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Investing in Native Communities: a free new resource

By Jen Bokoff & Suzanne Coffman
September 19, 2019

We’re excited to introduce Investing in Native Communities, a brand-new web portal to help funders best support Native communities and causes. Candid partnered with Native Americans in Philanthropy to create it. Native Americans in Philanthropy will officially unveil the website today as part of the organization’s 30th anniversary summit and celebration in Chicago. 

Free to all users, Investing in Native Communities offers rich information to help visitors:

  1. Visualize the geographic landscape of philanthropic funding for Native Americans.
    A funding map displays grants explicitly designated to benefit Native Americans in the United States (including Alaska Natives, American Indians, and Native Hawaiians) or awarded to recipient organizations whose missions focus on Native Americans in the United States. 
  2. Recognize why funding for Native communities is important.
    An Investments in Action section highlights the unique experiences Indigenous peoples face. 
  3. Learn from the knowledge and experiences of other organizations.
    The Investments in Action pages and the Resources section spotlight nonprofits and individuals working in Native communities and on Native causes. Resources include a new report analyzing Candid data and presenting it beside other research, Investing in Native Communities: Philanthropic Funding for Native American Communities and Causes.
  4. Expand their understanding of U.S. history through a Native lens, replacing false narratives and misconceptions.
    A Native 101 section offers facts to help visitors broaden their understanding of Indigenous peoples, their history, and resilience.

Key findings from the report that accompanies the website include:

  • From 2002 to 2016, the American Indian and Alaska Native population represented 2 percent of the total U.S. population. Yet during this period, large U.S. foundations gave, on average, 0.4 percent of total annual funding to Native American communities and causes.
  • Funding for Native American communities and causes significantly dropped following the recession. Although grant dollars increased slowly afterwards, giving in 2015 and 2016, adjusted for inflation, was at roughly the same level as in 2006.
  • Although 20 percent of large foundations gave to Native communities and causes, most made only one or two grants in these areas.
  • Most grant dollars were for program support (56 percent); only 15 percent went to general operating support. General operating support is often viewed as essential for Native-led organizations to have the flexibility and autonomy to achieve their missions.

Candid is proud to have collaborated with Native Americans in Philanthropy on this first-of-its-kind website. We work to provide the most complete picture of the philanthropic landscape. In our effort to do so, we believe it is important to shine a spotlight on people who often fall outside mainstream funding. By partnering with groups that bring specific knowledge about focal communities, we are working to democratize understanding of and participation in philanthropy for all.

We invite you to explore Investing in Native Communities. We welcome your suggestions for and contributions to the site.

Tags: Equity; Candid