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

First Nations Receives Generous Grant to Help More Native Communities


January 28, 2021

LONGMONT, Colorado (January 27, 2021) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is pleased to announce that more funding will soon be directed to Indian Country to counter the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on Native communities.

First Nations is among the 20 Native American Community Development Financial Institutions and Native-serving nonprofits – many of them in Colorado – that together received $13 million in funding from Bank of America as part of its efforts to advance economic opportunity and racial equality.

“Systemic inequities have placed Native American communities at higher risk of serious complications from the coronavirus at a time of great economic strain that has pushed many basic needs and safety net services to their limits. Here in Colorado, we are fortunate to have a number of institutions serving the diverse needs of American Indian and Alaska Native populations both locally and nationally. Our support for First Nations is in response to the urgent call for targeted investments in healthcare, food assistance, small business support and education assistance,” said Raju Patel, Denver market president for Bank of America.

First Nations President and CEO Michael Roberts said the generous funding of $250,000 from Bank of America will bolster First Nations’ ability to make grants to Native American-controlled nonprofit organizations and tribal programs that are meeting immediate human services needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Native communities, including food, clean water, and sanitation. Since the pandemic hit, First Nations has awarded $2,949,000 in 228 grants to Native nations and Native-led organizations with additional rounds of funding in the works.

“COVID-19 has had a disproportionate and negative impact on Native communities mostly because of decades, if not centuries, of neglect and underfunding by government and philanthropy,” said Roberts. “These Emergency Response grants, awarded without strings attached, are allowing organizations to use their genius in addressing their relief and recovery in ways that are in the best interest of their communities.”

With support through First Nations’ COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, Native individuals and families have been able to increase access to food, clean water, personal protective equipment, sanitation, and logistical support through the pandemic. In addition, Native nonprofit organizations and tribal programs have been able to keep their doors open and continue to serve their communities.

Roberts said Bank of America funding will also go toward general operating support for First Nations’ programs and services that strengthen American Indian economies for healthy Native communities and for creating and boosting innovative institutions and models that promote Native control of Native assets. This includes support for Native artists, preservation of Native languages, and positive narrative-building on Native Americans and racial equality.


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