updated 5/3/2011 11:47:10 AM ET 2011-05-03T15:47:10

MINNEAPOLIS, May 3, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Over the past decade, U.S. foundation support explicitly benefiting Native Americans declined from 0.5 percent to 0.3 percent of total foundation giving. According to Foundation Funding for Native American Issues and Peoples , released today by Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) and the Foundation Center, total grant dollars targeting Native Americans dropped 30.8 percent in the latest year, compared to a 12.4 percent overall downturn in foundation giving. Although the number of foundation grants benefiting Native Americans remained far more consistent during much of this period, grant dollars were down more than 10 percent from 2008 to 2009.

"Only a small number of U.S. foundations target funding for the direct benefit of Native Americans," said Steven Lawrence, director of research at the Foundation Center. "This report documents the current reality and offers specific ways that other grantmakers might become engaged."

Other key findings of the report include:

  • The top 10 funders for Native Americans in 2009 accounted for close to 60 percent of grant dollars.
  • Education received the largest share of foundation giving for Native Americans in 2009.
  • Most foundation funding for Native Americans in 2009 supported organizations not affiliated with tribal governments.
  • Recipients located in three of the country's seven major regions (Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest) captured more than two-thirds of grant dollars benefiting Native Americans in 2009.
  • Eight of the top 25 recipients are Native-led or for the exclusive benefit of Native Americans.

Foundation Funding for Native American Issues and Peoples documents trends in giving based on actual grants awarded by over 1,000 of the largest U.S. foundations. The report also features essays by leaders in the field of Native American philanthropy, research, and education — Louis T. Delgado and Dr. Sarah Hicks — which provide context for understanding funding trends and recommendations for grantmaker engagement.

"We encourage the use of this report to expand knowledge and understanding across mainstream philanthropy to improve and deepen partnerships in the philanthropic sector," says Carly Hare, executive director of NAP. "Native Americans in Philanthropy will use this report to educate the philanthropic sector about these imbalances and encourage investments into Native communities and programs. By engaging our members, allies, and the philanthropic sector, we will build toward our vision of healthy, sustainable Native communities enhanced by the spirit of generosity."

Foundation Funding for Native American Peoples and Issues (PDF) can be downloaded at no charge from the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's web site, as well as the Native Americans in Philanthropy web site.

Cheryl Loe
Communications Project Manager
The Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701
communications@foundationcenter.org

Y. Elaine Stephens
Director of Development and Communications
Native Americans in Philanthropy
(612) 724-8798, ext. 2
yestephens@nativephilanthropy.org

About the Foundation Center

Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of 450 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and beyond. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230.

About Native Americans in Philanthropy

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) holds a vision of healthy and sustainable communities enhanced by the Native spirit of generosity. Comprised of funders, non-profits, tribal leaders, and individuals, the vision inspires and motivates member engagement to advance philanthropic practices grounded in Native values and traditions — our mission. To advance the mission, our framework is centered on three strategic directions: engage Native and non-Native practitioners of philanthropy to focus on sustainable Native communities; educate to instill Native philanthropic values into contemporary practice; and empower Native philanthropic leadership to be effective practitioners. NAP is comprised of individuals who seek to enrich the lives of Native people through bridging mainstream philanthropy and indigenous communities to foster understanding and increase effectiveness. For more information about Native Americans in Philanthropy visit nativephilanthropy.org or call (612) 724-8798.

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