, about the same time I stepped away from my last role, NAP was seeking additional support. The work that NAP is doing to ensure that all Native Americans are receiving their fair share of philanthropic dollars is invaluable, and the opportunity seemed to fit. During the decision process, I had the pleasure of speaking with the leadership team and gained an appreciation for how each is making a difference in this field. Leveraging the collective talent of the entire team, the goals and ambitions of NAP are achievable. I am immensely excited to be starting and cannot wait to work with everyone at NAP, Tribal leaders, and leaders in philanthropy, and look forward to experiencing the growth of the organization.
What does building solidarity look like to you?
Solidarity means standing united; doing more together than separately. In the context of NAP, solidarity means that jointly, working with fellow tribal leaders and our partners, we can ensure that Tribal communities receive increased funding from the philanthropic community. It is not impossible to address underrepresentation but it does require that we advance the goals with a united mission and a consistent voice. Though I am new to this role, it is clear that major milestones have been achieved and that the leadership team at NAP has a plan for accomplishing the goal of equitable distribution of funds. It cannot be done alone; hence, solidarity becomes the key to the ultimate success.