Nonprofits that work to improve the lives of American Indians in the Pacific Northwest are having more success raising money from foundations, according to a new study of 76 philanthropies. That growth comes even as giving to Native American organizations elsewhere appears to be shrinking.
Grant makers in the study gave $19-million to benefit Indian organizations and communities in the Pacific Northwest in 2010, 16 percent more than in 2008. The gains came despite a 24-percent overall decline in giving by those same foundations during that period.
Two foundations propelled most of the growth: the Rasmuson Foundation, in Alaska, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in Michigan.
The study, conducted by Philanthropy Northwest, a membership group, found that the median grant to Indian causes in that region was $9,000.
By contrast, a 2011 analysis of more than 1,000 of the country’s largest grant makers by the Foundation Center and Native Americans in Philanthropy, which counted only grants of $10,000 or more, found that the national picture for fundraising by Indian groups is less upbeat.
According to that study, foundation support for American Indians declined as a share of total giving, from 0.5 percent to 0.3 percent. And giving was concentrated among a handful of donors. Nearly 60 percent of money for Indian causes came from 10 foundations, according to the study.