Our Priority Communities
They are excluded by systems designed to deny them access to resources, power over decisions that shape their futures, and respect for their cultures and ways of life.
Because of this, longstanding disparities in our region of eight states and 76 Native nations continue to grow—with more hardworking families experiencing poverty, while the powerful and privileged amass unprecedented wealth.
Our grantee partners work with our priority communities by reimagining and restructuring unjust systems—to serve, support, and heal people and communities. This work advances self-determination by building the power of people and communities to liberate themselves from policies, practices, and beliefs designed to disadvantage them.
Native-led organizations in our region are transforming the economic opportunities in their communities.
Akiptan is a certified Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) dedicated to financing Native Americans in agriculture. Akiptan is looking to transform finance in order to set up Native Americans for success on terms that work for them, paired with the technical assistance they need.
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.
South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition (a project of Lakota Funds) provides a long-term, sustainable forum for stakeholders to collaborate on efforts to overcome core, underlying barriers to Native homeownership. This leads to increased homeownership opportunities, improved financial capability, and the creation of new jobs in South Dakota’s Native communities.
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.
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.
The Montana Racial Equity Project (MTREP) advocates justice for historically marginalized, disenfranchised, and oppressed peoples in Montana: BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+ identifying people, people with disabilities, and people of Jewish and Muslim faiths.
Immigrant communities from across the globe have built their lives and homes in our region, creating a bedrock for the future.
The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa (CWJ) unites low-wage workers across race, ethnicity, and immigration status to pursue social and economic justice through education, leadership development, and issue-based organizing.
The Immigrant Development Center’s (IDC) mission is to build capacity of business and economic skills within the immigrant and refugee population, ultimately leading to economic self‐sufficiency. The International Market Plaza (IMP)—a project of IDC—achieved IDC’s overall mission by creating jobs and small businesses, which provides sustainable revenue for low‐income immigrants and refugees, leading to economic independence. The IMP is a small business incubator where businesses are supported through access to shared technology, resources, space, and technical assistance.
Our region has long been home to refugees who have settled here and created vibrant communities.
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.
Unite Oregon is a membership organization led by people of color, immigrants and refugees, rural communities, and people experiencing poverty. The organization works across Oregon to build a unified, intercultural movement for justice.
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.
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.
Sharing Our Roots is an educational farm and nonprofit based in Southeast Minnesota, working at the intersection of land justice, food sovereignty, regenerative agriculture, climate change mitigation, and conservation. It offers a safe space for learning and knowledge sharing and a way for farmers to build equity.
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.