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In honor of GivingTuesday, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians yesterday surprised 10 Native-led nonprofit organizations with donations of $100,000 each. 

The Tribe made donations totaling $1 million to the following organizations: Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition, California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, National Indian Child Welfare Association, Great Plains Veterans Services, Notah Begay III Foundation, Inter-Tribal Sports Inc., Native Hope, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, HIR Wellness and Mother Nation. 

The Tribe chose nonprofits based on their dedication to fighting injustices plaguing Native nations—such as the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples crisis and the support for the Indian Child Welfare Act—and those supporting Native Americans and advocating on important Native American issues.

GivingTuesday, historically the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is the largest day of philanthropic giving every year. In 2021, a total of $3 billion dollars was donated to nonprofits in the United States on a single day. However, only 0.4% of the nation's overall giving efforts benefit Native American nonprofits. San Manuel’s donations are key to help bridge that gap and bring awareness to these outstanding organizations serving Indian Country.

The Tribe places philanthropy at the top of their priorities because of their history of receiving aid in their time of need, as well as their dedication to building healthy and resilient communities. Lynn Valbuena, chairwoman for San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, also acknowledges that there is a great deal of work left to be done in Indian Country to ensure Native communities around the nation have the resources they need to thrive for generations to come.

“Indian Country deserves to have access to every resource needed to build thriving nations and San Manuel is dedicated to providing as much support as we can for our people to continue to recover and thrive following atrocities we have faced,” Valbuena said. “Following 30-plus years of operating a successful gaming business, we are blessed to share our success with hundreds of nonprofits over the last three decades.”

National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) Executive Director Sarah Kastelic is grateful for the financial support and says the surprise donation will help her team continue the work they do.

“The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians generous grant to NICWA directly supports our work protecting the Indian Child Welfare Act in the courts, through federal and state policy, and through public education and the media. This gift is significant for Indian Country and enables us to keep children connected to their family, community and culture.”

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