Priority Communities

We support resourceful problem solvers working in resilient communities with a wealth of wisdom, creativity, and passion: Native Americans, communities of color, immigrants and refugees, and people in rural areas.

Our Priority Communities

They’re building equitable economies, where prosperity is defined by local communities and opportunity is shared by all—with good jobs, thriving businesses, and vibrant cultures.

They are relentlessly resilient, but have long been denied access to resources, power over decisions that shape their futures, and respect for their cultures and ways of life.

The systemic racism, violence, and exclusion that began in this land centuries ago continues today—resulting in traumas, financial instability, and other barriers that make it harder for the communities we partner with to thrive on their own terms.

Native Americans

Native-led organizations in our region are transforming the economic opportunities in their communities.

Lower Sioux Indian Community of Morton, MN, has created the Lower Sioux intergenerational cultural incubator, which helps local artists build their financial and entrepreneurial skills to pursue arts as a business. NWAF support strengthens the incubator’s capacity to promote entrepreneurship through training pathways, partnerships, and determining a business model for financial sustainability and long-term governance.

Makoce Agriculture Development of Porcupine, SD, receives support from NWAF to develop a regenerative, local food system, rooted in Lakota culture and Indigenous ecology, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The food system will build on the seasonal and successful local gardeners and education programs and will include local production and processing systems for meat and vegetables, value-added products through community kitchens, and a regional transportation system to support a local food supply chain. 

Native360 Loan Fund Inc., a regional lender based in Grand Island, NE, whose service area includes Native communities in our region, has been an NWAF grantee since 2016. The organization provides affordable credit, capital, technical assistance, and related programs to Native Americans, encouraging them to become strong, self-sufficient business owners. NWAF support focuses on Native360’s work with Native entrepreneurs in Iowa and south-central South Dakota.

Communities of Color

The resilience of communities of color is the engine behind organizations that create economic opportunity through a wide range of innovative and progressive strategies.

Black Future Co-op Fund of Seattle, WA, is a new paradigm for philanthropy, uplifting Black-led solutions that ignite Black generational wealth, health, and well-being. It’s the first all-Black-led philanthropic organization in Washington State. NWAF support helped establish the Fund.

Hmong American Partnership (HAP) of St. Paul, MN, is the largest Hmong nonprofit serving Hmong, Southeast Asian, and other immigrant and refugee communities in Minnesota. HAP empowers communities to embrace the strengths of their cultures while achieving their potential. NWAF support advances HAP’s 10-year plan to build economic prosperity for these communities.

Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) of Portland, OR, provides an array of services and programs to small businesses, including access to capital, business planning, market research, individual development accounts, bookkeeping, classes, networking, mentoring, and connections to local resources and referrals. NWAF support builds MESO’s ability to meet the lending and technical assistance needs of low-income and entrepreneurs of color in Oregon.

Immigrants

Immigrant communities from across the globe have built their lives and homes in our region, creating a bedrock for the future.

African Development Center (ADC) of Minneapolis, MN, has been supported by NWAF since 2013. Through workshops and consultations on financial literacy, business development, homeownership, and microlending to small businesses, ADC provides culturally competent services to Minnesota’s African community.

Seattle Economic Development Fund is helping launch a new generation of entrepreneurs through the development of a Sharia-compliant finance product for small businesses in Washington and Oregon. NWAF support focuses on the Fund’s outreach to the Muslim community.

Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network of Burien, WA, advocates for undocumented immigrants and conducts community organizing to protect them from unjust deportation and detention policies. NWAF support provides for continued advocacy and organizing.

Refugees

Our region has long been home to refugees who have settled here and created vibrant communities.

Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (EMBARC) of Des Moines, IA, helps refugees expand their world of possibilities through advocacy, education, and community development across Iowa. NWAF support promotes EMBARC’s efforts to build organizational effectiveness and sustainability and develop a coalition of ethnic-based community organizations.

Global to Local (G2L) of SeaTac, WA, provides programs and interventions to improve health, lower the cost of care, and empower underserved communities across the country. NWAF support bolsters G2L’s efforts to strengthen existing work and remain responsive to the evolving needs of the communities it serves.

People in Rural Areas

The vast rural expanses of our region are home to individuals and families—newly arrived or from a long line of ancestors—and all sharing the powerful resourcefulness of the Northwest.

Peoples Partners for Community Development (PPCD) of Ashland, MT, receives support from NWAF to serve the communities of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana. PPCD helps create a stronger reservation economy while maintaining vital connections to the land, traditional values, and cultural history.

Rural Community Development Resources (RCDR) of Yakima, WA, receives support from NWAF to provide business assistance that strengthens the vitality of microenterprises in rural immigrant communities in Central Washington State. 

Rural Organizing Project (ROP) of Cottage Grove, OR, fosters a multi-issue, rural-centered, grassroots base across Oregon. NWAF support enhances ROP’s community organizing to help build justice in rural Oregon.

Breaking from Business as Usual

Grantees from our priority communities build upon the unique assets of their communities and cultures to redefine and reach success on their own terms. We honor their histories, respect their perspectives, and value their experiences.

Their holistic approach to the work not only builds equitable economies, it also lifts up the voices of their communities, strengthens their health and well-being, and liberates them from policies and practices designed to disadvantage them.

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