©The Center for Effective Philanthropy 2021
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March 1, 2021

OVERLOOKED: Foundation Support for Native American Leaders and Communities

Authors: Ellie Buteau, Hannah Martin, Katarina Malmgren

Publisher: The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP)

Funders: Long Family Foundation, Margaret A Cargill Foundation

Recent years have seen increased attention from philanthropic leaders to questions about race, systemic racism, and systemic inequities. This increased attention was heightened by the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing inequities and the national protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by police. Since early 2020, some foundations have made greater efforts to address systemic inequities by increasing their funding to nonprofits serving communities of color. More than 40 percent of foundations report increasing their funding to nonprofits serving Black communities, and a little more than a quarter report doing so for nonprofits serving Latino communities. However, other communities affected by systemic inequities, including Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Native American communities, appear to have been overlooked. These communities have not received much increased support from foundations during the same period. 

Across four research studies the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) has conducted in the past two years, we've noticed two concerning trends emerge for AAPI and Native American nonprofit leaders and communities (trends that we do not see for nonprofit leaders and communities of other races/ethnicities):

1. AAPI and Native American nonprofit leaders report having less positive experiences with their foundation funders than nonprofit leaders of other races/ethnicities. This has been the case during, as well as prior to, the pandemic.

2. Despite the significant challenges facing AAPI and Native American people, most foundations continue to overlook nonprofits that serve these communities.

We are sharing these results in a two-part series. The first report in the series focuses on findings about AAPI communities and leaders. This second report focuses on findings about Native American communities and leaders. Both reports include stories of nonprofit leaders from these communities, in their own words.