American Indian College Fund Update

May 15th, 2012 | By | Category: 23-4: Investing in Education, Empowering Tribal Communities, Tribal College News
By Dina Horwedel

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) of Minnesota donated $585,000 to the American Indian College Fund (The Fund), helping it meet a three-year challenge grant from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation (JSF). Having agreed to match up to $750,000 over three years to establish a scholarship endowment for American Indian business students, the JSF announced it will now pay its entire grant pledge.

The donations and matching funds will be placed into an endowment for scholarships for Natives pursing business or entrepreneurship degrees, thus encouraging business development in Native communities. Scholarships will become available in 2013.

Native college students who are outstanding sophomores or in their junior year or higher; members of a federally recognized U.S. Indian tribe with documented financial need; and majoring in business administration, accounting, finance, marketing, and tribal administration are eligible to apply. The scholarships are renewable for up to three years.

With this new grant, and a grant of $50,000 in 2011, SMSC contributions to the American Indian College Fund total more than $2.4 million in recent years.

Other recent gifts to The Fund include those from the APS Foundation, the charitable arm of Arizona Public Service ($100,000 to renew the Arizona Public Service Navajo Scholars Program); the Coca- Cola Foundation ($250,000 to continue its support for first-generation Native American scholarships); the Donaldson Foundation ($15,000 for scholarships); the Ford Motor Company Fund ($50,000); the Herman Lissner Foundation ($100,000); Johnson & Johnson ($30,000 to continue the Johnson & Johnson Tribal College Scholarship Program); the L.P. Brown Foundation ($15,000 for scholarships); and Master Key Consulting ($5,000 for the Master Key Consulting Tribal College Endowed Scholarship Program).

Recently, Dr. Dawn Tallchief (Seneca Nation of Indians) joined The Fund as a program officer to oversee faculty fellowship programs including the Sloan Leadership Fellowship Program, the Mellon Faculty Enhancement Program, the Mellon Research Fellowship Program, and the Nyswander-Blanchard Fellowship Program.

Tallchief earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from the State University of New York-Buffalo and both a master’s degree in higher education administration and a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from Arizona State University. Her research and practice have focused on enhancing college student success, with special emphasis on recruitment and retention of American Indian students in postsecondary contexts.

The Fund has also launched its new public service announcement (PSA) campaign, titled “Help a Student Help a Tribe.” The series of ads was created by the international award-winning ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, and includes a series of 13 print advertisements and television ad spots.

The series was filmed on location at three sites across Indian Country, including the Navajo Nation in Arizona, the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, and the Lummi reservation in Washington state. Thirteen print advertisements depict the reservation communities and American Indian tribal college students who are seeking a college education to address disparities in health care and education; environmental concerns; and cultural preservation issues facing their communities.

The renowned German photographer Anne Menke produced the still photography. The video version of the PSA was filmed by award-winning television advertising producer Joe Pytka.

To see the new Help a Student Help a Tribe public service announcements, visit To place a Help a Student Help a Tribe PSA, please contact Jonas Greene at (503) 937-7325 or jonas.greene

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