Member Post: Happy Community Foundation Week!

November 12 – 18 marks Community Foundation Week in the U.S. Today on the blog, one of MCF’s community foundation members, Indian Land Tenure Foundation, tells us more about community philanthropy and ILTF’s mission as a foundation that supports the American Indian community.

This week, Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) joins more than 700 community foundations across America for Community Foundation Week to tell the stories of people empowered and communities transformed through philanthropy’s partnership with private and public community leaders and organizations.

Community foundations are independent, public entities that steward philanthropic resources from institutional and individual donors to local nonprofits that are the heart of strong, vibrant communities. They also represent one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy.

Every state in the United States is home to at least one community foundation—large and small, urban and rural—that is advancing solutions to a wide range of social issues. The 2011 Columbus Survey, first developed by the Ohio-based Columbus Foundation, found that despite the recession, giving by the nation’s 100 largest community foundations actually increased slightly in 2010 to $3.7 billion and exceeded pre-recession levels seen in 2006 and 2007.

As an American Indian community foundation with a nation-wide focus, ILTF partners with Indian nations, private foundations, government agencies, local businesses, nonprofits and individual donors to strengthen the sovereignty, economies and cultures of Indian communities.

For example, this year, with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Native Americans (ANA) and the Minnesota-based Blandin Foundation, ILTF launched a new three-year initiative, the Minnesota Indian Estate Planning Project.

The project, which addresses generations of misguided federal policy for Indian land and assets, empowers Indian people to take control of their own land assets and plan for their families’ futures. It offers community workshops on the importance of estate planning and free will writing services for tribal members of four Chippewa Bands in Minnesota.

Since 2002, ILTF has invested nearly $20 million in grants and programs that support efforts to return control and management of reservation and culturally important land to Indian people. Visit the ILTF website to see a special 10th anniversary annual report highlighting the organization’s successes from its first 10 years of service in Indian Country.

To learn more about Minnesota’s many community and public foundations, read MCF’s spring 2012 issue of Giving Forum on community philanthropy.

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