June 10, 2013

Native Voices Rising: A Case for Funding Native-led Change

This is a pivotal time in Native America. Opportunities are opening up as the result of improving economic standards, higher levels of educational attainment, and better health outcomes in certain regions; however, many of the challenges that have long faced our population still persist. For every major challenge and issue there are also efforts to make positive changes.

Native Voices Rising is a joint research and re-granting project of Native Americans in Philanthropy and Common Counsel Foundation intended to focus philanthropic attention on the need for increased investment in and sustained support for grassroots community organizing and advocacy in American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. Deeper and longer-term investments in community organizing and leadership development efforts will promote self-determination and the ability to develop and seek our own vision of change. This change can lead to healthy, prosperous communities that are good for Native people and consequently the entire nation. The growing sophistication of advocacy organizations at the grass tops level such as the National Congress of American Indians combined with strengthening a grassroots network that could coordinate campaign efforts on the ground in urban, rural, and tribal communities is, in our opinion, essential to building effective power.

This study was designed with the following three goals:

  1. to deepen public understanding of Native organizing and advocacy practices and challenges;
  2. to create a database of grassroots organizing entities in the field;
  3. to encourage greater philanthropic interest and support for this work.
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