Tools & Resources

Investing in Native Communities: A Report on Foundation Activity

Native Americans represent 2% of the country’s population, yet native communities and causes receive only 0.4% of grant dollars on average.
A new report, Investing in Native Communities, aims to shine a light on the current state of foundation funding for Native Americans and to inspire more foundations to partner with native-led organizations. Prepared by Native Americans in Philanthropy and Candid, a data provider that tracks nonprofit dollars, the report also consolidates advice and feedback from philanthropic and native leaders, who reflect on successful work and practices in partnering with native organizations and communities.
Among the findings:
  • Only 20% of large foundations give to native communities and causes, and most of these give only intermittently.
  • Giving in 2015 and 2016, adjusted for inflation, was at roughly the same level as in 2006.
  • The majority of grant dollars (56%) are for program support, with only 15% going to general operating support.
There are, however, reasons to believe more effective funding partnerships can be formed. Since 2017, there have been significant philanthropic investments that reflect positive shifts in how foundations are partnering with native-led organizations. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Ford Foundation have all invested or pledged large amounts in the last couple of years. In addition, Northwest Area Foundation has dedicated 40% of new grant dollars to Native-led organizations working in the region they serve and actively supports Native CDFIs. 
The full report can be found here.


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