Announcing 2015 Grantees

Native Voices Rising Announces Latest Grants
Supporting Native-Led Change

January 5, 2016 – Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) and Common Counsel Foundation (CCF) are pleased to announce the 2015 Native Voices Rising (NVR) grant recipients. NVR is a community-driven grant program dedicated to expanding philanthropic support for Native-led change.

Three separate regional committees of Native reviewers evaluated proposals and recommended grant recipients. A total of $151,561 was awarded to 18 grassroots Native community organizations that are involved in a wide range of organizing, advocacy, leadership development, and voter engagement activities. These organizations are collectively engaging thousands of community members across ten states. They are also working on a wide range of critical issues, from human and civil rights, to reproductive justice, to environmental health and sacred sites protection. The fall 2015 round of grantmaking brings NVR’s 2015 grantmaking total to nearly $200,0000. The complete list of recent grant recipients is below.

Half of the grantee organizations in this cycle are working to strengthen the voices and the impact of Native voters in the electoral process. This includes voter registration, voter protection, voter education and get out the vote activities from Hawaii to New Mexico, to Montana, Minnesota and South Dakota. The voter participation rate for Native Americans is among the lowest of any ethnic group, due in part to a long history of disenfranchisement. Stronger Native representation in the electoral process is one important way to address longstanding disparities and there are a number of states and districts where Native voters can have a decisive impact on local, state and federal elections.

“Philanthropy has an important role in supporting community-based advocacy, especially in such a critical election year, and Native Americans in Philanthropy is honored to be a partner in advancing issue driven initiatives in Native communities,” stated Sarah Eagle Heart, CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy.

Thanks in part to the good work of Native Americans in Philanthropy; there is a growing awareness among funders about the significant disparity in funding for Native communities. According to the latest available data, a mere 0.3 percent of foundation funding goes to support organizations and activities identified as benefiting Native Americans. Less than 25% of the organizations receiving those funds are Native-led—and a portion of the funding for non-Native organizations that is counted is also shared with other marginalized communities. So, in fact, the actual figure for funds going directly to Native issues and communities is significantly less than 0.3 percent.

NVR provides general operating support grants to strengthen Native-led organizations that are improving the lives of their community members in the United States. 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 impact their community.

NVR has granted a total of $410,000 to 43 organizations since the launch of the Initiative. We would like to thank our growing group of philanthropic partners including the Carnegie Corporation, the C.J. and Mattie Lowery Fund of Common Counsel Foundation, the Hill Snowdon Foundation, the Needmor Fund, Open Society Foundations, and the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock.

We are working to grow the fund in 2016 and beyond. Interested funders are encouraged to contact Common Counsel Foundation to learn more about contributing to the re-granting pool.

The complete list of NVR grantees and additional information can be found at
Native Voices Rising is a project of Common Counsel Foundation and Native Americans in Philanthropy.

Common Counsel Foundation is a 26-year old consortium of family foundations and donor advised funds that have joined together to grow the resources available for progressive organizations and social movements. Through CCF’s strategic philanthropic services, the Foundation prioritizes support for community-based organizations led by low-income people or people of color to advance equity and environmental sustainability. More information is available at

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2015, Native Americans in Philanthropy is a membership circle of nonprofits, tribal communities, and foundations committed to the beliefs, traditions and gifts of Native peoples. Native Americans in Philanthropy board and members hold a vision of healthy and sustainable communities enhanced by the Native spirit of generosity. This vision inspires and motivates member engagement through our mission to advance philanthropic practices grounded in native values and traditions. For more information,


  • Aloha ‘Āina Project, Honolulu, HI
  • American Indian Center – Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • California Indian Environmental Alliance, Oakland, CA
  • Chief Seattle Club, Seattle, WA
  • Four Directions Inc., Mission, SD
  • Indian Peoples Action, Butte, MT
  • MANA (Movement for Aloha no ka ‘Āina), Honolulu, HI
  • Native American Community Board, Lake Andes, SD
  • Native American Community Development Institute, Minneapolis, MN
  • Native American Voters Alliance Education Project, Albuquerque, NM
  • Native Generational Change, Missoula, MT
  • Native Public Media, Inc,  Flagstaff, AZ
  • Native Youth Leadership Alliance, Pine Ridge, SD
  • Native American Women’s Dialog on Infant Mortality, Seattle, WA
  • Rapid City Community Conversations, Rapid City, SD
  • Red Lodge Transition Services, Portland, OR
  • Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples, Santa Monica, CA
  • Western Native Voice, Billings, MT