New Report Shares How the Philanthropic Sector Can Better Welcome Native Leaders

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is pleased to announce the release of a new report that can help counter the misinformation and unchecked bias that leads to the exclusion of Native people from the philanthropic sector and thus negatively affects the funding of projects and services in Native communities.

The report is the result of a collaboration by researchers at First Nations, Frontline Solutions, and Melvin Consulting to address the lack of Native American representation within private U.S. foundations.

Data cited in “Searching for Inclusion in Philanthropy: A Guide to Equitable Practices in Foundation Hiring” reveals that 92 percent of foundation CEOs, 84 percent of executive staff, and 87 percent of foundation boards are white. This white dominance in the sector translates into foundations missing out on the ingenuity and contributions of Native Americans. Even more important is that not having Native and other people of color at the table has a direct impact on foundations’ relationships with communities and the allocation of grants and investments.

The report is featured in a new article at NonProfit Quarterly, which underscores that:

“Without Native representation in foundations, Native communities continue to be invisible, excluded, and minimized by the giving practices and overall social agendas of foundations.”

The article further explores important aspects of the report, including:

  • Why so few Native Americans are employed at private foundations
  • The role of search firms
  • Why representation, data, and storytelling are so important
  • And how to improve hiring practices and help foundations and their search firms achieve goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion

To learn more, read the NPQ article here. The full report, which is part of First Nations ongoing look at Philanthropy in Indian Country, is available for free download here.

About First Nations Development Institute

For 40 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit