Over the last 20 years, many voices have called for a national fund to support Native arts and cultures. Demand is now urgent as elders are passing away before their traditional knowledge, cultural practices and artistic traditions are shared with younger generations.
Led by Program Officer Elizabeth Theobald Richards (Cherokee), the Ford Foundation responded to the call for a Native arts fund by engaging in a deep consultative process within Indian Country.
In an extensive feasibility study, the Ford Foundation gathered information from a wide variety of leaders in the Native arts and cultures field. A leadership circle of four advisors—Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), Joy Harjo (Mvskoke/Creek), Jayne Fawcett (Mohegan) and Elizabeth Woody (Navajo/Warm Springs/Wasco/Yakama)—provided guidance as the study included observations from Ford Foundation grantees and other field gatherings, existing literature, and research on operational and financial models for philanthropies.
As a result, on Aug. 15, 2007, the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation was signed into incorporation. Learn more about the Foundation.