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Philanthropic Milestones of 2000

By Loris Taylor, President and CEO of Native Public Media

Among the remarkable endeavors of this year was the celebration and grand opening of KUYI's new radio studio on November 17, 2023. Situated at the crossroads of highways 264 and 87, this studio marked a significant upgrade from its modest beginnings. As the inaugural General Manager of KUYI, reflecting on our journey, I am reminded of the challenges we surmounted to broadcast the voices of the Hopi people beginning on December 20, 2000.


In the annals of philanthropy, the year 2000 stands as a testament to the transformative power of vision, determination, and community collaboration.


The historical narrative of KUYI remains incomplete without acknowledging the pivotal role played by the Hopi Foundation, the organization holding the station's FCC license. Established in 1985 by local community members, the Hopi Foundation emerged as a dynamic force, standing as the largest nonprofit dedicated to serving the Hopi people. As the first co-directors of the foundation, Barbara Poley and I witnessed its evolution. I later assumed the role of Associate Director, overseeing the organization's development.


The 90s proved to be prolific years for the Hopi Foundation, characterized by youthfulness, ambition, and a keen awareness of the needs of Hopi communities. By the late 1990s, a radio working group composed of local community members within the foundation articulated a visionary plan for establishing a radio station.


Establishing two endowed funds with the assistance of the Arizona Community Foundation also occurred in the 90s. Endowed funds, designed to fund specific purposes from their earnings in perpetuity, became a cornerstone of the Hopi Foundation's philanthropic efforts. The Barbara Chester Award, one such endowment, honors clinicians working with survivors of torture. In 2000, Shari Eppel received the inaugural award of $10,000 for her courageous work in the exhumation of clandestine graves in Zimbabwe. The second endowment, an administrative fund, generates revenue to cover the Hopi Foundation's operational costs.


Buoyed by experience in creating and managing endowments, I proposed to Hopi Chairman Wayne Taylor to establish an education-endowed fund for Hopi students. Although the initial concept faced resistance from the Hopi Tribal Council, the Hopi Foundation and the Hopi Chairman's Office formed a formal working group to refine the proposal. Insights from this collaboration, including valuable input from experts like Sherry Salway-Black, led to the "Hopi Education Endowment Fund."

The working group and its legal volunteers drafted the fund's ordinance, seeking a charter under Internal Revenue Service Code 7871, affording Indigenous Nations/Tribes like the Hopi Nation tax advantages when receiving grants and donations. After months of local hearings and widespread support from students, parents, and legislators, the Hopi Education Endowment Fund became a reality in 2000, with an appropriation of ten million dollars from the Hopi Tribal government, inclusive of royalties from various right-of-way leases.


Reflecting on the early years of KUYI, the significance of 2000 becomes apparent. It was the year establishing the Hopi Education Endowment Fund, the inaugural presentation of the Barbara Chester Award to Shari Eppel, and hearing the melodies of Hopi songs and language for the first time on KUYI's airwaves on a crisp December morning.


As demonstrated through these endeavors, Philanthropy manifests in various forms, often rooted in a shared vision and, at times, a prayer. As one of the "originators" of these transformative initiatives, I take pride in witnessing the impact of philanthropy—each Hopi student receiving a HEEF scholarship, the Barbara Chester Award illuminating the work of those aiding torture survivors and the vibrant Hopi storytelling featured on state-of-the-art radio technology. Though challenging, Philanthropy proves that the extraordinary becomes possible with dedication and engaged community members.


Indeed, 2000 was remarkable, leaving an indelible mark on the Hopi people's journey towards empowerment and resilience. Every Hopi generation can pay it forward so that the following generation benefits from these philanthropic achievements. You can pay it forward by giving your time, resources, or talents to KUYI, HEEF, or the Hopi Foundation. Asquali, tawa'eh.


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