35 years of strengthening Native American communities & economies
Through grant support, technical assistance and training, First Nations Development Institute provides Native communities with the tools and resources necessary to create new community-based nonprofit organizations and to strengthen the capacity of existing nonprofits. For more than 30 years, First Nations has supported hundreds of model projects that revitalize Native communities, while integrating social empowerment and economic strategies.
An essential component of First Nations' nonprofit capacity-building strategy is our Leadership, Entrepreneurial, and Apprenticeship Development (L.E.A.D.) Institute Conference that trains emerging and existing Native nonprofit leaders, including staff members from many of our grantee organizations. For more than 18 years First Nations has held an annual L.E.A.D. Institute Conference for Native American nonprofit professionals, tribal leaders and anyone interested in Native nonprofits, business and philanthropy. We widely publicize each year's conference, which is usually held in September or October, so watch for announcements about it and make plans to register and attend.
First Nations Development Institute and the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC) partnered in 2013 to conduct the three-year “Urban Native Project” aimed at “off reservation” Native American population centers. Significant funding from The Kresge Foundation and supplemental support from the Comcast Foundation makes this effort possible.
The project’s goal is to support new and expanded activities in urban American Indian environments with the goal of improving opportunities that can be attained in all Native American urban communities. During the project, First Nations and NUIFC will work directly with as many as nine urban American Indian and/or Alaska Native nonprofits to help them improve their capacity and leadership skills through customized technical assistance and training.
The project targets the 78% of American Indians/Alaska Natives who live off reservation, according to Census Bureau data. Historically, First Nations has worked with rural and reservation-based Native communities, so it partnered with NUIFC in order to bring the significant strengths of both organizations to the effort. Urban Indian organizations, some of which were launched in the 1940s and 50s, are an important support to Native families and individuals, providing cultural linkages as well as being a hub for accessing essential services.
The grantees for the 2014-2015 period were the Chief Seattle Club in Seattle, Washington; Little Earth of United Tribes, in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Native American Community Services of Erie and Niagara Counties, Inc. in New York; and the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) in Portland, Oregon.
The grantees for the 2013-2014 period were the Denver Indian Center and the Denver Indian Family Resource Center in Colorado; the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland, Oregon; and the Little Earth of United Tribes in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Since 2007, First Nations Development Institute has partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice through its Office on Violence Against Women Tribal Affairs Unit to provide critically-needed technical assistance to build the capacity of the 21 Native American nonprofit tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions in the United States. First Nations provides one-on-one tailored training and technical assistance through in-person site visits to the coalitions, as well as customized training Institutes that provide leadership development, organizational management, program development, and community engagement.
The Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition (MIWSAC) located in St. Paul, Minnesota is one of three state tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions. MIWSAC hosts several programs in areas of education and training, membership and outreach, and public awareness that aim to educate the community on how to identify and stop violence against American Indian women and children. The Barrette Project at MIWSAC honors survivors of sexual violence in a display that anonymously recounts survivors' stories. The MIWSAC has created this platform where the stories of survivors can be heard in a safe way.