Native-led social change work is at the heart of today’s social movements, from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock to the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. For a long time, philanthropy has not been part of that story. According to studies, total philanthropic dollars dedicated to Native communities, receive 0.3-0.4% off all grantmaking by philanthropic institutions.
As a response to the historic and enduring underfunding of Native-led social change efforts, we at NAP and Common Counsel Foundation created a pooled regranting collaborative called Native Voices Rising in 2013. The first of its kind, Native Voices Rising works to build broad-based support for grassroots groups led by and for Native communities. It also amplifies Native voices and solutions to historic harms around environmental, racial, and societal injustices. Native Voices Rising is not just directing funds to Native communities; it engages Native peoples to actively participate in funding decisions that influence their work.
Since 2013, we have awarded $9 million in grants to 165 unique grant partners. In honor of our tenth year of work in 2022, we set an ambitious goal to raise $10 million in a single year. We at NAP and CCF provided the first $1 million dollars to launch the campaign because we believed we could build a strong foundation in this momentous 10th year for the next 10 years of Native-led solutions. We are excited to share that we surpassed our initial expectations in less than a year’s time.
We are thrilled about this historic amount of funding to support NVR , because we know there are endless possibilities for the future of grantmaking for Native-led initiatives. After a decade, we’re as energized as ever by our collaborative model, community-led approach, and how we’ve been supporting grassroots partners.
“I am so used to what grant processes often look like, and NVR is different” said LorenAshley Buford, who acts as a community reviewer. “NVR’s model of indigenized philanthropy has been a space where I feel heard, empowered, and respected as a Native person.”
We encourage others to take up the model of participatory grantmaking, the act of ceding grant-making power to affected community members or constituencies. Native community members can and should be empowered to make grant decisions that support solutions by and for Native communities. This is at the core of our work. NVR’s milestones speak to the importance and viability of philanthropic practices that center Native voices in funding decisions. It is clear that Native Voices Rising will continue to be a model for how philanthropy can effectively support Native-led organizations.
This year’s $10 million will impact our grantmaking in 2023 and beyond. Of our total fundraising, $7.5 million will be moved directly to Native-led groups, $500,000 will support capacity building and infrastructure needs of NVR grant partners, and the remainder will support NVR’s backbone hosts (Common Counsel Foundation and Native Americans in Philanthropy).
Our work is not done so we hope to engage more foundations in deeper ways. To be an investor in NVR’s future, please visit NVR’s website at https://nativevoicesrising.org or contact Allistair Mallillin at firstname.lastname@example.org.