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Wealth Building in Wealth Deserts

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – The art of philanthropic wealth building within Native American communities is often a combination of genius, culture, and the bending of longstanding practices to meet unique needs –also known as walk-arounds.

The Hopi Foundation, for example, established two endowed funds with the help of the Arizona Community Foundation. The first endowed fund provides funding that awards $10,000 to a clinician dedicated to helping survivors of torture receive the help they need. The second endowed fund provides administrative support to the Hopi Foundation in perpetuity.

A scholarship fund known as the Hopi Education Endowment Fund was established under the governance of the Hopi Tribal government using Section 7871 of the Internal Revenue Service Code which provides that Indian Tribal governments will be treated as States for certain federal tax purposes. The extended benefit of Section 7871 allows tribal governments to maintain a greater degree of sovereignty than Section 501(c)3.

What is phenomenal of these wealth-building efforts is the success of the strategies in wealth deserts where socio economic data points to high rates of joblessness, low incomes, and long standing poverty rates.

In her presentation before the Arizona Community Foundation Board May 8, 2019, Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media, described her involvement in both wealth-building efforts for HEEF and the Hopi Foundation “as one of fear and courage driven by cultural values, tenacity, and dreaming big.”

Taylor explained that Tribal nonprofits have the ability to build successful endowed funds with help from larger philanthropic institutions, and by engaging tribal governments as major investors into perpetual funds.

For Taylor, it’s all about relationship building, “Other tribes and tribal entities have had similar success in establishing endowments. By sharing our knowledge and forging evergreen relationships with philanthropic institutions and tribal advisors, we can achieve wealth building success even in the harshest and most prohibitive environments.”

Native Public Media is starting a new endowed fund under the ACF that will provide future scholarships for Native students studying communications or telecommunications.

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