Our support for community challenges

COVID-19 Racial Injustice

Strategic Initiative

Native Nation Building and Government Redesign Initiative

The idea: support Native self-determination and help governments solve problems by better understanding and designing for the people they serve.

We have been actively working on supporting Native self-determination since 2009. We have focused most of our efforts on supporting tribal governments to build capacity to exercise sovereignty.

In recent years, we’ve been considering ways we can expand what we have learned in working with Native nations to other governments in the region. We’ve been particularly focused on how governments can better understand the needs of the people they serve and better design policies and programs to meet those needs.

Why do we believe this is a great idea?

This initiative is fundamentally about improving government capacity to solve problems and make our region better for everyone.

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 nation building work from the beginning. We were influenced by research that showed strong governance was a critical factor in successful efforts by tribes to advance their own goals, particularly related to economic development. We believe that addressing any of the economic and community challenges within Indian Country requires strong and stable governing institutions.

In our work with tribes over the past decade we have learned the importance of really understanding and designing for the people you serve. We believe this lesson applies to state and local governments in our region as well. 

Major Investments

Our Nation building work is anchored by our partnership with the Native Governance Center (NGC).  We helped to launch the NGC in 2015 in response to demand we heard for direct assistance in support tribe’s nation building efforts.

Together with NGC, we offer the Native Nation Rebuilders Program. The Rebuilders program brings together Native leaders from around the region to learn about innovative tribal governance practices, strengthen their leadership skills and connect with others who are passionate about building a brighter future for their nation.

Check out other current and past investments related to Native nation building and government redesign.

Funding and Learning Opportunities

We encourage people working to advance nation building or government redesign to apply through our open grant programs.  (Note that we’ll be making some changes to our open grant programs to be more open and responsive to the communities we serve. Stay tuned!)

We are not seeking other investments related to this initiative outside of these open programs at this time. We do occasionally have special funding and learning opportunities. To be in the loop, please sign up for our e-newsletters or follow us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn or Twitter.