Native Nation Building and Government Redesign Initiative

Support Native self-determination and help governments solve problems.

Government has extraordinary power to address our region’s most pressing problems. Without a government that is responsive and effective, it is difficult to make significant, sustainable positive change in any nation or community. 

This has been the driving purpose behind our Native Nation Building work, which we remain committed to and will broaden to include state and local governments.

The goal of our Native Nation Building and Government Redesign initiative is to support Native self-determination and help governments solve problems by better understanding and designing for the people they serve.

We will continue to invest in the 23 Native nations we serve to strengthen their governance and advance the aspirations of their people. We will take what we've learned about the importance of really understanding and designing for the people you serve, beyond tribal governments to state and local governments.

Learn about our approach with our strategic initiatives.

Our Direction

Our current direction in this initiative is to take lessons learned from our nation building investments and expand it to other governments:

  1. Continue to support and advance Native nation building.
    Native nation building will remain a core focus and we will continue our commitment to strengthening tribal governance, particularly through our partnership with the Native Governance Center and the Native Nation Rebuilders program that they now manage.
  2. Strengthen intergovernmental relationships. 
    Our Native nation building investments include government to government relations. We support efforts to build better understanding and working relationships between governments and the Native nations.
  3. Build capacity for government redesign and engagement.
    We learned the importance of designing for the people you serve from our nation building investments. We see an opportunity to build government capacity to engage with and adapt for communities, as well as to reconsider public services from a human-centered perspective in order to make them work well for everyone.
Our Investments

We work in consultation with community stakeholders, issue experts, our Board of Directors and others to identify and develop investment opportunities that are best positioned to help accomplish our goals. 

Our current investments support our nation building goal of making tribal governments in our region the models that tribes around the world look to in how to exercise their self-determination for the good of their people. 

Learn about our recent major investments in nation building.

Tell us who we should know about. We do not accept unsolicited proposals for funding through our strategic initiatives. We do want to know about the people and organizations doing great work in the region. 

What We're Learning

Lessons From the Process of Creating the Native Governance Center

This report documents the development of the Native Governance Center, beginning with our work supporting the self-determination of Native nations, through the emergence of a fully independent, Native-led 501(c)(3) organization in 2015.

What's Next

We are exploring ways to inspire governments in our region to better understand people’s needs (like improved community engagement and intercultural adaptability) and ways governments can better design to meet those needs (like human-centered design).

Our intention is to focus on human services, given our organizational history in human services and the importance of human services that work well for all people in making our region better for everyone.

Our History


Organizations can apply for our Ecosystem grants, which help sustain organizations that create unique and significant value for our grantees, Fellows, Rebuilders and others.



Nation building leaders are encouraged to explore opportunities within Bush Fellowships and Change Networks.



Organizations solving problems in their communities are encouraged to explore funding within Community Innovation grants and the Bush Prize for Community Innovation.



Visit our Opportunities page or subscribe to our newsletter to stay current on what we offer.