Funding for Indigenous Peoples Cuts Across Issue Areas, Report Finds

While few funders have grant programs dedicated to indigenous peoples, the funders that currently support these communities often do so across a range of issue areas, a new guide from GrantCraft, a service of Foundation Center, and International Funders for Indigenous Peoples finds.

Based on a survey, interviews, and other resources, the report, Funding Indigenous Peoples: Strategies for Support (40 pages, PDF), found that less than 1 percent of total international grants of at least $10,000 awarded in 2012 by a sample of a thousand large U.S. foundations were designated specifically for indigenous peoples. Donors supporting these communities did so, however, through program funding in areas such as the environment (41 percent), human rights and civil liberties (25 percent), international affairs (12 percent), international development (12 percent), health (3 percent), arts and culture (2 percent), education (2 percent), and science (2 percent). The guide provides an overview of indigenous issues and programs, funding strategies and approaches, tools and discussion questions for grantmakers, definitions of key terms, and additional resources.

According to the report, funders working with indigenous communities employ a variety of strategies, ranging from directly funding indigenous organizations and indigenous-led philanthropies, as the Christensen Fund does with the Kivulini Trust in Kenya, to supporting NGOs and intermediaries that work with and channel support to these communities, as the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation does with the Instituto del Bien ComĂșn in Peru.

"More and more funders are starting to realize that indigenous communities are not only cost-effective partners, but also bring long-lasting impact to programs," said IFIP executive director Evelyn Arce.

"Funders driven to make a dent in persistent issues need to learn from what others have done, and how they have done it," said GrantCraft director Jen Bokoff. "For those seeking to understand how partnering with indigenous populations can advance mutual goals, this guide will get you on the right track."

"New GrantCraft Guide Explores Grantmaking to Support Indigenous Peoples." Foundation Center and International Funders for Indigenous Peoples Press Release 11/09/2015.