Crossing the Divide: Philanthropy and the Native American Community

Carly Hare, Emerging Leader, International Fellows Program ~ 2006



Crossing the Divide examines current and future roles of philanthropy and community foundations within

Native American communities. It examines current efforts and research, while questioning the feasibility

for a community foundation to serve as a model for reciprocal relationships between the mainstream

funding and Native worlds.


The main research questions addressed: How are mainstream foundations currently supporting Native

national and regional nonprofits and Tribal programs? How do Native national and regional nonprofits and

the philanthropic sector collaborate to increase funding through cultural appropriate avenues? Could a

regional or Tribal community foundation serve as a connection between culturally appropriate

organizations and mainstream funding sources?


This paper seeks to develop recommendations that will help bridge the divide. Recommendations were

made after literature review, an analysis of foundation giving from 2001-2004, and surveys and interviews

with mainstream funders and Native nonprofit professionals. Crossing the divide is not just a matter of

cultural competency, but integrating native integrity and culture into philanthropic models.



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