July/August 2017 CEO Message

July/August 2017 CEO Message

Dear Mitakuyapi (“Relatives” is a traditional greeting in the Lakota language),

Cante Waste ya Nape Ciyu zape ye (“I shake your hand with a good heart”). This has been an incredible month of growth and opportunity for Native Americans in Philanthropy. We are opening a new office in Los Angeles at The California Endowment and we just received news that I am the 2017 recipient of the American Express NGen Leadership Award!

I could not be more honored to receive this recognition representing Native Americans in Philanthropy and the work I have done in partnership with so many incredible individuals and organizations. This award is not just about me, but I consider this award a recognition for Indian Country. My world view as an Oglala Lakota has informed every part of my work today. I am here because I stand on the shoulders of my elders and ancestors. The only reason I do what I do is because of love for tribe and community, as I was taught to help my people is the most important accomplishment.

The injustice Indigenous Peoples face has long been overlooked, even though we are the first Americans, and I have spent my career working to inspire action, healing and justice. My advocacy has built upon an intuitive belief that we need healing in order to have successful community development. This healing is not just for Native communities, but also is necessary for non-Native communities so that meaningful investment and partnership can be accomplished to achieve this goal. I continuously seek the intersection of issues affecting Native communities AND non-Native communities. I then identify partners to make the biggest impact. There is not one organization or person that can solve issues alone. We must learn from each other as allies and innovate.

I recently participated in a Twitter Town Hall with the other NGen finalist and will be in attendance at Our Common Future, a joint conference of Independent Sector, Council of Michigan Foundations, and the Michigan Nonprofit Association taking place October 25-27 in Detroit. Learn more about the award here.

This year Native Americans in Philanthropy’s national conference will be in partnership with CHANGE Philanthropy for the 2017 Unity Summit. NAP and our CHANGE Philanthropy Partners invite you to join us and help make this our most successful UNITY Summit yet! The 2017 Unity Summit: Investing in Movements for Equity will highlight how philanthropy can align its investments along the themes of Resistance, Protection, and Empowerment. A special discounted rate for NAP members is available. Register today and we’ll see you in New Orleans!


Sarah Eagle Heart, CEO
Native Americans in Philanthropy