LONGMONT, Colorado, and SEATTLE, Washington (Nov.12, 2013) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC) today announced they have selected three organizations as the first-year grantees under a new urban initiative for Native Americans. Under the project, First Nations and NUIFC, as partners, intend to build the capacity and effectiveness of as many as nine American Indian and/or Alaska Native nonprofit organizations over a three-year period by providing project funding, training and technical assistance.
The project is made possible through a grant made to First Nations by The Kresge Foundation. The project aims to help organizations that work with some of the estimated 78 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives who live off reservations or away from tribal villages, and who reflect some of the most disproportionately low social and economic standards in the urban areas in which they reside. Urban Indian organizations are an important support to Native families and individuals, providing cultural linkages as well as a hub for accessing essential services.
The three projects selected for the 2013-2014 period are:
Denver Indian Center, Denver, Colorado, $40,000 – The “Building Strong American Indian/Alaska Native Communities” project is a collaboration between the Denver Indian Center and the Denver Indian Family Resource Center. Its purpose is to improve and ensure collaborative outreach efforts between metro Denver’s urban American Indian service agencies. The project will increase participation in programs that build the assets of healthy families. The purpose will be accomplished by: 1) intentional outreach and marketing efforts to recruit participants in programs and key volunteer positions; 2) creating greater collaborative opportunities and strategies among urban Indian organizations in metro Denver to respond to a fast growing American Indian and Alaska Native community, and 3) leveraging the project to increase assets, projects and resources for urban Indian organizations in areas of youth development, workforce and training programs, child welfare, and healthy living programs.
Native American Youth and Family Center, Portland, Oregon, $40,000 – “Community Economic Development Asset-Builder” project. Founded in 1974, the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) serves Portland’s urban American Indian and Alaska Native population with services designed to enhance the economic self-sufficiency and outlook for members of the community. The project will utilize a fellow from the Social Venture Partners’ Encore Fellows program to establish an outreach and communications strategy, with the potential to increase revenues from grants, donations and workshop fees. The project will strengthen the financial position of the microenterprise, Individual Development Account, and Community Development Financial Institution programs, in turn increasing those programs’ reach and service in the communities, enabling increased direct aid to families through the housing and energy assistance programs, and expanding the reach of career-skills and workforce training programming.
Little Earth of United Tribes, Minneapolis, Minnesota, $40,000 – “Little Earth Community Prosperity Program.” Little Earth of United Tribes was founded in 1974 to create affordable housing for the growing and displaced urban American Indian community in Minneapolis. The Little Earth Community Prosperity Program addresses the continuing issue of wealth creation for Little Earth residents. As a community that experiences a 94% poverty ratio and very high unemployment, the creation of economic opportunity is increasingly important in the transition from entitlement to empowerment. This program will develop skills needed to obtain a livable wage and assist residents with overcoming what obstacles they face in preparing for employment. The program will be developed around robust partnerships that will provide services and guidance throughout all aspects of program and business growth. Through education programs leading to financial literacy, apprenticeships, job readiness, day care solutions, and micro-businesses, we hope to improve the employment capacity of the community while taking a leading role in policy creation to directly impact the disincentive to employment as a result of lost services and support when one obtains employment.
“We were delighted with the response to our request for proposals from American Indian and Alaska Native organizations across the United States, and it was difficult to make the final selections,” noted Montoya Whiteman of First Nations and Janeen Comenote of NUIFC. “We had 45 applications for the three available first-year grants, and each of the projects was valuable and needed. We encourage the applicants to reapply next year for the second-year grants in this process. Meanwhile, we believe the projects selected will be very successful and add tremendous value to their respective communities.”
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 http://www.firstnations.org.
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. For more information, visit http://nuifc.org/.
About The Kresge Foundation
“Creating opportunity for low-income people is a hallmark of our work at The Kresge Foundation,” says President Rip Rapson. “Our programs reflect the inflection points where we think we can actually make a difference in the life trajectories of people who are poor, disadvantaged or underserved in fundamental ways.” The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation headquartered in Metropolitan Detroit, in the suburb community of Troy, that works to expand opportunities in America's cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, community development and our place-based efforts in Detroit. 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. See more at http://kresge.org/about-us#sthash.3Wc3Yeub.dpuf.