SEATTLE— A unique donor campaign supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to benefit four Native nonprofits wraps up at midnight tonight (April 26). The Kellogg Foundation selected four Native nonprofits doing exemplary work in their communities to be a part of the challenge: Potlatch Fund, First Nations Development Institute, the Hopi Foundation, and Tiwahe Foundation.
The “Cultures of Giving Donor Challenge” is a new online giving campaign challenging donors to raise funds for nonprofit organizations that focus on high-priority issues in communities of color.
From April 17-26, every donation made to one of the 22 participating nonprofits up to the first $20,000 per nonprofit will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the foundation.
“While online giving may be relatively new to most communities of color, when you donate to any of these Native nonprofits participating in this Cultures of Giving challenge, you are practicing the tradition of giving that has always existed in Native communities,” said, Dana Arviso, executive director of the Potlatch Fund, based in Seattle.
“Potlatch Fund began giving back in 2005, and last year we awarded our millionth dollar. In 2011, we awarded $271,900 through our four grant cycles: Canoe Journey, Community Building, Native Arts, and our Cedar Tree Fund.”
For eight years now, Potlatch Fund has supported canoe families who participate in the InterTribal Canoe Journey, an annual event which began in 1989 with “The Paddle to Seattle.”
The Squaxin Island Tribe will host the 2012 final landing with the theme: Teachings of our Ancestors, and is expecting over 100 canoes and 11,000 individuals to participate in the final landing and one week protocol that follows.
Native youth are the focal point of the InterTribal Canoe Journey, which has become a multi-generational cultural renaissance in tribal communities of Washington, Oregon and beyond.
“All canoes funded by Potlatch Fund either have a strong roster of youth pullers or are comprised of Native Elders and leaders advocating for cultural preservation through sharing their knowledge,” Arviso said. “The canoes that we support are drug and alcohol free, follow traditional protocol, instill a sense of Native pride, incorporate language and environmental teachings, and provide leadership training.”
The InterTribal Canoe Journey has evolved into a dynamic agent for social change, sparking a cultural resurgence with Native youth learning traditional languages, songs and protocols so that they might welcome each other to their shores, carving skills so that they might create paddles and canoes, and weaving expertise so that they might craft hats, vests and gifts for use in the various potlatch ceremonies.
To support the Potlatch Fund, visit: http://culturesofgiving.razoo.com/story/Potlatch-Fund.
Another organization participating in the Cultures of Giving challenge is First Nations Development Institute, based in Longmont, Colorado.
President Michael E. Roberts said First Nations has been busy “building” in Indian Country for more than 30 years.
“And in doing that, we are always reinforced by our guiding belief, which is that when armed with the appropriate resources, Native Peoples hold the capacity and ingenuity to ensure the sustainable, economic, spiritual and cultural well-being of their communities,” he said.
First Nations has educated and supported hundreds of Native communities nationwide by providing the training tools, program models and financial resources required for creating, strengthening and retaining community-based nonprofits, businesses and tribal organizations. It achieves this with the support of individuals, foundations, corporations and tribal donors.
Roberts calls First Nations “a think and do tank” with a distinct propensity for action. Its areas of focus include financial and investor education, combating predatory lending, Native American business and asset development, nonprofit capacity building, and Native food and health issues.
The organization summarizes its broad scope with the tagline: “Educating — Advocating — Capitalizing.”
“We are so proud to be one of the Native American groups in this challenge, and we welcome any support to continue our work,” Roberts said. To give to First Nations during the challenge, please go to www.firstnations.org/cog.
The Tiwahe Foundation is a new Minnesota-based American Indian community foundation providing permanency for its successful 16-year American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund (AIFEP) and leadership development initiatives. Tiwahe, a Dakota word for family, guides the work of the Foundation. Ti means dwelling, wa means snow, sacred or purity, and he means stands. The foundation is a resource for giving, and strengthens American Indian communities by building capacity through leadership, culture, values and vision.
“As a new organization, this donor challenge is helping to increase our online presence, communications and donor base for future fundraising for our endowment,” said development director Kelly Drummer.
“The dollars raised from this challenge will support the American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund that has supported over 600 individuals pursing education, attaining economic stability and renewing cultural connections and traditions with over $1 million dollars in grants.”
To donate to the Tiwahe Foundation, go to http://culturesofgiving.razoo.com/story/Tiwahe-Foundation.
The Hopi Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based on the Hopi reservation and serves the Hopi community across 12 villages in Northeastern Arizona, and a project in Tucson, Arizona.
“Traditionally for the Hopi, everything was always done together; as farmers and women in preparing food or caring for their clans. The Hopi plant, cultivate, harvest and preserve their food together in an isolated environment that requires collaboration on all levels in order to survive physically and culturally,” said Monica Nuvamsa, the interim executive director. “The Hopi Foundation encourages all to participate in teaching and nurturing this tradition through the Kellogg Cultures of Giving Challenge.”
The foundation was established in 1987 by local Hopi people to promote active community participation in developing community projects and initiatives that demonstrate local self-sufficiency and self-determination through a culturally relevant and values-based approach.
The foundation acts as a catalyst, a resource generator and a convener that helps local community work collectively for the betterment of the whole.
In the Hopi context philanthropy is embodied in the principles of Sumi’nangwa, meaning to come together to do activities for the benefit of all, and Hita’nangwa as taking the initiative to support the community without having to be acknowledged for those efforts.