Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

New First Nations Report Explores Why Philanthropy Continues to Underfund Native American Causes


LONGMONT, Colorado (July 30, 2018) – Why does philanthropy continue to only minimally support Native American organizations and causes?

That's the crux of the issue that has plagued Native American nonprofits and causes for some time. Despite the high need in Native communities and the proven ability of Native-led organizations to help address those needs, mainstream philanthropy has shied away from adequately funding these initiatives. In fact, recent research by First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has documented declining levels of giving by large foundations, as well as minuscule levels of giving by community foundations, to Native American organizations and causes.

A new report just issued by First Nations explores this issue. The report – We Need to Change How We Think: Perspectives on Philanthropy's Underfunding of Native Communities and Causes – was prepared by First Nations' partner, Frontline Solutions, to shed light on this essential question. This latest report is part of a series of publications assessing funding to Native American organizations and causes that was funded by the Fund for Shared Insight.

From June 2017 to April 2018, Frontline Solutions conducted research to identify underlying reasons for the chronic underfunding of Native American causes. Guided by input from First Nations, Frontline Solutions conducted 42 key informant interviews with leaders from philanthropic foundations and Native-led nonprofit organizations. The philanthropic foundations included some that support Native causes, and some that don't currently fund Native causes.

The subsequent report, which is available as a free download from the First Nations website at, summarizes many of the misconceptions (often fueled by erroneous stereotypes) and other obstacles faced by Native causes in seeking funding. It also offers some solutions and recommendations for both foundations and the Native nonprofit community. (Please note that if you don't already have one, you will need to create a free online account to download the report.)

The report revealed the following observations about the philanthropic and nonprofit community:


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