Native Voices Rising is a research, donor education, re-granting, and capacity-building collaborative created and led by Common Counsel Foundation and Native Americans in Philanthropy. Native Voices Rising is designed to support organizing, advocacy and civic engagement in American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities.
Since its inception in 2013, Native Voices Rising has awarded over $9 million general operating support grants to Native-led organizations. Eligible organizations are rooted in a Native community, led by Native people, hold a vision for change that improves the lives of Native community members, engage the community to take action together and/or seek to affect the policies and rules that govern the community.
Native Voices Rising serves as a mechanism to build broad-based philanthropic support for grassroots groups led by and for Native communities and to amplify Native voices elevating indigenous solutions to historic harms and society’s most pressing issues.
Native Voices Rising is a community-led model for equitable philanthropy. This model puts forward participatory grantmaking approaches which help impacted communities be closer in proximity to grantmaking decisions. This was made possible because of Common Counsel Foundation’s reputation as a trusted funder ally within organizations advancing social change.
We are the only partnership between a public community foundation and Native community philanthropic advocacy organization. This unique partnership has created a learning partnership that incorporates and centers the voices of those who are most marginalized.
Together, we have moved over $9 million from over 50 funders and donors to more than 100 grant partners, with all funding decisions being guided by all Native grant recommendation committees. This is a proof of concept for how institutional philanthropy can best support Native-led organizations.
It is considered a truism, within philanthropic circles, that organizing in Native communities looks different than in non-Native communities. Native Voices Rising helps elucidate some of the characteristics frequently found among successful grassroots Native organizing efforts, including:
- Native leadership embedded in the community
- Strong community relationships
- Incorporation of Native community-centered values
- Membership and programs are multi-generational
- Direct services might be offered in coordination with organizing, advocacy, leadership development or voter engagement strategies
- An organizing or advocacy program that amplifies Native voices to win positive change in policy or corporate accountability
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.