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On Anniversary of Greatest Olympic Race, Billy Mills Announces Second Round of $100k in Grants for Native Youth's Dreams

Running Strong for American Indian Youth Accepting Applications for Second Year of Dreamstarter Grant Program for Arts and Culture Projects

Washington, DC: Fifty-one years to the day after winning Olympic gold in what has been repeatedly named the greatest race of all time, Oglala Lakota (Sioux) runner Billy Mills announced the second year of the Dreamstarter grant program to help American Indian youth live their dreams. Ten native youth with projects around the theme of "Arts and Culture" will receive $10,000 grants from Running Strong for American Indian Youth to complete a project inspired by their dreams for themselves and their communities.

"Without my Native culture, I wouldn't have had the courage to dream my Olympic dream," said Mills, who grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. "Native art and culture is vital to vibrant, rich, thriving Native communities."

"Our first class of Dreamstarters are already seeing their dreams come to life, and I can't wait to see what the young artists and cultural leaders in our second class will achieve," said Mills.

On October 14, 1964, Billy Mills won the 10,000 meter race at the Tokyo Olympics in an upset, come-from-behind victory that ever since has been an inspiration to Native youth and all Americans. He is still the only person from the Western hemisphere ever to win that event. He co-founded Running Strong for American Indian Youth to help others live their dreams.

Through the Dreamstarter program, Running Strong will give away fifty $10,000 grants over the five years to support Native youth's dreams for their communities. Youth partner with community nonprofits to apply for and implement the programs. At the end of the grant period, Running Strong will choose five projects to be eligible for an additional $50,000 grant.

Mills announced the first class of Dreamstarter grantees around the theme of "Wellness" earlier this year. Projects include grief support groups to a mentorship program for young Native dental students to a wheelchair basketball camp for Native youth with disabilities.

Co-founded by Mills in 1986, Running Strong for American Indian Youth supports Native-led programs to help American Indian youth address their basic survival needs. This includes the need to believe in the power of their dreams and to build a strong future for themselves and their communities.

Additional information about the grant program, including application information, can be found at


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