Oakland, Calif. – Native Voices Rising (NVR), a collaborative partnership between Native Americans in Philanthropy and Common Counsel Foundation, is pleased to announce $1,500,000 of grant awards to 89 Native-led groups (with nearly half of funds going to new grant partners) empowering 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. A full list of this year’s grant awards can be found at www.NativeVoicesRising.org.
Native Voices Rising welcomed 38 new grant partners this cycle. These new partners received grants ranging from $10,000-$30,000, with an average grant size of $19,342. NVR’s returning grant partners each received $15,000, augmenting previous awards made in Spring 2020.
Since 2013, Native Americans in Philanthropy and the Common Counsel Foundation have partnered in a grantmaking collaborative designed to support organizing, advocacy, and civic engagement in tribal communities. Between the spring and fall cycles in 2020, $2 million in funding was awarded to over 85 Indigenous-led organizations across the country. Native Voices Rising establishes a mechanism for funders to invest in organizations led by Native people through a grantmaking vehicle whose decision makers are also members of Native communities. NVR grantee partners are also invited to be part of a learning and capacity building community that provides trainings and peer-to-peer support to build collective power.
“In addition to increasing funding to Native-led organizations, one of the most important parts of our mission with Native Voices Rising is to create a movement of funders who want to empower Native community members and leaders to make those funding decisions,” said Erik Stegman (Carry the Kettle Nakoda), Executive Director of Native Americans in Philanthropy. “We know our relatives across the country are the best experts about the needs and investment opportunities in their own communities.”
As in previous years, Native Voices Rising grant partners are working on an array of issues including the promotion of Indigenous worldview, Native sovereignty, environmental and water justice, economic development, reproductive justice, civic engagement, voting rights, and more. 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.
“We have always known that Native Voices Rising is unique. When it started, there was a dearth of philanthropic initiatives putting decision-making into the hands of Native leaders,” says Peggy Saika, Executive Director of Common Counsel Foundation. “In surpassing the million-dollar mark, Native Voices Rising has shown what is possible when you trust the lived experiences of Native communities. This pandemic has been disastrous, but it is not new to Native communities. We take a lot of inspiration from the resilience and accountability we daily see across Native communities.”
The collaborative approach of Native Voices Rising’s grantmaking provides a clear path 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 $3.5M to Native-led efforts throughout the country. In 2021, our goal is to significantly increase the number of Native youth-led and youth-serving organizations being funded in our Native Voices Rising community, with applications being reviewed by Native youth leaders. NVR’s guiding light will be increasing to $10 million per year in grants awarded by 2025.