Tribal Nations Initiative

Tribal Nations Initiative Seal

Native Americans in Philanthropy’s Tribal Nations Initiative is about supporting Tribal Nations by creating more opportunities for awareness, connection and collaboration with each other and with the philanthropy sector. While Tribes are not new to the practice of giving and helping their neighbors, Tribal philanthropy is a growing segment to support Native American communities.

The NAP Tribal Nations Initiative (TNI) will support a Native-led movement to bring Tribal Nations and the philanthropy sector together on one centralized platform. Beyond facilitating a space for connection and collaboration, TNI will support Native philanthropists across a spectrum, from established grant makers expanding their impact to those just beginning to explore the landscape. By building visibility, Tribal coalition building, identifying priorities, encouraging meaningful partnerships, developing strategic pathways and creating technical support systems, the TNI aims to indigenize giving, better connect the philanthropy sector, and direct more resources to support Native American communities.

Regional Listening Sessions

Region 1 (AK, ID, OR, WA): 
December 7, 2021 from 1pm – 2:30pm Pacific Time
Register Here

Region 2 (CA, HI, NV)
Coming Soon

Region 3 (AR, AZ, CO, KS, MO, NM, UT)
Coming Soon

Region 4 (MT, ND, NE, SD, WY)
Coming Soon

Region 5 (IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, KY, OH, WI)
Coming Soon

Region 6 (AK, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, LA, ME, MS, NC, NE, NY, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WV)
Coming Soon


How can the TNI support Tribal Nations?
The overarching purpose of the Tribal Nations Initiative is to stay true to critical connections between Native values and philanthropy, while connecting Tribal Nations and the philanthropy sector with deeper meaningful engagements and partnerships.

The NAP Tribal Nations Initiative will:

  • Encourage serious efforts toward the re-Indigenizing of the philanthropic sector.
  • Broaden education and public outreach around Indigenous culture, lifeways, and the diversity of Native perspectives on issues that impact the lives of all people.
  • Broaden alliance-building efforts leading to deeper engagement with movements that support Native communities.
  • Support, amplify, and connect Tribal coalitions and giving.
  • Create better funding pathways and support system for Tribal programs.
  • Identify Tribal priorities, data, and areas of need.
  • Ultimately, redirect more funding to support Tribal Nations and Native American communities.

As the Tribal Nations Initiative grows, we intend to offer more: systems of support for Tribal philanthropy will be developed, research to quantify needs, regional and national coalition building will be supported, support for focused initiatives such as climate change, and more awareness will be raised on issues that impact Native American communities.

Why is this needed?
In 2019, the philanthropy sector spent over $400 billion dollars to support various initiatives, non-profits and communities. Yet of this funding, less than 1/2 of 1% went to support the first people of this nation, Native Americans which still have some of the highest needs in the nation. While some Tribal Nations are developing stronger economic drivers to support their communities, many negative impacts still exist today on reservations and in Native American communities. This is due to historic atrocities, acculturation, failed government policies, relocation, isolation, economic sanctions, an assault on language and culture, and separation of the family structure—all contributing to generational trauma, a cycle of poverty and oppression, social inequities and economic adversity. But through education, understanding, meaningful engagements and more resources, we can work together to change these negative trends.

Who can benefit?
The NAP Tribal Nations Initiative will actively work to support Tribal Nations leaders, Tribal Nation program managers and officers, Native lead non-profit leaders and philanthropy leaders. All working together to ultimately help improve the lives of Native American people.

Ottawa Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival at Vincent Massey Park.
Tribal Nations Initiative Celebration

What kinds of programs and initiatives can be supported through philanthropy?
There are a myriad of funding opportunities to support equity and inclusion, social justice, community development, policy initiatives, education, early childhood education, climate and conservation, housing, healthcare, capacity development for programs, youth leadership, language and culture, and many more. Additionally, the Covid global pandemic impacted all of our lives. Underserved communities such as Native American communities are impacted even more. There are many ways to support communities impacted by Covid.

How can I get involved?
We want to hear from you! The NAP Tribal Nations Initiative will be conducting listening sessions in six distinct regions across the nation beginning in October (See map below for your region). Please fill out the information field located on this page to receive updates on a listening session near you. In addition, you will receive updates on vital information on funding opportunities, policy updates, coalitions, supportive materials and key meetings you can participate in to connect with foundations.

For Tribal Nations and philanthropy partners that want to learn more about how to support this work, please contact Greg Masten, Vice President of Tribal Nations Engagement and Special Projects.

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