2019 is here! A new year means a fresh start for ourselves, our families and our communities. Here’s one resolution to consider: Make 2019 your Year of Action.
The American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF) announced last week that grant awards totaling $175,000 in its partnership with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and Voices for Healthy Kids, an initiative of the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Five $35,000 grants to Native American organizations will support innovative nutrition- and health-focused advocacy efforts under the partnership’s new, competitive Fertile Ground Grant Program.
“Community-driven policy decisions are critical as Native communities seek to improve the health of their people,” said Kris Rhodes, chief executive officer of AICAF. “With the SMSC and American Heart Association’s support, this grant program can empower Native organizations to plan, organize, and build support for Native-led policy change.”
The Fertile Ground grants will provide support for Native-led convenings to identify community health priorities. This funding will also help Native groups develop advocacy and policy strategies that address improving health outcomes; access to healthy food; and food sovereignty rooted in tradition, culture, and Indigenous knowledge.
The five grant recipients include:
The Fertile Ground Grant Program represents a funding collaboration where both the SMSC and Voices for Healthy Kids has contributed $100,000 to improve Native American nutrition. AICAF serves as the Fertile Ground grant-making intermediary, administering the program and providing technical assistance to grant recipients.
“The dietary health crisis gripping much of Indian Country can be solved in large part at the grassroots level,” said SMSC Chairman Charles R. Vig. “Tribes and Native nonprofits across the country are already making important strides, and we are proud to support these five organizations in efforts that can further lead the way.”
The grant program represents a continued collaboration to address the dietary health crisis in Indian Country. The two entities organized the groundbreaking Fertile Ground conference series, bringing together national funders to discuss Native food access and nutrition in 2015, and Native leaders and activists to share ideas on policy change for improved health and nutrition in 2016.
“Investing in these tribal-led organizations through the Fertile Ground Grant Program will result in long overdue and sustainable progress in community health,” said Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO. “Our strong relationship with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, including this grant program, is an important aspect of our vision of equitable health for Native people.”
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About the American Indian Cancer Foundation
The American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF) is a national, Native-governed, 501(c)3 nonprofit health organization dedicated to improving access to prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivor support to eliminate the cancer burdens experienced by American Indian and Alaska Native people. AICAF partners with tribal and urban organizations to co-create effective and sustainable cancer solutions that are culturally appropriate. AICAF believes Native communities possess the wisdom to find innovative solutions that are community-centered to address cancer inequities. AICAF provides capacity building through training, technical assistance, and resources to tribal and urban partners to achieve these shared objectives.
About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a federally recognized, sovereign Native American tribe located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Following a Dakota tradition of generosity, the SMSC is one of the top philanthropists in Minnesota and is the largest contributor to Native American tribes and causes across the country. It is a strong community partner and a leader in protecting and restoring natural resources. The SMSC’s government, Gaming Enterprise, and various other enterprises are collectively the largest employer in Scott County. More information is available at ShakopeeDakota.org.
About Seeds of Native Health
Seeds of Native Health is the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s philanthropic campaign to improve Native American nutrition and food access. Launched in 2015, the $10 million campaign has provided grants to local communities and funded research, education, and capacity-building efforts. Partners include the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Better Way Foundation, First Nations Development Institute, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, the Notah Begay III Foundation, the University of Arkansas School of Law’s Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, and the University of Minnesota. More information is available at SeedsofNativeHealth.org.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org, or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
About Voices for Healthy Kids
Voices for Healthy Kids is a joint initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association, making each day healthier for all children. The collaboration is working with communities across the nation to ensure that children have access to healthy food and physical activity where they live, learn, and play. For more information, visit voicesforhealthykids.org.