Mission: To strengthen the circle of giving by uniting Native organizations to raise awareness and support for the communities it serves; to better serve Native communities by becoming more effective Native nonprofit organizations; and to ensure that nonprofits working on behalf of Native communities observe the highest levels of ethical standards and fiscal responsibility.
About the organization: Founded in 2006 by the American Indian College Fund, American Indian Science and Engineering Society, Association on American Indian Affairs, First Nations Development Institute, National Indian Child Welfare Association, Native American Rights Fund, and Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Native Ways Federation is focused on advocacy, the strengthening of nonprofits serving Native communities, and donor education. In helping donors better understand the ethical considerations around giving in Indian Country, the organization addresses a gap a that has historically resulted in bringing more harm than good to Native people and communities as well as to the nonprofits who serve them.
Current programs: The organization's programs include the Native Ways Workplace Giving, which the Native Ways Federation partners with organizations and tribes to implement at employer sites; and the Native Ways Membership Program, in which member nonprofits observe membership principles designed to protect donors' investments, including sharing a commitment to bettering the lives of Native people and pursuing that goal through excellence in the areas of nonprofit integrity, organizational mission, program service standards and activities, governance and leadership, honest operating practices, and fiscal transparency and accountability.
COVID-19 response: In response to the pandemic, Native Ways Federation issued a call to action for funders to increase philanthropic support for Native communities, which have been disproportionately impacted. Native communities have higher incidences of chronic illness, inter-generational trauma with severe health consequences, homelessness, poverty, food and water insecurity, unemployment, and a vast digital divide, with many people living in small remote communities or reservations with limited access to medical care, water, and supplies. The organization also offered tips and resources to nonprofits for responding to and planning for recovery from the crisis.
Website: Visitors to the Native Ways Federation website can read about its new executive director, Carly Bad Heart Bull, who was appointed in March 2020, take action in support of Native communities by participating in its advocacy work, or check out the latest news.