Toni Sanchez, Engagement & Communications Coordinator

Native Americans in Philanthropy 


DECEMBER 21, 2020 



Washington, D.C. – Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) is pleased to announce the release of their report, Indigenous Community Leadership in Response to COVID-19: A Call to Action for the Philanthropic Sector. The report analyzes philanthropic investments in response funds led by Indigenous people and communities, shares the perspectives of community leaders who organized these efforts, and provides key actions for the philanthropic sector to invest in a thriving and sustainable future for Indigenous communities. The full report can be found at   

NAP Covid community response Click here to read the full report

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been severe in Indigenous communities. As the number of cases increased, particularly in tribal reservations in the Southwest, the broader public 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 to invest 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.   

Those interested in learning more about the report or about how they can better support tribal communities can visit or email   


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 


December 21, 2020


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