First Nations’ Native American Fund for Health Equity launched in 2022 to increase philanthropic investment in Native American organizations and tribes in Colorado that are promoting health equity on their own terms, including by perpetuating Native languages and cultural practices.
With support from a two-year $1.5 million grant from the Colorado Health Foundation, First Nations formed a Native American Advisory Committee to invite Native-led nonprofit organizations and tribes across the state to propose investments in the programs, services, infrastructure and capacity needed to advance health equity for Native Americans.
As of spring 2023, the committee has distributed $750,000 in funds to projects addressing multiple aspects of health equity, including housing, behavioral and physical healthcare, wellness, youth and elder services, emergency assistance, family support, community organizing, infrastructure, cultural programming, and more.
Community partners include:
- Southern Ute Indian Tribe
- Four Winds American Indian Council
- Haseya Advocate Program
- Indigenous Wellbriety Program of Southwestern Colorado Area Health Education Center
Additional grantees are being identified.
Advancing philanthropic support for Native-led organizations and causes
An important goal of this project is to further promote health equity by raising awareness of the underinvestment in Native communities by Colorado foundations and build relationships between Native organizations and tribes in Colorado with philanthropic institutions in the state.
Research by First Nations has found that only one-tenth of one percent (.1%) of Colorado philanthropy is awarded to Colorado Native American tribes and community-based organizations.
This finding adds to research published by First Nations in 2018, which examined community foundation giving to Native American communities and causes across 10 states. This research similarly found that, on average 15/100ths of one percent (.15%) of community foundation funding in this 10-state region goes to Native American organizations and causes annually. The findings suggest that there is very little funding interaction between Native communities and local community foundations.
Colorado Health Foundation reports it hopes that demonstrating this commitment to transparency and equity will galvanize other grantmakers to deepen investment in Native-led initiatives.
- Press release: May 23, 2023: Native American Grants to Support Access to Health
- Press release: March 3, 2022: First Nations Receives Support to Promote Health Equity in Colorado
- More First Nations’ work toward Strengthening Native American Philanthropy