Published December 12, 2018
OAKLAND, Calif. — Native Voices Rising (NVR), a collaborative partnership between Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) and Common Counsel Foundation (CCF), is pleased to announce the granting of $335,000 to 54 Native-led groupsempowering American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities across the United States to advance Native-led, community-defined solutions both on and off the reservation. NVR has tripled the number of grants given to Native-led groups in the past three years. A full list of this year’s grant awards can be found at www.NativeVoicesRising.org.
Established in 2013, Native Voices Rising is an innovative, collaborative fund that supports Native-led grassroots organizing and advocacy efforts. It emphasizes Native wisdom and decision-making, and relies on Native community members to screen, review, score and make grant recommendations, fostering more community-led grant making than is often the case in the philanthropic sector. NAP and CCF support the Native proposal reviewers with training and technical expertise to grow their skills in the craft of social justice grantmaking.
There is a growing need for innovative grant making approaches like Native Voices Rising. According to Sarah Eagle Heart, CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy, “As Native people and organizations continue to work to promote truth and healing, and in the wake of harsh threats to Native sovereignty, sacred spaces, water rights and the rights of Mother Earth – the need to lift-up community voices for equity, and amplify solutions grounded in our own Native traditions is perhaps greater than ever.”
As in past cycles, Native Voices Rising grant partners are working on a broad array of issues including the promotion of Indigenous worldview, Native sovereignty, environmental and water justice, economic development, cultural practices, and civic engagement and voting rights – to name a few. Groups were selected based on several characteristics, including having: Native leadership; membership of Native people, typically multi-generational; incorporation of Native community-centered values; and organizing or advocacy programs that amplify Native voices to win positive change in policy or corporate accountability.
“Native Voices Rising was started because of the inadequate response of institutional philanthropy to the historic and ongoing harms experienced by Native communities,” says Ron Rowell, current Trustee and former CEO of Common Counsel Foundation. “For years, we have highlighted that less than 1 percent of philanthropic dollars support Native causes – and even less goes to Native-led efforts. While the funding still pales in comparison to the need, Native Voices Rising is providing a proof of concept for a philanthropic intervention that is centered around and lifts up the lived experiences of Native communities fighting for change in their communities.”
The collaborative approach of Native Voices Rising’s grantmaking provides a mechanism for donors, including foundations who haven’t previously made grants to this community, to directly invest in organizations led by Native people focusing on structural change. Since its inception, the fund has awarded nearly $1M to Native-led efforts throughout the country. Interested donors are encouraged to learn about and consider contributing to the activist-led grantmaking by visiting www.NativeVoicesRising.org or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.