Founded in 1934 by Louis W. Hill, The Northwest Area Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts by the people, organizations and communities across eight states and 75 sovereign Tribal Nations (Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon) to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity. The nonprofit, which operates in an area once served by the Great Northern Railway, the organization was created to promote economic revitalization and improve the standard of living for the region’s most vulnerable citizens.
The Northwest Area Foundation supports efforts that help low-income people build assets – the income, savings, skills and connections needed to weather an emergency, finance education, buy a home or car, or grow a small or micro-business.
A minimum of 40 percent of the Foundation’s grants go to Native-led organizations working to build local economy, create good jobs, help low-income people build financial-management skills, strengthen Native nonprofits, and empower Native people to thrive on their own terms. Communities challenged by deep poverty often need to build organizational strength in order to develop and implement their prosperity-building strategies. As such, approximately 10 percent of Northwest Area Foundation grants go to fund infrastructure support, idea incubation, and research.
This article explores various approaches that foundations can use to advance racial equity and prosperity.
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