See who was able to join us at the conference!
Carly Bad Heart Bull – Native Nations Activities Manager, Bush Foundation
Carly Bad Heart Bull is Bdewakantunwan Dakota and Muskogee Creek. She is a proud citizen of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, and she lives in Mnisota Makoce (also known as Minnesota), her ancestral Dakota homeland. She taught the Dakota language to preschool and kindergarten children in an immersion program in South Minneapolis, provided legal work for a locally based firm specializing in Indian law, and advocated for families at the Indian Child Welfare Act Law Center. After graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School, she worked as a law clerk for District Court Judge Anne McKeig, and then worked as an Assistant County Attorney for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in its child protection division. In 2014, Carly became an Education Associate and Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow on the Strategy and Learning Team at the Bush Foundation, a regional funder based in St. Paul and serving MN, ND, SD and the 23 Native nations that share that geography. She recently transitioned into a new role as the Foundation’s Native Nations Activities Manager. Carly lives in the Kingfield neighborhood in Minneapolis with her husband Jay and black Lab, Hoksida.
Brandolon Barnett – Research Manager, Council on Foundations
Brandolon Barnett is the Research Manager for the Council on Foundations. He manages multiple aspects of the Council’s core research projects working closely with colleague organizations and consultants at the Foundation Center, the Commonfund Institute, and others. Brandolon holds an MA in International Studies with a specialization in International Economics from the University of London SOAS. He has successfully managed programs in the realm of environmental sustainability, cultural heritage, and economic development in major US markets and on the ground in 5 countries. His most recent work, as manager of philanthropic research & internal CSR with FrontStream and as a researcher with the Council on Foundations, has helped client/member organizations to mobilize data to understand and enhance the impact of their efforts on communities. He has been invited to speak at the 2014 Conference for Sustainable Heritage Management in Rome, the 2016 conference of the Association for Corporate Contributions Professionals (ACCProf) and in other venues. Brandolon is also active as a volunteer, serving as the head of an advisory committee for international volunteering NGO Globe Aware, on the advisory board of several studies, on an advisory board for Global Impact, and in other capacities.
Wanda Brascoupé Peters – Executive Director, the Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal People’s in Canada
Wanda is Bear Clan, a Haudenosaunee/Algonquin and member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg. Philanthropy is a common bond Indigenous and the non-Indigenous societies share. It is here Wanda’s flourishes in creating spaces for mutual partnerships with reciprocal learnings and a longer term goal of reconciliation in Canada. Her charitable activities began as a teaching in reciprocity, a fundamental component of global Indigenous cultures. With fifteen years of experience at a local, regional and national level her skills include fundraising, advocacy and learning opportunities to understand philanthropy and Indigenous realities in Canada. Known to many as a natural communicator and innate bridge builder, Wanda brings her view that reciprocity and reconciliation are action-oriented words when we allow them to be. It is these skills she enthusiastically brings to her position as the Executive Director of The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.
José Bravo – Executive Director, Just Transition Alliance
José is a recognized leader on Climate Justice issues and Chemicals Policy as it pertains to Environmental Justice. José works directly with Environmental Justice (EJ) Communities and Labor (Organized and Unorganized). José’s work in social justice issues is rooted in his upbringing in the Southern California farm fields alongside both his parents. José has participated in the Environmental Justice movement since 1990, over the years he has gained recognition as a national and international leader in the EJ movement. José is a co-chair of the Building Equity and Alignment for Impact (BEA I) the BEA I is a model of funding to the grassroots by partnering grassroots organization, philanthropy and mainstream green organizations throughout the US.
Stephen R. Burns, CFA – Portfolio Manager – Endowments and Foundations, Glenmede
Stephen Burns, CFA, is a Portfolio Manager for Endowments and Foundations in Glenmede’s Philadelphia office. Along with other members of the team, he provides investment advice and portfolio management for foundations, endowments and other not-for-profit organizations. Prior to joining Endowments and Foundations at Glenmede, Mr. Burns was employed by the Davidson Trust Company, a division of the Bryn Mawr Trust Company, as a portfolio manager. Mr. Burns managed portfolios for high-net-worth individuals and institutional clients, and was an active member of the investment research and strategy teams. A resident of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, Mr. Burns received a B.S. in finance and management from Georgetown University. Mr. Burns received the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation in 2011, and is an active member of the CFA Society of Philadelphia.
Chrissie Castro – Chrissie Castro & Associates
Chrissie Castro is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and is a social justice consultant working for equity for all people, including the self-determination of Native communities. She is the vice-chairperson of the Los Angeles City-County Native American Indian Commission, and serves as the Network Weaver of the Native Voice Network, a national network of Native American organizations that mobilize to inspire change in Native communities. Chrissie recently conducted research with the assistance of Women Donors Network addressing the underlying roots of underrepresentation of Native Americans in the political landscape.
Janeen Comenote – Executive Director, National Urban Indian Family Coalition
Janeen Comenote (Quinault/Hesquiaht) is the Executive Director of the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC) headquartered in Seattle, WA. The NUIFC is a growing national coalition representing 24 urban Indian centers in 19 cities, several Native American organizations and more than a million Native Americans living away from their traditional land base. Janeen is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow, a regional leadership program, an 1999 alumni of the prestigious American’s for Indian Opportunity Ambassador program and was chosen and highlighted in O magazine for her participation in Women Rule; 80 Women Who Could Change America. She is a recipient of the Potlatch Fund Fran James Cultural Preservation award and the prestigious Eco Trust Indigenous Leadership award for her work with urban Indians. Additionally, she has been a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Seattle, worked on several documentary films and written a screenplay. She worked for 15 years at the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation in child welfare, juvenile justice, poverty reduction and as a development officer.
Levi Esquerra – Director, NAU-FCB Center for American Indian Economic Development
Levi Esquerra (Chemehuevi), currently is employed by Northern Arizona University as Program Director of the Center for American Indian Economic Development (CAIED). CAIED’s mission is to increase entrepreneurship and community development activities within tribal communities. During Levi’s employment, CAIED has received 2013 Governor’s Award of Excellence and Levi received the 2013 Arizona Association of Economic Development Tribal Economic Developer of the Year and 2014 Money Magazine Arizona Hero. Also, Levi has served as Tribal Chairman of the Chemehuevi Tribe.
Seth Fairchild – Executive Director, Chahta Foundation
Seth Fairchild is a graduate of the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Honors Program and a former member of Southeastern University’s Native American Council. Shortly after earning his degree in Business Administration and Marketing, Seth accepted a position with his tribe, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, to work with Choctaw students ages 6-18 through the Success Through Academic Recognition (STAR) program. In 2011, Seth joined forces with the newly revived Chahta Foundation, a non profit that is closely associated with the Choctaw Nation and whose primary beneficiaries are Choctaws living throughout the United States. In this capacity, Seth has worked diligently with a small core staff to build and develop the Chahta Foundation so that it may best serve Choctaws through innovative educational, cultural, and health-related initiatives. For Seth, “preserving our unique heritage is a core personal goal”, so he is gratified by the work he and Foundation staff accomplish in recording the stories of Choctaw tribal elders, many of whom are first-speakers. Seth enjoys his part in exercising Choctaw culture by teaching Choctaw social dancing and studying the Choctaw language.
Sheri Freemont – Senior Director, Indian Child Welfare Unit, Casey Family Programs
Sheri Freemont (Turtle Mountain Chippewa/Omaha) is a Senior Director with Casey Family Programs in the Indian Child Welfare Unit, where she focuses on providing technical support to state and tribal jurisdictions to improve outcomes for tribal children and families in child welfare systems, as well as supporting the Indian Child Welfare Act practices in national projects and state forums. Ms. Freemont, an attorney, previously served as the Director of the Family Advocacy Center, Chief Prosecutor for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and a family violence and felony child abuse prosecutor for Maricopa County, Arizona.
Carly Hare – National Director, CHANGE Philanthropy
Carly Hare (Pawnee/Yankton) strives to live a commitment to advancing equity and community engagement through her professional and personal life. Carly recently stepped into the role of the National Director/Coalition Catalyst for CHANGE Philanthropy after fours years on the steering committee. Carly most recently served as Native Americans in Philanthropy’s Executive Director from 2010-2015 after five years of membership, and serving on the NAP Board of Directors. Carly has served on planning committees and presented at over 30 conferences at the intersection of equity and philanthropy. Carly held the position of the Director of Development for the Native American Rights Fund from 2009-2010. She served as Director of Programs for The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County for five years. She is a proud daughter, sister, auntie, ally, friend, advocate. Carly’s Pawnee name is <i kita u hoo <i ]a hiks which translates into kind leader of men.
Tori Lackey – Program Specialist, Johnson Scholarship Foundation
Victoria Lackey joined the Johnson Scholarship Foundation in June of 2015. As the Program Specialist, she is responsible for improving the Foundation’s grant making, communication and its profile within the independent sector. She reports to the President and assists in tasks such as research, writing, analysis and evaluation of grant programs, publishing endeavors, and communication and social media. A graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University, Tori was a member of the Supper Honors Program and holds a B.A. in Ministry with a concentration in Christian Social Ministry. West Palm Beach is a new home for her, relocating from Harford County, Maryland where her family currently resides.
Malcolm Macleod – President, The Johnson Scholarship Foundation
Malcolm Macleod was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia in 1951. He obtained a B.A. in English (Honors) in 1975 and was awarded a Lord Beaverbrook Scholarship to study law at the University of New Brunswick. Malcolm was admitted to the New Brunswick Bar in 1978 and to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1979. He joined the firm of Patterson, Smith, Mathews and Grant as an associate and practiced with that firm and its successors for over 25 years. During that time he served as managing partner and chair of the firm’s litigation department. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1997. Malcolm joined the Johnson Scholarship Foundation as a trustee in 1993. He was elected secretary in 1995 and served in that position until 2001, when he was elected President and Chief Executive Officer.
Dr. Cecilia Martinez – Director of Research Program, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy
Cecilia Martinez is the co-founder and Director of Research Programs at the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED). She has led a variety of projects to address environmental justice. at the local and international levels. Most recently she co-authored a chapter on environmental justice and climate resiliency and is working on a manuscript on environmental justice and climate change. Cecilia also helped to develop the first Circle of Leadership program for NAP, and served as development consultant in the formation of the Tiwahe Foundation. She currently serves as the research lead for the Building Equity and Alignment for Impact Initiative.
Dr. David Maurrasse, PhD. – Founder & President, Marga Incorporated
Dr. David Maurrasse is the Founder and President of Marga Incorporated, a consulting firm founded in 2000 providing strategic advisory services and research to philanthropic initiatives and community partnerships. Marga coordinates the work of the Anchor Institutions Task Force. Dr. Maurrasse serves as the Director of this emerging network of over 600 members, which promotes the engagement of enduring institutions (e.g. universities and medical centers) in addressing economic development, health disparities, educational access, and beyond. Marga also coordinates the Race and Equity in Philanthropy Group (REPG), which engages a cluster of member foundations in strengthening policies and practices on racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. The California Endowment, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the California Wellness Foundation, and the Ford Foundation are among members of REPG.
Erika L. McDaniel – Business Development Officer, Glenmede
Erika L. McDaniel is a Business Development Officer in Glenmede’s Philadelphia office. With a focus on endowments, foundations and non-profit organizations, she works directly with Glenmede’s Endowment and Foundation team on business development initiatives and the creation of marketing and thought-leadership materials. Prior to joining Glenmede, Ms. McDaniel worked as a marketing associate at Turner Investments where she managed general marketing responsibilities and supported acquisition and retention initiatives for asset management clients. She previously held business development and marketing positions with Aberdeen Asset Management and SEI Investments. Ms. McDaniel graduated cum laude from Howard University with a B.B.A. with a concentration in marketing. A resident of West Norriton, PA, Ms. McDaniel volunteers her time with a number of organizations and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Forman S. Acton Educational Foundation, the Board of Directors of Young Life Urban Philadelphia, as a mentor at the Gesu School, and on the Admission Committee for A Better Chance – Radnor.
Liz Medicine Crow – President & CEO, First Alaskans Institute
Liz Medicine Crow, Haida/Tlingit, is from Keex Kwaan (Kake), Alaska. On her Haida side she is Eagle Tiits Gitee Nei, Hummingbird. On her Tlingit side she is Raven Kaach.adi, Fresh Water-marked Sockeye Salmon. Her maternal grandparents were Mona & Thomas Jackson, Sr. of Kake, her paternal grandparents were Lillian and Charles Cheney of Washington. Her parents are Della and William Cheney of Kake. Her husband, Cloud Medicine Crow, Hidatsa, is a contemporary American Indian artist. Although she works in Anchorage, Liz’s heart is always at home in the village with her family and people. Integrating Native knowledge and values into organizations, governance mechanisms, and everyday life is a primary passion and responsibility she has pursued through her education and career.
Cora Mirikitani – President & CEO, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP)
Cora Mirikitani was appointed as President and CEO of AAPIP in 2015. Prior to that she led the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), a nonprofit funder and program incubator supporting working artists and creative entrepreneurs in California. Cora’s extensive career in the nonprofit sector includes more than ten years in philanthropy as Program Officer for Culture at The Pew Charitable Trusts and later as Senior Program Director at The James Irvine Foundation in charge of their Arts program and Innovation Fund. She has also held key leadership positions as Director of Performing Arts and Film at the Japan Society in New York, Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and CEO of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles. In addition, Cora has been a lecturer, writer and advisor on national and international funding and policy panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Japan Foundation’s Performing Arts Japan program in the U.S. and The American Assembly, among others. She served on the board of directors of Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA), chairing their national conference in San Francisco in 1999, and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP). Cora received the prestigious Durfee Foundation Stanton Fellowship award for 2008-2009.
Matt Morton – Director for the Equitable Education, Meyer’s Memorial Trust
Matt Morton (Squaxin Island) currently works as the Director for the Equitable Education portfolio for the Meyer’s Memorial Trust based in Portland, OR. He has also served as Executive Director of the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), which enriches the lives of youth and families through education, community involvement and culturally specific programming. Among NAYA’s many services are early childhood programming (including Head Start), K-12 academic and social supports, an early college academy and college and career services. Previously, Matt served as the Deputy Director for the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), an organization addressing issues of child abuse and neglect through training, research, public policy and grassroots community development. Matt’s career has centered on education. Elected to the Portland Public Schools Board in 2011, he recently completed a four-year term.
Tamir Novotny – Executive Director, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP)
Tamir became Executive Director of EPIP in 2015, following a three-year engagement with the organization. Starting as a chapter leader in New York, Tamir went on to join EPIP’s national team, supporting chapters in the Northeast and advising the national leadership. Prior to his appointment, Tamir held multiple positions over nine years at Living Cities, a philanthropic collaborative focused on improving the lives of low-income urban residents. There, he developed and led portfolios in areas including housing, smart growth, and civic technology. Most recently, Tamir developed and launched the City Accelerator, a $3,000,000 initiative to speed the spread of municipal innovation, and the Civic Tech and Data Collaborative, a partnership to harness the power of technology and data to address issues like criminal justice and youth employment. Tamir received a Masters in Public Administration from New York University in 2008 and a BA, magna cum laude from NYU in Metropolitan Studies in 2006.
Tia Oros Peters – Executive Director, Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples
Tia Oros Peters (Shiwi) has been active in grassroots community organizing, issue advocacy, and nonprofit development work for social, cultural, and environmental justice for nearly three decades. In 1993 she began working with the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, which is honored to be one of the first and foremost Native Peoples’ operating foundations in North America, and one of the founding organizations of Native Americans in Philanthropy. Tia has extensive experience in international diplomacy, including globally advancing the protection of Water as a sacred resource for Indigenous Peoples’ cultural and spiritual sustainability; as a recognized expert on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and in Indigenous women’s leadership and alliance building as one of the founding mothers of the Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus. A published writer and cultural artist, she received a Executive Leadership fellowship from the Center for Civic Partnerships, a Silver Cloud Award for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights international advocacy, and was a Shannon Institute Leadership Fellow, among other awards. She served on the Native Americans in Philanthropy board of directors in 1999 – 2002.
Dr. Robert K. Ross, M.D. – President and Chief Executive Officer, The California Endowment
Robert K. Ross, M.D., is president and chief executive officer for The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation established in 1996 to address the health needs of Californians. Prior to his appointment in July 2000, Dr. Ross served as director of the Health and Human Services Agency for the County of San Diego from 1993 to 2000. Dr. Ross has an extensive background in health philanthropy, as a public health administrator, and as a clinician. His service includes: Commissioner, Philadelphia Department of Public Health; medical director for LINK School-Based Clinic Program, Camden, New Jersey; instructor of clinical medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and faculty member at San Diego State University’s School of Public Health. Dr. Ross has been actively involved in community and professional activities at both the local and national level. He is a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, Co-Chair, Diversity in Philanthropy Coalition, and has served as a member of the California Health Benefit Exchange Board, the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Board, National Vaccine Advisory Committee, and on the boards of Grantmakers in Health, the National Marrow Donor Program, San Diego United Way and Jackie Robinson YMCA. He is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pediatrics, served on the President’s Summit for America’s Future and as chairman of the national Boost for Kids Initiative, and was honored by the Council on Foundations as the Distinguished Grantmaker of the Year for 2008. Dr. Ross received his undergraduate, masters in Public Administration and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The California Endowment makes grants to organizations and institutions that directly benefit the health and well-being of the people of California. For more information, visit our Web site www.calendow.org.
Sherry Salway-Black – Board Member, The Johnson Scholarship Foundation
Sherry Salway Black retired in 2015 from the National Congress of American Indians after seven years as director of the Partnership for Tribal Governance. She continues to do private consulting for a number of organizations. Ms. Black’s previous work experience includes 19 years as Senior Vice President of, and on the boards of directors for, First Nations Development Institute and First Nations Oweesta Corporation; six years with the Indian Health Service; and three years as the Executive Director of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Ms. Black currently serves on the board of directors of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, First Peoples Fund and the Hitachi Foundation. She also serves on the advisory committee for the National Congress of American Indians’ Policy Research Center, the Board of Governors for the Honoring Excellence in the Governance of Tribal Nations program at Harvard University, and the board of trustees for the National Indian Child Welfare Association. Past board positions include the Council on Foundations for seven years where she served as Treasurer and on the Executive, Governance, and Membership Committees. She is also a past board member of Trillium Asset Management Corporation, American Indian Business Leaders, Native Americans in Philanthropy and Women and Philanthropy. She was appointed in 2011 to the President’s Advisory Committee on Financial Capability and in 2013 to the President’s Advisory Committee on Financial Capability for Young Americans. Ms. Black has a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelors Degree from East Stroudsburg University where in 2013 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award. She is Oglala Lakota and is originally from South Dakota.
Sheldon Spotted Elk, Director for Indian Child Welfare Unit, Casey Family Programs
Sheldon Spotted Elk (Northern Cheyenne) is a Director with Casey Family Programs, Indian Child Welfare Unit, in Denver, Colorado, a national foundation dedicated to building “Communities of Hope” to improve safety and success of children and their families. Sheldon collaborates with Tribes, states and other national organizations to advance issues around Tribal child welfare systems, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), Tribal Courts and Tribal-State judicial forums. Sheldon previously worked as a Guardian ad Litem attorney representing the best interest of children in child welfare legal proceedings. Sheldon also served as the Chief of Staff for the Ute Indian Tribe and provided legal research for the Ute Tribal Court of Appeals.
Loris Taylor – President/CEO, Native Public Media, Inc
Loris Taylor (Hopi Nation), President/CEO of Native Public Media Inc., represents the media interests of Native Americans inclusive of radio, television, journalism and public policy. Taylor’s leadership resulted in the first “Digital Journalism and Storytelling” curriculum for college credit, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Tribal Priority for broadcasting, the establishment of the FCC Office of Native Affairs and Policy, and the publication of the first seminal study on broadband “New Media, Technology and Internet Use in Indian Country.” In 2010, recommendations from the study were included in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. Taylor was a contributor to the Aspen Institute and Knight Commission’s report on the “Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy” and “New Cities: The Next Generation of Healthy Informed Communities.” Taylor is currently a member of the FCC’s Diversity in a Digital Age Committee and formerly chaired the Economic, Finance and Economic Development and Technology and Telecommunications Committees of the National Congress of American Indians. In 2008, Taylor represented Native Americans in briefing the Obama-Biden FCC Transition Team on telecommunications. In 2015, NPR honored Taylor for her service to broadcasting. Other recognition includes the Native Americans in Philanthropy Delgado Award and the Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award.
Emily Tyrrell – Director of Sustainability. First Alaskans Institute
Emily Tyrrell, Iñupiaq/Yup’ik from Emmonak, Alaska, is the great granddaughter of Axel and Pearlie Johnson, granddaughter of John and Cecilia Sipary, daughter of John Neeley and Helen Miller, and mother of Anya Tyrrell. Her Yup’ik name is Keneggnarkayaaggaq, meaning a person with a beautiful persona, spirit, and aura. In her role as the Sustainability Director of at First Alaskans Institute (FAI), Emily leads the organization’s development efforts with a special focus on advancing and achieving organizational sustainability priorities while collaboratively creating greater organizational impact. Her work includes guiding and increasing FAI’s financial stability by utilizing a values-based approach to donor stewardship, giving programs, grantsmanship, and planning meaningful events and opportunities to sustain and foster the advancement of FAI’s vision and mission. Emily holds an Executive Masters of Business Administration in Strategic Leadership from Alaska Pacific University and a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Communications from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She currently serves as a Founding Director of Forget-Me-Not, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to connecting the homeless population with family members and friends, and a Founding Director and President of Friends of ANCCS, a nonprofit with the sole purpose to fund programs that enhance the cultural experiences of the students of at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School.
Edgar Villanueva – Vice President of Programs and Advocacy, Schott Foundation for Public Education
Edgar Villanueva joined the Schott Foundation as Vice President of Programs and Advocacy on June 1, 2015. In this role, Edgar guides the Foundation’s resource delivery strategy, including the provision of grantmaking, communications, network building, and policy advocacy supports. Edgar has significant philanthropy experience, beginning his grantmaking career in 2005 as a Senior Program Officer at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, a $600 million health equity-focused foundation in Winston-Salem, NC. Most recently, Edgar served as a Program Officer for the National and Midwest Portfolios at the Marguerite Casey Foundation in Seattle, WA. There he managed a multi-million dollar grants portfolio focused on building capacity for progressive change through multi-issue movement building. Edgar also brings executive director experience to his new role, having served in that capacity for Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations (QENO), a partnership between the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), philanthropic and civic organizations focused on providing capacity building to regional nonprofits and foundations. In 2011, he was named the founding Executive Director of the North Carolina American Indian Health Board, a statewide nonprofit working to advance health equity for American Indians through research, education, and advocacy. For many years, Edgar has been a social justice advocate for youth and communities of color, and he has held leadership roles on various boards and advisory committees such as The Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Forward Promise National Advisory Committee. Edgar earned a bachelor of arts from Jackson College of Ministries, a bachelor of science in public health from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master of health administration from the UNC Gillings Global School of Public Health. He is a native of North Carolina and an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe.
Dr. Malia Villegas – Director, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Policy Research Center
Dr. Malia Villegas is the Director of the NCAI Policy Research Center (www.ncai.org/prc). She is an enrolled member of the Native Village of Afognak in Alaska, where she also serves on the Tribal Council. Dr. Villegas is Sugpiaq/Alutiiq (Alaska Native) with family from Kodiak and Afognak Islands in Alaska and O’ahu and Lana’i in Hawai’i. The NCAI Policy Research Center was established in 2003 to provide tribal leaders with the best available knowledge to inform their strategic policy decision within a framework of Native wisdom to positively impact the future of Native peoples.
Richard B. Williams – Consultant, The Johnson Scholarship Foundation
Richard B. Williams (Oglala Lakota/Northern Cheyenne) is a passionate and committed advocate and fierce champion of Native education in the United States. From 1997-2012, he has served as president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, a national non-profit scholarship fundraising organization for American Indian students attending tribal colleges and universities which provide culturally based education and are run by the tribes. Rick grew up in Crawford Nebraska, graduated from Crawford High School in 1969. He was raised by his grandmother Louisa Star Nelson and his great-grandmother Ida White Eyes. Williams was the first American Indian to graduate from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, receiving a B.A. (magna cum laude) in 1975. Concurrently, he finished an independent study program at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in Boulder, Colorado, where he continued his work as a paralegal after graduation. In 1987, Williams completed a M.A. in educational administration (Summa Cum Laude) at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. At NARF, Williams worked on landmark cases concerning the civil rights of American Indians in prison. With the assistance of Wallace Black Elk, a Lakota medicine man, he helped establish the first sweat lodge at a correctional institution. He also developed a plan to build a 50-bed minimum-security prison on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, where he served as the first warden. It was during this time that Rick learned and studied the political and social processes that influence the effectiveness of tribal governing entities. Williams has dedicated himself to the goal of American Indian education throughout his career. At CU-Boulder, he directed several initiatives, including the American Indian Upward Bound Program, Director of Minority Affairs and the University Learning Center (now the Student Academic Service Center [SASC]). Williams is a devoted father of four children and grandfather of eight grandchildren. He resides in Broomfield, Colorado with his wife, Sally Carufel-Williams (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe/Dakota).
Juanita M. Wilson – Director, Western North Carolina Leadership Initiative (WNCLI)
Ms. Wilson, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), is director of the Western North Carolina Leadership Initiative (WNCLI), which is the umbrella entity for the Cherokee Right Path Program and the Coulter Regional Leadership Program. WNCLI is administered through Western Carolina University. Wilson has a BS in Sociology, and Master of Science in Leadership and Management. Wilson served a four-year tenure as Deputy Administrative Officer for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, in which she provided oversight and leadership to twelve tribal programs serving in education and recreation for ages birth to senior citizens. Other professional experiences include serving as program director for the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. As Program Director, Ms. Wilson was responsible for developing, monitoring and evaluating the Foundation’s programming. Wilson was appointed to the, NC House Committee to Preserve the Culture and Customs of Indian Children from 2009-10. She is a Graduate of the 2010 North Carolina Governor’s Leadership Institute, is an alumni of the “Circle of Leadership Academy (CoLA),” a Native American leadership program co-sponsored by “Native Americans in Philanthropy,” and the “Center for Leadership Innovation,” and a graduate of the “North Carolina Native American Leadership Initiative (NCNLI),” a NC Native American leadership program administered through the University of Chapel Hill/American Indian Center.