Report Shows Gaps in Funding for Native Causes

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A report released recently by First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) highlights that community foundations often fall short when it comes to philanthropic giving to Native American organizations and causes.

In Community Foundation Giving to Native American Causes, First Nations researchers found that, on average, only 15/100ths of one percent of community foundation funding goes to Native American organizations and causes annually. The report looks at giving by 163 community foundations in 10 states.

In all of the states studied except Alaska, which was an outlier, the dollar amount of grants given to Native American organizations and causes was much lower than might be expected given Native American population size and levels of need.

“Our data suggest that there is very little funding interaction between Native communities and local community foundations,” said First Nations Vice President Raymond Foxworth, who was the lead researcher on the project. “Obviously we think that’s a problem that can be addressed, so we conclude the report by highlighting strategies and practices we think can expand collaboration between community foundations and Native nonprofits. Overall, we hope that community foundation giving can, in the long term, become more reflective of the rich diversity within states, and this includes supporting Native American organizations.”

The states studied were Alaska, Arizona, California, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Dakota. For the full findings and recommendations, you can download the report for free from the First Nations website at (Please note that if you don’t already have one, you will need to create a free online account to download the report.)

This research project was supported by Fund for Shared Insight, a national funder collaborative working to improve philanthropy by advancing the practice of feedback loops and elevating the voices of those least heard.

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