Native Americans in Philanthropy
2017 recipient
The Blanket Ceremony

2017 Philanthropist of the Year Award

We honor the Native tradition of giving each year by recognizing outstanding philanthropists within Indian Country.

Native Americans in Philanthropy is a membership-based organization that promotes reciprocity and meaningful investment in, with, and for Native peoples to build healthy and sustainable communities for all.

Indigenous communities are the original philanthropists, and Native Americans in Philanthropy draws upon our communities’ traditions to advocate for greater investments in Indian Country. The Native Americans in Philanthropy creation story begins at the 1989 Council of Foundations conference. At this national philanthropy convening of over 2000, a small delegation of Indigenous philanthropic professionals recognized the need for more diverse voices in the sector and a platform in philanthropy to raise awareness and advocate for funding to Native and tribal communities.

Over the past 27 years, Native Americans in Philanthropy has become a powerful and continuously growing network of Native and non-Native nonprofits, tribal communities, foundations and community leaders committed to engaging, learning and sharing resources and best practices grounded in Native values and traditions. Native Americans in Philanthropy has been a consistent advocate for the protection of tribal sovereignty, land and water rights, women rights, and Native youth healing. Through partnerships and cross-movement advocacy efforts, our organization works to elevate key issues and to address the pressing needs of our communities with culturally comprehensive approaches.

Over the past year, these efforts have led to initiating a relationship between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Wallace Global Fund during an educational funders tour in Standing Rock, resulting in a pledge of $1.25 million towards renewable energy efforts and $250,000 cash gift. With Generation Indigenous (#GenIndigenous), an initiative for Native youth first started by the Obama administration in 2014, we’ve amplified the work of nonprofits serving Native youth and their communities through a philanthropic White House event, regional convenings, the Native Voices Rising granting collaboration to increase advocacy and civic engagement, and the #GenIndigenous Response Fund which provides grants to youth organizing groups responding to the current moment in ways that build long-term power for Native youth. We held a one-day summit in Los Angeles, California, curating powerful conversation among leaders dedicated to cross-movement building. And earlier this year, Native Americans in Philanthropy helped convene hundreds of Native men and women to advocate for Indigenous issues at the Women's March in Washington, DC with the Indigenous Women Rise collective.

All are welcome to join the Native Americans in Philanthropy circle: anyone and everyone interested in including Native peoples in creating deep and long-lasting impact, systemic and sustainable change in all of our communities. Together, we power reciprocity and investment in Native communities. Join the Circle online at

Past Awards