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Native Americans in Philanthropy Welcomes New Board Directors

July 01, 2020 | 3 min read

Native Americans in Philanthropy Welcomes New Board Directors

Los Angeles, CA

Native Americans in Philanthropy welcomes new board members, Dr. Megan Bang (Ojibwe and Italian descent) and Chad Poitra (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians). 

Chair of the Board Edgar Villanueva states,“I'm thrilled to welcome Dr. Megan Bang and Chad Poitra to our Board of Directors. Together, they bring to the Board decades of experience serving Native communities, and I am confident they will help provide valuable insight and direction as we continue to implement Native Americans in Philanthropy's strategic plan. Simultaneously, we are immensely grateful for the contributions of Shirley Sneve (Sicangu Lakota), who will be departing the Board this year after serving as a member and Secretary. We are entering a critical moment with a heightened awareness of racial inequities. Within that, we continue to experience disproportionately the impact of an unprecedented public health crisis. As we emerge on the other side, we have the opportunity to continue rebuilding just, equitable systems, and I am excited to have Dr. Bang and Mr. Poitra joining us to further that work.”

Megan BangMegan Bang, PhD is the Senior Vice President of the Spencer Foundation and oversees all of the foundation's grant programs. She is also a Professor of the Learning Sciences and Psychology at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on understanding culture, learning, and development broadly with a specific focus on the complexities of navigating multiple meaning systems in creating and implementing more effective learning environments in science education.  Dr. Bang conducts research in both schools and informal settings and has taught in and conducted research in teacher education and leadership preparation programs. She is currently serving on the Board of Science Education at the National Academy of Sciences and the editorial boards of several top journals. She is recognized for her contributions to research in Indigenous education. Dr. Bang earned her PhD in Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. 

Chad PoitraChad Poitra is the Grants/Contracts/Charitable Giving Coordinator for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC), a federally recognized, sovereign Native American tribe located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. In this role, Chad facilitates the tribe’s donations and grants program, which has donated more than $350 million to organizations and causes since the 1990s. Prior to joining the SMSC in 2018, Chad served as the Community and Business Diversity Specialist for the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. There he oversaw the development, implementation and evaluation of the Prosperity Initiative, a business development program serving diverse communities in 20 counties in southern Minnesota. An enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Chad has worked with tribes and Native-led organizations for decades, serving as an American Indian Community Liaison for three Minnesota school districts, a realty specialist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and as a business development consultant working with tribal nations and Native-owned businesses.

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Native Americans in Philanthropy envisions a future with healthy and sustainable Native communities supported by responsive philanthropy. Our mission is to promote equitable and effective philanthropy in Native communities. We do this by increasing engagement and funding to Native-led organizations; increasing and supporting Native professionals in philanthropy; and transforming and influencing the philanthropic sector to be in alignment with an Indigenous worldview.


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