News and Insights

Philanthropy Northwest Diaries: Alaska On My Mind

06/28/2018

Kiran Ahuja | On a recent trip to Anchorage, after engaging with local philanthropic leaders and learning about Alaska’s unique attributes and challenges, it dawned on me the many lessons funders in the lower 48 can glean from Alaska’s philanthropic leaders. In a geographically large state with a small population, funders wear multiple hats and coordinate easily across organizations to address formidable challenges – including homelessness, lack of affordable housing and healthcare services, access to high-quality P-16 education, workforce development and much, much more.

From this recent visit and in my role with Philanthropy Northwest over the past year, I’d like to share my observations about the unique positioning of philanthropy in Alaska. more »

Building Long-Term Power for Native American Youth

04/05/2017

Jennifer Fairbanks, Native Americans in Philanthropy | #GenIndigenous Regional Convenings, in partnership with Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) and My Brother's Keeper, give philanthropy the opportunity to engage with innovative and culturally appropriate approaches to improve lives and opportunities for Native youth. We welcome funders committed to communities in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming to join us at the Northwest Regional Convening, April 28 at Seattle Foundation. more »

Investing in the Health & Prosperity of Native Youth

09/01/2016

Maya Thornell-Sandifor | Given that our region has two states, Washington and Alaska, that are among the top 10 states with the largest Native American populations in the nation, Philanthropy Northwest has a vested interest in increasing awareness of opportunities for philanthropy to support programming for Native communities. Last week, we joined the White House and Native Americans in Philanthropy for the second Generation Indigenous gathering to highlight promising practices in programming that support the development and leadership of Native American youth. Our 2016 conference, Under One Sky, features several sessions and a learning tour related to Native communities, too. more »

Generation Indigenous: Why Native American Youth Can't Wait

08/19/2016

Edgar Villanueva, Native Americans in Philanthropy | Like other youth of color, Native American and Alaska Natives in cities and communities across the United States face challenges. Natives Americans have endured a history of racism and colonialism that has resulted in multi-generational trauma. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Native youth between the ages of 15 and 24 — and that rate is two and a half times the national average. Native youth are five times more likely to end up in the criminal justice system than whites, where they receive disproportionately harsher sentences, and are more likely to be killed by police than any other racial group. Moreover, Native Americans are often categorized in data and reports as "statistically insignificant" or "other," erasing their very existence as a disadvantaged minority. As a result, too many programs, policies, and systems — not to mention philanthropy — ignore or overlook them. I urge philanthropy to see the tremendous potential in our Native communities. And I extend an invitation to all grantmakers to join us at the White House on August 26 for Generation Indigenous: Raising Impact With Innovation and Proven Strategies, where we will seek to engage the philanthropic community in a dialogue about expanding support for Native youth. more »

Northwest Area Foundation Awards $1.2M in Oregon, Washington

05/06/2016

The Northwest Area Foundation approved 20 grants worth $2 million in the first quarter of 2016, focused on advancing good jobs and financial capability by funding grantees whose work creates enterprise development, access to capital, workforce opportunity, and financial inclusion for low-income communities, with a special focus on those that are Native, communities of color or immigrant. The Minnesota-based foundation makes grants across the country; more than half of the first quarter grants went to organizations in Oregon and Washington. more »

Reflecting on Racial Equity and Civic Engagement

02/11/2016

Gloris Estrella, Program Associate | When the opportunity to join First Alaskans Institute's “Partners for the Next 10,000 Years … A Racial Equity Summit” arose earlier this month, I literally jumped out of my swivel chair with excitement! After gathering 200 people together in a room, all of us passionate about empowering communities and dismantling hundreds of years of oppression, we were bound to walk away with something like a solution, right? Well, not quite. We need to think more about restructuring the current system that is failing so many. More philanthropists should get their hands on the ground, side by side with the communities they so deeply care about. Join the marches, attend town hall meetings, convene your grantees and local businesses around racial tensions they face, write to your local representatives, audit internal policies and ensure they are equitable and inclusive. In an election year, it's even more imperative that philanthropists be at the forefront of the issues we care about. more »

Northwest Area Foundation Grants $13M to Communities of Color

02/11/2016

Northwest Area Foundation, a Minnesota-based Philanthropy Northwest member with a grantmaking footprint that includes Montana, Oregon, Washington and 75 Native nations, awarded $13.4 million through 120 grants in 2015. The awards made in late 2015, announced this month, totaled nearly $5 million to 43 organizations in its region, including six organizations in Oregon and Washington. more »

Experimenting and Experiencing: What We Learned at Local Matters: Alaska + Indigenous Communities

11/16/2015

Lyn Hunter, Senior Program Manager | One of our challenges was understanding ourselves how different this gathering would be and then, of course, communicating it. Guided by our board, our Alaska Native and Native American leaders and allies, and our ongoing commitment to community building in Indian Country, we suspected that we were onto something big. What happened exceeded our wildest expectations. Here are the themes we heard from participants, in their own words. more »

Philanthropy Is... Indigenous Ways of Knowing

10/21/2015

Jeff Clarke, CEO | The fourth stop of our Local Matters 2015 series found us in Anchorage, Alaska with leaders from more than 35 organizations, from Bristol Bay to Washington, D.C. For many, it was a life-changing experience. We were welcomed as guests to First Alaskans Institute's 32nd annual Elders and Youth Conference and to the Alaska Federation of Natives — National Congress of American Indians 4th annual Tribal Conference with state and federal policy makers. We were privy to the inner workings of a 10,000-year-old culture as elders passed on their wisdom and traditions to a new generation of Native voices. Despite more than 220 federally recognized tribes in Alaska, each community was honored and rejoiced equally, and spent a week united in both the challenges they share and the opportunities that lie ahead. more »

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