The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been severe in Indigenouscommunities. As the number of cases increased, particularly in tribal reservations in the Southwest, the broaderpublic learned through increased media attention about generations of failed federal policy and how deficient infrastructure has exacerbated inadequate access to healthcare, supplies, food, technology, and housing. In the face of these significant challenges, tribal communities have mobilized and leveraged resources in order to mitigate those conditions with vital supplies and services.
Native Americans in Philanthropy identified a total of $32,202,568 in philanthropic funds that were distributed to Native communities between March and October of 2020. Those funds were generated by 15 nonprofit organizations that raised $23,494,625 and 56 GoFundMe platforms that raised $8,707,943.
The report also includes interviews with several Indigenous community leaders about how they moved quickly to distribute these resources and establish new innovative support networks. In an interview with Vanessa Roanhorse (Navajo) and Olivia Roanhorse (Navajo) of Roanhorse Consulting they insisted, “The moment for Indigenous wisdom is now. Stakeholders in the sector must consult with our Indigenous relatives through informed support relationships.”
“While the pandemic has laid bare inequities in our communities, it has also showcased the strength and resilience of our people. This has been especially true in the way that tribal communities have organized to get resources to the ground with support from the philanthropic sector,” said Erik Stegman (Carry the Kettle Nakoda), Executive Director of Native Americans in Philanthropy. “We hope this report inspires philanthropy to partner in the long-term with our communities by investing in Native leadership.”
The report reviews important lessons from the ongoing crisis in Indigenous communities and calls on philanthropy toinvest in Indigenous-led organizations and initiatives, to maximize general operating support, diversify vehicles for investment, invest in Indigenous community strengths and leadership—not their deficits, and invest in tribal policy advocacy and tribal leadership.
As tribal nonprofits and community leaders continue to support their elders, frontline healthcare workers, and children and families throughout the pandemic, Native Americans in Philanthropy calls on funders to continue to support the many response efforts and to commit to Native communities for the long-term by strengthening their investment in Indigenous community leadership.
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. More information is available at www.nativephilanthropy.org.
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Native Americans in Philanthropy is a powerful and growing network of Native and non-Native nonprofits, Tribal communities, foundations, and community leaders committed to engaging, learning, and sharing resources and best practices grounded the Native tradition of reciprocity.
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