9 Best Charities for Native Americans (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities for Native Americans (Complete 2022 List)

By
Olivia Lopez

Read Time:17 Minutes

Follow
this site

follow follow

Impactful Ninja is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more Learn more .

Affiliate Disclosure

Hey fellow impactful ninja ?

You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts.

  • Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click.

  • But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend.

Why do we add these product links?

First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide.

And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.

What do these affiliate links mean for you?
  1. First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you.

  2. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you.

  3. And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you.

What do these affiliate links mean for us?
  1. When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it.

  2. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you).

  3. And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself.

What does this mean for me personally?

You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money.

Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go.

Stay impactful,

The US is home to several Native American tribes, many of which have been around for centuries. Today, numerous Native American organizations are working to preserve the customs and culture of these communities, while also giving a voice to Native American people. And with so many charities working on behalf of Native American communities, we had to ask: What are the best charities for native Americans?

The best charities for Native Americans are the Native American Heritage Association, First Nations Development Institute, and Association on American Indian Affairs. These charities promote Native American rights and equality through programming, public advocacy, and awareness-raising campaigns. 

Whether you want to advocate for Native Americans’ rights, volunteer with a Native American organization, or fundraise for their causes, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for native Americans are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Native Americans Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact on Native American communities, and transparency ratings. They operate across the US and assist various tribes, indigenous communities, and people with Native American heritage. 

These charities also carry out advocacy work to enhance the rights of all Native Americans. They strive to raise awareness of the issues affecting Native Americans, including access to healthcare, social services, and education. They operate across the US and all share the same goal of empowering Native American communities. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Native Americans

Below are our favorite charities for native Americans:

  • Native American Heritage Association
  • First Nations Development Institute
  • Association on American Indian Affairs
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society
  • Native American Advancement Foundation
  • National Indian Child Welfare Association
  • Native American Rights Fund
  • American Indian College Fund
  • Native American Disability Law Center

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Native American Heritage Association: Delivering Essentials to Native American Communities 

The Native American Heritage Association was founded in 1993 by David G. Myers to provide health and food essentials to Native American communities living in South Dakota and Wyoming. Today, they operate 7 programs throughout the region and distribute household goods, tools, and resources to communities in need. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Native American Heritage Association holds an impressive 4-star rating and perfect Accountability and Transparency score of 100 out of 100, both from Charity Navigator. They also have a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar 0 the highest rank possible. For example, they spend approximately 97% of their yearly income on their programs and services. 

Helping Native American families in need living on Reservations in South Dakota and Wyoming.

Native American Heritage Association

What they do: The Native American Heritage Association provides food essentials and resources to Native American communities across reservations in South Dakota and Wyoming. They also deliver toys, clothing, and emergency vouchers to assist children and families during the holiday seasons, or when they’re in dire need of extra support.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Native American Heritage Association has successfully delivered thousands of pounds of food to Native American communities in 5 reservations. For example, they regularly distribute 350,000 pounds of food monthly. They supply about 25,000 pounds of clothing every month, and provide approximately 1,500 holiday dinners to Native American families during holiday seasons.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Native American Heritage Association by donating directly through their website. 

First Nations Development Institute: Enhancing Economic Security for Native American Communities

The First Nations Development Institute was founded in 1980 to advocate for the economic rights of Native American people. Many of their early projects aimed to increase capital in Native communities, and provide financial literacy to people without bank accounts. They also implemented programs to encourage entrepreneurship, asset control, and other financial skills. Today, the organization is headquartered in Colorado

Their impact and transparency ratings: The First Nations Development Institute holds an impressive 4-star rating and an Accountability and Transparency score of 97 out of 100, both from Charity Navigator. They also have a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2021, 90% of their income was spent on their programs and services.

To strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities.

First Nations Development Institute

What they do: The First Nations Development Institute aims to eliminate economic insecurity by providing financial support and resources to Native American communities. They achieve this through their food, health, housing, and youth programs. They also work to financially empower and strengthen Native communities through tailored programs and outreach.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the First Nations Development Institute has reached over 73,000 people with their programs. For example, in 2021, they issued 40 scholarships to Native American students, and carried out 128 capacity-building trainings, webinars, and convenings. In the same year, they also gave over 400 grants to Native-run and controlled non-profits and Tribal government programs.

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the First Nations Development Institute by donating through their website.

Association on American Indian Affairs: Educating and Empowering Native American Communities 

The Association on American Indian Affairs was founded in 1922 to protect and empower Native Americans. The organization began working with communities to maintain sovereignty and build self-sufficiency, while preserving their Native cultures, languages, and traditions. Today, the organization is governed by an all-Native Board. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Association on American Indian Affairs has an Accountability and Transparency score of 96 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. They also have a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

To lead the grassroots fight to protect Native American cultural sovereignty by preserving culture, educating youth, protecting sovereignty, building capacity.

American Association on Indian Affairs

What they do: The Association on American Indian Affairs carries out a range of programs to educate and empower youth with Native heritage. They achieve this through public education, scholarships and summer camps, and child welfare programs. They also work to preserve Native American cultures and traditions by identifying sacred and culturally significant items, and overseeing their return to the relevant Tribes. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Association on American Indian Affairs has reached more than 500 youth with their Native Youth Summer Camps. In 2019, they provided 27 academic scholarships to students from over 5 Tribes across the US. In the same year, they also issued 63 Auction Alerts to help identify potentially sensitive cultural or sacred items belonging to various Tribes. Of those Auction Alerts, approximately 3,721 items were identified in total. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Association on American Indian Affairs by donating through their website. You can also show your support by volunteering with them, as they welcome volunteers with public affairs, legal, accounting, and project-specific expertise. 

American Indian Science and Engineering Society: Promoting Native Inclusion in STEM Fields

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) was founded in 1977 by George Thomas, Jerry Elliott, A.T. Anderson, and Al Qöyawayma to promote more Native representation in the STEM fields. They combined the National Society of American Indian Engineers (NSAIE) with the American Indian Engineering Council (AIEC), which brought together advocates from Oklahoma and New Mexico. Since then, the organization has won numerous awards, expanded to include over 4,000 individual members, and has over 200 affiliated chapters in high schools and universities across the US. Today, their headquarters are based in New Mexico. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The American Indian Science and Engineering Society has an Accountability and Transparency score of 96 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. They also have a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

Increasing the representation of Indigenous peoples of North America and the Pacific Islands in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies and careers.

American Indian Science and Engineering Society

What they do: The American Indian Science and Engineering Society strives to create more Native American representation in STEM fields. They achieve this by offering academic scholarships to students with Native heritage, and breaking down barriers that prevent access to higher education. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society has supported hundreds of Native students across the US. For example, in 2020, they distributed emergency relief to over 300 students needing assistance. In the same year, they delivered more than $13 million in academic scholarships to students. They have also utilized their resources to promote more representation of Native Americans in STEM faculty positions, having already supported 100 scholars in academic institutions throughout the country. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the American Indian Science and Engineering Society by donating directly through their website. 

Native American Advancement Foundation: Providing Academic Support to Native American Students

The Native American Advancement Foundation was founded in 2011 to promote the wellbeing and educational rights of people living in the Tohono O’ odham Nation. In 2013, they established their first partnership with the Tohono O’ odham Nation Department of Education, and by 2014, they had provided education assistance to 12 students graduating with their GED. Today, they have many more partnerships and work with organizations across the US and in other school districts to ensure other Native American youth and adults are able to access educational support.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Native American Advancement Foundation holds an impressive Finance and Accountability score of 96 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. They also have a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2019, they spent nearly 82% of their income on their programs and services. 

To strengthen Native American communities by building brighter futures.

Native American Advancement Foundation

What they do: The Native American Advancement Foundation works to eliminate barriers to education for students living in the GuVo District of the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona. They strive to uplift students and promote community collaboration, while preserving the cultural practices of the region.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Native American Advancement Foundation has helped more than 65 students annually with academic programming. They’ve promoted field-based STEM learning for another 35 youth, and offer adult secondary education certifications to more than 5 students annually. They have also worked with 68 community elders on language preservation. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Native American Advancement Fund by donating via their website. You can also show your support by volunteering with them.

National Indian Child Welfare Association: Defending the Rights of Native American Children

The National Indian Child Welfare Association was founded in 1983 as the Northwest Indian Child Welfare Institute, to provide welfare support to Native American and Alaskan children. The organization also focused on training welfare workers to ensure the well-being of Native children. By 1992, they had expanded across the US and offered training and resources to tribes outside of the Northwest. Today, their headquarters remains based in Oregon. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Native American Child Welfare Association holds a Finance and Accountability score of 88 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. They also have a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2019, they spent approximately 55% of their income on their programs. 

To support the safety, health, and spiritual strength of American Indian and Alaska Native children along the broad continuum of their lives.” National Indian Child Welfare Association

What they do: The Native American Child Welfare Association works to increase protection for Native American and Native Alaskan children in the US. They achieve this through capacity-building programs to help prevent child abuse and neglect. They also work with child welfare professionals by training and assisting them to better support the needs of Native children.

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, the Native American Child Welfare Association has amassed over 150 tribal and organizational members to support their work. They also have a presence in over 40 US states, and 5 Canadian provinces. Their extensive network allows them to refer over 1,000 families annually to necessary resources and information. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the National Indian Child Welfare Association by donating through their website. You can also show your support by taking a course on the Child Welfare Act of 1978, or purchasing some merchandise from their online shop to support the development of Native American children. 

Native American Rights Fund: Advocating for the Legal Rights of Native Americans

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) was founded in 1970 by John E. Echohawk, to protect the legal rights of Native Americans across the US. The organization also ensures that all treaty rights given to Native Americans are also upheld. Since then, have worked with more than 250 Indian tribes in protecting their civil and legal rights. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Native American Rights Fund has an impressive Accountability and Transparency rating of 97 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Gold Star of Transparency from GuideStar.

Asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide.

Native American Rights Fund

What they do: The Native American Rights Fund promotes the rights of Native American Indians through treaty reinforcements, and by challenging discriminatory laws and practices that harm Native American people. They also raise awareness on social and economic issues that affect Native American communities and provides advocacy to combat stereotypes and stigmas. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Native American Rights Fund has been dedicated to ensuring Indian children have the same access to education and health services as their non-native counterparts. For example, in 2020, the organization awarded grants to 10 tribes in West Virginia and Oklahoma to provide school funding for Native American students. The grants were able to reach over 1,000 Indian students needing education opportunities. In the same year, the organization also represented parties in 5 separate litigation cases concerning Native Americans and voter discrimination. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Native American Rights Fund by donating through the organization’s website, or sending in a donation via mail. You can also shop their online store and invest in some branded merchandise that shows your support for Native Americans’ rights and racial equality. 

American Indian College Fund: Creating Higher Education Opportunities for Native Americans

The American Indian College Fund was founded in 1989 to provide scholarships and educational support to students with Native American heritage. They work across the US to ensure that Native American and Alaska Natives have equal access to higher education. Today, they have expanded to support over 30 Tribal colleges and universities located on or near Reservations. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The American Indian College Fund has an Accountability and Transparency score of 97 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. They also have a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, approximately 72% of their income is regularly spent on their programs.

The American Indian College Fund invests in Native students and tribal college education to transform lives and communities.

American Indian College Fund

What they do: The American Indian College Fund provides educational opportunities for students with Native American and Alaska Native heritage. They achieve this by offering scholarships, partnering with academic institutions to enrich students’ learning opportunities, and by supporting students seeking higher education. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their inception, the American Indian College Fund has distributed more than 3,600 scholarships. For example, in 2020, they provided scholarships to over 2,900 students. In the same year, they also hosted more than 50 students in their internships and research projects, and reached another 1,500 students with their career coaching services. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the American Indian College Fund by donating directly through their website. 

Native American Disability Law Center: Advancing Equality for Native Americans With Disabilities

The Native American Disability Law Center was founded in 2005 to protect the legal rights of Native Americans with disabilities. They serve tribes, communities, and people with Native American heritage living in the Four Corners region of the US, and advocate for the civil rights of Native Americans with disabilities. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Native American Disability Law Center has a perfect Finance and Accountability score of 100 out of 100 from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. For example, in 2016, they spent approximately 66% of their income on their programs and services. 

To advocate so that the rights of Native Americans with disabilities in the Four Corners area are enforced, strengthened and brought in harmony with their communities.

Native American Disability Law Center

What they do: The Native American Disability Law Center promotes equal rights and protection for Native American people with disabilities. They offer legal representation, advocacy, and support to people in the Four Corners, which consists of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah.

What they’ve achieved: Every year, the Native American Disability Law Center carries out a range of services to educate and empower Native American communities, especially those with disabilities. For example, in 2020, they aimed to offer training and support to 50 people with disabilities looking to return to work. In the same year, they strived to empower the families of 25 students with disabilities, and worked to provide representation to another 30 children in school settings. 

Ways to contribute: You can contribute to the Native American Disability Law Center by donating through their website. 

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for native Americans. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to native Americans – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Brittany



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

Photo of author

Olivia Lopez

Olivia loves to research and write about all things related to social justice. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights and has worked and interned with a number of NGOs, including the UN. When she’s not writing, she likes to take her dog for walks, cook Mexican food, and learn new languages.

Did you know that the internet is a huge polluter of the environment? But fortunately not this site. This site is powered by renewable energy and all hosting-related CO2 emissions are offset by three times as many renewable energy certificates. Find out all about it here.

Three Related Posts

One Unrelated Post