Our grantee partners work with their communities to reimagine and restructure unjust systems—to serve, support, and heal people and communities. Their work advances self-determination by building the power of people and communities to liberate themselves from policies, practices, and beliefs designed to disadvantage them.

Our region—Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and the 76 Native nations that share the same geography—was shaped by the freight routes of our founder’s family company, the Great Northern Railway.

Northwest United States mountain scene with people walking and biking on a trail

Our Values

American Bald Eagle starting flight near a fence

Social Justice

We are driven by a deeply-held belief in the dignity and human rights of every person, and an active commitment to confront racism, sexism, colonization, and other overlapping oppressions that prevent people from thriving on their own terms. We seek to use our privilege (as a grantmaker and employer) to share and build power in our priority communities. We value healing and self-care as fundamental components of social justice.

Native American man standing in front of landscape image of Northwest United States region


We step out of our own comfort zones and disrupt the status quo to advance social justice. We lean into difficult issues and respectfully face conflicts and tensions that arise.

Diverse group of people posed for photo, smiling

Grantees Come First

Our mission is intertwined with the success of grantees and the outcomes they achieve. Our resources, decisions, processes, and practices are geared toward supporting them.

African american woman engaged in a meeting with peers.

Listen and Learn for Change

We actively listen with an open heart and mind. This requires us to question our own worldviews as we seek solutions that honor one another and our priority communities. We must not dismiss the opportunity to apply what we’ve learned because change is so imperative.

Group of youth with adults laughing and playing outside


Our work operates at the speed of trust which is dependent on long-term, reciprocal relationships. We embrace vulnerability, openness, and transparency. We are reliable and follow through on our commitments.

People hugging in celebatory fashion


This work is driven by empathy, purpose, and hope. We demonstrate love and compassion.

Our People

Northwest Area Foundation Staff

For more detailed information, visit our staff page.

Our Region

Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana,
North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa,
and 76 Native nations that share the same geography.

Native nations