Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) and Foundation Center have released Foundation Funding for Native American Issues and Peoples (pdf), an examination of trend data for giving to Native communities, organizations and causes. The report outlines startling inequities between funding to Native organizations and causes and total national grantmaking.
By some measures, national funding to Native Americans is low.
The share of overall foundation giving targeting the Native population – currently estimated nationwide at 1.6 percent by the U.S. Census bureau – has declined from a 2000 level of 0.5 percent of total grant dollars to just 0.3 percent in 2009.
Strikingly, total grant dollars targeting Native Americans were down 30.8 percent in 2009 from 2008 levels, compared to a 14.1 percent decrease in total grant dollars to all beneficiary groups nationwide. . Additionally, 1149 – that’s 82 percent – of the almost 1400 foundations whose grants were included in the analysis gave no grants benefiting Natives in 2009.
Native communities in our area may be receiving more support.
Minnesota-based grantees receive the largest share of grant dollars targeting Native Americans in the nation – 12.7 percent of the national total. And the report highlights efforts by several MCF members to engage Native communities:
- The Otto Bremer Foundation ranked 8th in the nation in giving to Native Americans, donating $1.7 million dollars in 2009.
- The Northwest Area Foundation, working in partnership with the Foundation for Community Vitality, has recently convened a series of meetings between funders and Native resource people to support a Native American Round Table discussion on poverty reduction and prosperity building.
- The Bush Foundation launched a program to support the self-determination of 23 Native nations that share the geography of Minnesota and the Dakotas. Through this program, the Foundation develops partnerships with the tribes and works with tribal leaders.
Additionally, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Community Contributions program donated $30.3 million to Indian tribes, Native American organizations, charitable organizations, and scholarships in 2009.
Join the conversation: Why does grantmaker funding for Native Americans appear low? What can grantmakers learn from Native Americans in order to increase the impact of philanthropy? What can we learn from grantmakers already working closely with Native people?
- Anne Bauers, MCF research manager