Overcoming Invisibility: Funding Native Issues

Session materials from PEAK2019.

The lack of visibility of Native peoples –coupled with stereotypes that dehumanize them and portray them as irrelevant—erodes support for Native issues and allows media-fueled misconceptions to persist. Invisibility also contributes to an underestimation of the discrimination Native Americans face. Of all foundation grants, nationwide, less than 0.03 percent go to Native Americans or Native issues. Of that percent, only one-third go to Native-led organizations serving Native people. Explore how foundations can bring Native issues into the spotlight by funding Native tribes directly.

Participants will learn about:

Recent findings from the “Reclaiming Native Truth Project,” which illustrate the path towards change for Native peoples

Processes employed by foundations who fund Native issues, lessons from that work, and successes engaging with Native partners

IRS tax code on funding 7871s (tribal governments)

Flipping the script on the Native narrative in our everyday life and work

Mackenzie Parker

Major Gifts Grant Manager

American Indian College Fund

Mercedes Plendl

Program Associate

Better Way Foundation

Mercedes Plendl is the program associate for Better Way Foundation. Mercedes supports Better Way Foundation’s efforts to advance early childhood development, working closely with the foundation’s partners and board of directors to help strengthen the systems that nurture and support young children and their families. Prior to joining Better Way, Mercedes worked in Uijeongbu, South Korea, developing curriculum, supporting organizational administration, and teaching at the Sogang Language Program.

Grants Management Professional Competency Model

Cross-Cutting Competencies

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in grantmaking practices.

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