organizations supporting philanthropy in Indian country honored
Creek, MI The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has announced the winners
of the 2008 National Leadership in Action Award. Two of this years
five recipients are organizations being honored for promoting economic
and professional development in Native American communities.
Seattle-based Potlatch Fund was selected for its dedication
in inspiring the Native tradition of giving in Northwest Indian
country. Alandra Washington, program director in philanthropy
and volunteerism at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, said, The
Potlatch Fund has great public giving models which they promote
throughout Indian country. They also promote leadership development,
but they are a great model and a great example of a grass roots
movement of philanthropy.
Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAIP) was selected for the award
Because of the great work they are doing with their leadership
development program and their support of Native Americans working
in the field of philanthropy, Washington said. NAIP was also
honored for promoting, facilitating, and celebrating philanthropic
giving to Native communities.
recipients of the award, both organizations received a grant in
the amount of $50,000 as well as an original painting by an emerging
W.K. Kellogg Foundation National Leadership in Action Award is in
its third year and was established to recognize, celebrate and promote
the great leadership work happening in communities of color by non-profit
and philanthropic organizations, as well as public giving institutions.
Winners were nominated by their peers and were screened by a committee
of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders from across the United States.
philanthropic givers were seen as white men. About six years ago
we realized there were new faces and new forces in philanthropy
and new forms of philanthropy that were taking place.
Looking through the lens of racial equity, we started to focus on
diversity that exists in philanthropic giving that is taking place
in communities of color, said Washington. Our working
definition of philanthropy is time, money and know how; we are looking
at how people can move from service to civics and become civically
engaged in their communities. To address challenges and come up
Director of the Potlatch Fund, Ken Gordon, said, Granting
foundations tell us they dont get many applications from American
Indian and Alaskan Native groups from Indian country in general.
So we offer grant seeker training for Indian groups and offer financial
management training and teach them how to set up a nonprofit.
addition to that we teach them how to run the nonprofits, do governance
trainings and workshops on strategic planning. We also work to educate
foundations about Indian country because many of them have never
been to a reservation or a tribal community.
Potlatch Fund works with tribes in the states of Washington, Idaho,
Oregon and Montana. In the few years the Potlatch Fund has
been working in the Pacific Northwest, the Native American and Alaskan
Native groups are getting 1.5 percent of grants from mainstream
foundations, five times higher than the national average. We dont
claim that is because of us, but something is happening in this
community and I think we have helped a bit, said Gordon.
name Potlatch comes from the coastal Salish tribe of American Indians
and has a meaning similar to a traditional giveaway. There
is a saying that people are not known by what they have, but by
what they have given away during the course of their life. The traditional
potlatch is something akin to the western notion of philanthropy,
Director of Native Americans in Philanthropy, Joy Persall, said,
It is an honor to be in that group of organizations receiving
the award and to be so highly regarded by an organization like the
W.K. Kellogg Foundation. We are honored and humbled to receive the
National Leadership in Action Award knowing that we were in the
running with a lot of dynamic and wonderful organizations.
our nonprofit organization, philanthropy is really about the giving
of time, people and resources in service to our communities. It
is so much more than money. A lot of our work is about helping people
understand the assets that we as Native people have and how to create
relationships that will make our communities better, stronger places,
other three recipients of the award were: The Twenty-First Century
Foundation, New York, N.Y.; Access, Dearborn, Mich.; and the Rose
Community Foundation, Denver, Colo.
foundations vision is to support children, families and communities
as they strengthen and create conditions that will propel vulnerable
children towards success in their communities and society. According
to Washington, the foundation gives away about $300 million dollars
in grants each year.
more information and to watch a short movie clip of the five winners,
visit www.wkkf.org or www.culturesofgiving.org.
To learn more about the Potlatch Fund visit www.potlatchfund.org
and for more information about NAIP visit www.native