THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2014
White House and USDA to Honor “Champions of Change” for Agriculture
We often receive unsolicited testimonials from grantees about our financial support, training or technical assistance, and we also receive supportive notes from our donors. Here are a few examples:
Thank you so much! None of this would have been possible without the generous support of First Nations Development Institute. You may never know the children you are helping, but you put a smile on their faces. Soul of Nations appreciates your generous donation. Your monetary support is helping to finance the Soul of Nations Brea Foley Art Program.
- Soul of Nations, Inc.
Hi from Gedakina. We wanted to thank FNDI for all its efforts over the years opening doorways to funders for tribes and nonprofits across Indian Country. This past summer we received a three-year grant from the NoVo Foundation, and this past week we received a two-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. We know that prior to FNDI developing relations with these national foundations, rarely did they fund programs in Indian Country. So again, we would like to say Olwini (Thanks)!
- Gedakina, Inc.
Dear First Nations,
Thank you for your generous support of Chugach Regional Resource Commission's (CRRC) food assessment endeavors. Thanks to First Nations, the Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative, and the NoVo Foundation, CRRC is in the midst of understanding the issue of changing diets and disappearing traditional foods in our region.
- Chugach Regional Resource Commission
Dear Mr. Roberts,
Thank you! Because of you, we can continue toward the development of sustainable, healthy, culturally and eco-sensitive community and economic projects for the Aaniiih and Nakoda Nations to ensure self-sufficience of future generations.
We are so honored and privileged to have you as a donor and thank you for investing in our organization and in the communities we serve on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana. Your generous gift will go to good use.
- Fort Belknap Community Economic Development Corporation
Dear Friends at First Nations Development Institute,
On behalf of FAST Blackfeet, THANK YOU!
Your generous funding of $10,000 allows us to continue our food security and food sovereignty work. The grant ... is making it possible for us to determine areas of need on the Blackfeet Reservation and the best ways to address them in our communities.
- FAST Blackfeet (Food Access and Sustainability Team)
Your note was a beautiful surprise and made my day, and also made me want to share a couple of reasons why I wanted to be a partner in your work and mission:
For decades I supported a Native American project in New Mexico which seems to do good work. Then I attended a couple of seminars on philanthropy and got an education on what I should have looked for years ago. I had never looked into the project's financial practices or what percentage of their income went to the project versus administration, how many Native Americans were on their staff, and what they were doing to permanently improve the lives of their people, i.e. giving fish versus teaching to fish. I asked for a copy of their Annual Report and was told it would be sent, but never received it. I asked for a copy of their 2013 financial report and was told it would be sent, but never received it. I wrote a note saying I would no longer be supporting them because of their lack of transparency and response.
I understand, respect and appreciate the desire of Native Americans to retain their land, spirituality, culture, language, skills and knowledge of their ancestry and history in this land. There is so much that can be learned from each unique Nation; I celebrate your wealth of assets, and the strength of a people who have excelled in government, finance (like you), craftsmanship, sciences, entertainment, journalism, etc., striving and overcoming so much.
Starting to look for a Native American organization to partner with, I found that First Nations Development Institute stood out above all others. Charity Navigator and your extensive website consolidated everything I wanted to know. When I first made a contribution, I didn't even ask for an annual report and the 2014 issue was sent to me. Responses from your staff have been warm, welcoming, educational, and have made me feel a part of something truly unique - a place where I feel confident that any contribution I can make will make a difference.
‘Gunalcheesh’ for all that you have done through your many years there, Mike; your dedication, communications and financial skills, but more than that, your character and leadership at the helm of First Nations and Oweestra are tremendous assets.
I am your friend and partner in the journey forward.
- First Nations Donor
The fourth consecutive year of a 4-Star rating is well-deserved. This rating is essential to me and many others when we evaluate organizations to support. I have had up-close and personal contact with First Nations and the recipients of its grants … Without question Native peoples are receiving great benefit from First Nations’ work.
- First Nations Donor
The Charity Navigator rating was a large factor in my initial support of First Nations, but I've been doubly impressed by the people within the organization itself. They are smart, thorough, dedicated and deeply committed to the mission. I am proud to be a contributor to this organization.
- First Nations Donor
I have been working at the College of Charleston as the Restorative Agriculture Director. I first became acquainted with your programs through the "Nourishing Native Foods and Health Program," specifically during my ethnographic and community work with local Native tribes while studying at the college. The "Seeds of Native Health" and the Native Seed Company both have provided tremendous inspiration to incorporate, honor and prioritize First Nations peoples, Native rights, and my own Native roots through agriculture.
Now, at this time of my life, your resources on predatory lending have been instrumental in personally coping with student loans, and understanding how to combat this type of abuse through empowerment and knowledge (not only as an individual, but as a community). All this to say that I am deeply grateful for the work that your team is sharing with communities all over the country!
- College of Charleston Restorative Agriculture
(We received this email after issuing an announcement of how our undercover report spurred the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Navajo Nation to take action against an unscrupulous tax-preparation company that was preying on Native taxpayers.)
Great job First Nations! I live in Gallup and the Natives have tried to get predatory lending outlawed because it's keeping Natives and other poor people locked into poverty. If Arizona has outlawed these types of loan companies, it should be possible for New Mexico. Thanks also for the financial training that First Nations provides with Natives and students in the Gallup area.
- Navajo Nation Citizen