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First Nations Development Institute Receives $1.1 Million Grant from The Kresge Foundation to Boost Capacity of Urban American Indian Organizations

LONGMONT, Colorado (May 23, 2013) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced it has received a grant of $1.1 million from The Kresge Foundation of Troy, Michigan. The funding will be used to enhance the capacity and management effectiveness of numerous American Indian nonprofit organizations located in urban settings, as well as provide them with other training and technical assistance.

First Nations will partner on the project with the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC), a network of urban Indian organizations that strengthen urban Native families. The partnership will draw upon First Nations’ capacity building expertise and NUIFC’s networks, evaluation/data-collection experience, and insider knowledge of urban Indian organizations and their needs.

The grant period runs to the end of 2016. Over that time, First Nations and NUIFC with work directly with as many as nine urban Native American nonprofits to help them improve their management and leadership skills and boost their organizational effectiveness, provide customized assistance and training, host an annual capacity building conference for participants, and document the project’s best practices and potential for replication in other Native American urban communities.

“For 32 years, First Nations has worked primarily in rural and reservation-based Native American communities, helping them develop much-needed stronger economies by doing our work on several fronts,” noted Michael E. Roberts, First Nations president. “These fronts include incubating new businesses, strengthening nonprofits and governments, teaching financial literacy, and investing in critical Native food and agriculture systems. We’re now excited to take our successful track record and apply it to urban communities of American Indians. Native nonprofits that are more effective at what they do and how they are managed are a key resource to the health, prosperity and growth of Indian communities, whether rural or urban.”

"We're honored to join this hallmark partnership to improve outcomes for American Indians and Alaska Natives in urban areas, who are now the majority in Indian Country," said Janeen Comenote, NUIFC executive director. "Native children and families are among the most vulnerable of America’s urban populations. Unfortunately, those residing 'off reservation' reflect some of the most disproportionately low social and economic standards in every large city in which they reside. Urban Indian nonprofits address these disparities by providing a sense of community and home as well as a wide range of culturally relevant services."

Urban Indian organizations, some of which were launched in the 1940s and 50s, are an important support to Native families and individuals, providing cultural linkages as well as being a hub for accessing essential services. There are nearly 250 local or state-focused urban Indian organizations in NUIFC’s network representing over 600,000 Indians nationwide.

About First Nations Development Institute

For more than 30 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit

About the National Urban Indian Family Coalition

NUIFC advocates for American Indian families living in urban areas by creating partnerships with tribes, as well as other American Indian organizations, and by conducting research to better understand the barriers, issues and opportunities facing urban American Indian families. One of the primary intentions of creating the NUIFC is to ensure access to traditionally excluded organizations and families, and to focus attention on the needs of urban Indians. The National Urban Indian Family Coalition is dedicated to remaining an access point for the exchange of ideas and dialogue regarding Urban Indian America.

About The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations working in its seven program areas: Arts and Culture, Community Development, Detroit, Education, the Environment, Health, and Human Services In 2012, the Board of Trustees approved 410 awards totaling $130.5 million; $150.3 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. For more information, visit


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