Investments in Action

Connect with the transformative work taking place in Native communities across the U.S., and learn about the unique experiences Indigenous peoples face.

Spherical Acoma seed pot painted in geometric patterns

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Illustration of a turtle with a colorful shell, representing the colors of the different issue areas

The turtle is symbolic for many different reasons. Some tribes believe it represents life, protection, and good medicine. Generally, Native people honor the turtle and all it symbolizes.


“Native youth have shown that they are invested in a better future—not just for Native people, but for all Americans. Philanthropy is hereby challenged to take the lead and invest in the power of their potential to create social change.”

- Original Instructions: A Challenge to Philanthropy to Expand Health and Educational Opportunities for Native Youth

Who's Working in this Area?

  • The Center for Native American Youth is a national advocacy organization working to improve the health, safety, and overall well-being of Native American youth ages 24 and under.

  • UNITY, Inc.’s mission is to foster the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth and to help build a strong, unified, and self-reliant Native America through greater youth involvement.

See who else is working in Youth


  • As part of a federal push for assimilation, Native children were forcibly enrolled in boarding schools between 1869 and the 1960s, where they were forbidden to use their own language or practice their culture. Boarding School Healing
  • By 1926, nearly 83% of Native school-age children were attending boarding schools operated by the federal government, where many faced physical, sexual, cultural, and spiritual abuse. Boarding School Healing
  • The number of AI/AN students enrolled in colleges and universities and the number of postsecondary degrees awarded more than doubled in the past 30 years. National Center for Education Statistics
  • Still, 14% of AI/ANs 25 years and older have a college degree, compared to 30% of the overall U.S. population. American Indian College Fund

“Education is a form of sovereignty. Education is a form of transformation. Education is revolutionary. And we get to do it every single day, to connect [to] our culture and put it into practice.”

- Henry Jake Foreman, Native American Community Academy

NACA: A Place We Call Home

Who's Working in this Area?

  • The Native American Community Academy is a public charter school in Albuquerque, NM that approaches education holistically, nurturing a secure identity, promoting Indigenous values, and preparing students for college.

  • ʻAha Pūnana Leo is a leader in the Hawaiian language revitalization movement. This Native Hawaiian nonprofit also promotes innovations in academic learning, teacher development, family resources, and site accreditation.

See who else is working in Education

Climate Justice & Environment

“Indigenous peoples are living with the overlapping effects of colonialism, industrial exploitation and climate change. However, we retain a powerful commitment to protecting all that generates life, both within our ancestral practices and the life-giving forces within the land. This is why Indigenous peoples throughout the world—and primarily Indigenous women and girls—are at the very forefront of movements for decolonization and climate justice.”

- Siku Allooloo, an Inuit-Taino writer and community organizer from Denendeh (Northwest Territories, Canada)

Who's Working in this Area?

  • The Indigenous Environmental Network was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues.

  • Honor the Earth works to raise public awareness and direct funds to grassroots Native environmental groups. They use music, the arts, media, and Indigenous wisdom to ask people to recognize our joint dependency on the Earth and be a voice for those not heard.

See who else is working in Climate Justice & Environment


  • The rate of known [coronavirus] cases in the eight counties with the largest populations of Native Americans is nearly double the national average. The New York Times
  • 19% of AI/ANs lacked health insurance coverage in 2017, compared with 9% of the general population U.S. Census
  • 23% of Native Americans reported experiencing discrimination when going to a doctor or health clinic. Harvard Opinion Research Program
  • Through land treaty agreements, AI/ANs have legal rights to federal health care services. Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity

“Traditional indigenous systems of care provide a blueprint to model new healing strategies that have the potential to extend health promotion beyond the individual to the collective.”

- "Indigenous Native American Healing Traditions” in The Journal for Nurse Practitioners

2018 Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Year in Review: Connecting Tribal Health

Who's Working in this Area?

  • The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium partners with Tribal health organizations to provide comprehensive medical services, wellness programs, disease research and prevention, and other services to Natives living in Alaska.

  • I Ola Lāhui in Hawai'i provides effective, culturally-minded psychology services for chronic diseases such as diabetes and more traditional mental health needs such as anxiety, depression, and trauma. They also train psychologists to work with Native Hawaiian and rural communities.

See who else is working in Health


“In our communities, there’s no shortage of entrepreneurs, and no shortage of creative energy. Sometimes, all you need is the right kind of partnership to help that energy take shape.”

- Ted Piccolo, Northwest Native Development Fund

Who's Working in this Area?

  • The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is working on a Ventures Poverty Reduction Plan, which focuses on promoting income-generating opportunities in remote settlements, providing youth internships, and establishing financial literacy and individual savings programs.

  • American Indigenous Business Leaders is a nonprofit organization designed to increase the representation of American Indians and Alaska Natives in business and entrepreneurial ventures through education and leadership development opportunities.

See who else is working in Employment

Women & Girls

  • In 2014, there were 147 AI/AN women elected to serve as tribal leaders (26% of all tribal leaders), more than double that of the 12% of female state governors nationwide. NCAI Policy Research Center
  • More than 4 in 5 AI/AN women have experienced violence, and more than half have experienced sexual violence. National Congress of American Indians
  • 96% of AI/AN female victims of sexual violence experienced violence at the hands of a non-Native perpetrator. National Congress of American Indians
  • In 2016, 5,712 Indigenous women and girls were reported missing, but only 116 were logged in the federal missing persons database. Urban Indian Health Institute

“Statistics define the scale of the problem, but do nothing to convey the experience of the epidemic. They tell part of the story but fail to account for the devastating impacts this violence [on women] has on the survivors, Indian families, Native communities, and Indian nations themselves.”

- Indian Law Resource Center

Who's Working in this Area?

  • Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples’ Thriving Women project works toward a world without violence against women through projects that include leadership development, emergency shelter and crisis support services, issue advocacy, educational workshops, and traditional approaches to healing and protection.

  • White Earth's DOVE (Down On Violence Everyday) program serves Native and non-Native victims who live on or near the White Earth Reservation and who have suffered from sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, dating violence, elder abuse, and general crime.

See who else is working in Women & Girls