Giving by U.S. Foundations to Indigenous Peoples Ticks Lower, Report Finds

Over the last ten years, foundation funding that explicitly benefits Native Americans has declined from 0.5 percent to 0.3 percent of total foundation giving, a new report from Native Americans in Philanthropy and the Foundation Center finds.

Based on grants awarded by more than a thousand of the largest U.S. foundations, the report, Foundation Funding for Native American Issues and Peoples, found that total grant dollars targeting Native Americans between 2008 and 2009 dropped 30.8 percent, compared to a drop of 12.4 percent in overall foundation giving over the same period. The report also found that while the number of grants benefiting Native Americans remained far more consistent, the number of grants still declined more than 10 percent from 2008 to 2009.

The report also found that the top ten funders for Native Americans in 2009 accounted for close to 60 percent of the grant dollars awarded; that education received the largest share of foundation giving for Native Americans; and that the majority of foundation funding for Native Americans supported organizations not affiliated with tribal governments. In addition, the report found that eight of the top twenty-five grant recipients were Native-led or chartered for the exclusive benefit of Native Americans, while recipients in three of the country's seven major regions (Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest) captured more than two-thirds of the grant dollars benefiting Native Americans.

"Native Americans in Philanthropy will use this report to educate the philanthropic sector about these imbalances and encourage investments into Native communities and programs," said Carly Hare, executive director of NAP. "By engaging our members, allies, and the philanthropic sector, we will build toward our vision of healthy, sustainable Native communities enhanced by the spirit of generosity."

"Foundation Funding for U.S. Indigenous Peoples in Decline." Foundation Center Press Release 05/03/2011.