College Fund Supported By Some for Two Decades

Nov 15th, 2010 | By | Category: 22-2: Crossing Borders, Winter 2010, Tribal College News

The American Indian College Fund received several significant grants in the past several months, many of them continuations of grants that certain foundations and companies have been giving for many years. In recent years, the Fund has received funding from a few tribal foundations. Most grants support scholarships for tribal colleges although some support Native students at mainstream institutions.

Some support programming. One example is the Helping Hands program, which provides encouragement through one-on-one communication between students and the Fund staff at least once a month. Through the efforts of the Helping Hands program, the General Mills Tribal College Scholarship Program experienced an overall retention rate of up to 90% in recent years, according to the Fund.

Created in 1989 by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the Fund is located in Denver. According to its press releases, the Fund is the nation’s largest provider of private scholarships for American Indian students, providing an average of 6,000 scholarships annually for students.

• In support of Native American students attending the nation’s tribal colleges, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation donated $10,000 to the American Indian College Fund. The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Foundation Tribal College Scholarship Program was established in 2002.

• The General Mills Foundation provided a $60,000 grant to continue to provide scholarships to American Indian students attending tribal colleges in Minnesota and New Mexico. These scholarships started nearly two decades ago, according to Richard B. Williams, president and CEO of the fund.

• The Forest County Potawatomi Community Foundation of Milwaukee is one of the tribal foundations that supports the Fund. It granted $20,000 to establish the Forest County Potawatomi Community Foundation Tribal College Scholarship Program for tribal college students. This is a new program.

• For nearly a decade, the Fund has been providing MetLife Foundation Tribal College Scholarships, thanks to MetLife Foundation, which gave $15,000 this year. In education, MetLife supports strengthening public schools through effective teaching and leadership and preparation of students for access to and success in higher education.

• The Siragusa Foundation of Chicago renewed its grant of $15,000 for general scholarships for American Indian students. Established in 1950 by Ross D. Siragusa, this foundation reflects the founder’s special interests, including the arts, education, the environment, and health and human services.

• A grant of $50,000 was given by the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Foundation to continue its named tribal college scholarship program. The program provides scholarships to American Indian students enrolled full-time in an associate’s degree program at one of the following tribal colleges and universities: Diné College, Navajo Technical College, Oglala Lakota College, Sinte Gleska University, and Sisseton Wahpeton College. The foundation has been supporting Native scholarships for 20 years.

Johnson & Johnson Tribal College Scholarship Program primarily supports Native American students pursuing degrees in nursing and other health-related fields at Navajo Technical College or Oglala Lakota College while also supporting students in the veterinary technology fields. A portion of the program is designated for scholarships to students majoring in health-related fields at other tribal colleges and universities as well. Over the past 15 years, Johnson & Johnson has donated more than $356,000 to Native American high education through their corporate and employee giving as well as their special event sponsorships.

• The Michigan-based Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services gave $50,000 to continue its named tribal scholar program, which began a decade ago. To receive a scholarship, tribal college applicants must be pursuing a degree in math, science, engineering, business, teacher training, or environmental science. This program also provides for students from mainstream universities in certain fields. Ford has also sponsored the Fund’s Annual Flame of Hope Gala since 2003.

• For 10 years, the Target Corporation has been helping Native American students pursue a college education at tribal colleges and universities. This year, Target gave a grant of $20,000.

For more information about the American Indian College Fund, visit

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