$400,000 Raised at Fund’s Flame of Hope Gala in NY

Feb 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-3: Tribal Athletes Fight for Their Place, Tribal College News

WRAPPED IN GIFT. Musician Jakob Dylan receives a blanket from American Indian College Fund President and CEO Richard B. Williams following his performance at the 2008 Flame of Hope Gala. Photo courtesy of Dina Horwedel

The 13th Annual Flame of Hope Gala raised $400,000 for American Indian student scholarships. The program was held Nov. 6, 2008, in New York City at Gotham Hall, a gilded former bank dating back to the turn of the century. CBS Correspondent Hattie Kauffman was the evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies.

The program honored American Indian College Fund supporter Pendleton Woolen Mills for its support as it gets ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Richard B. Williams, president and CEO of the fund, wrapped Pendleton President Mort Bishop III in a Pendleton blanket to symbolize the fund’s appreciation and friendship.

Justin Finkbonner (Lummi), an alumnus of Northwest Indian College and community activist for the Lummi Reservation, was the alumni speaker for the event. Finkbonner detailed his struggles as a youth and his search for meaning, which was rewarded in education. He works as the program coordinator at the Potlatch Fund, a Native non-profit organization that expands philanthropy for Pacific Northwest tribes and has worked to raise more than $350 million dollars for his tribe, tribal communities, and tribal non-profits over the last eight years without tribal gaming dollars.

The fund also unveiled its new public service advertisement, which was developed in collaboration with the Portland-based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy. The new campaign titled “Think Indian!” details ways in which Native knowledge cultivated at tribal colleges and universities is helping to solve modern-day problems.

The Brooklyn-based Redhawk Dance Troop performed several dances for the crowd, culminating in a round dance. Jakob Dylan, front man for the band The Wallflowers, a well-known solo artist, and son of Bob Dylan, played several numbers for guests and was honored for his support of the fund with a blanket-wrapping.

A silent auction of artisan-made Indian jewelry and art was also held at the event. With economic challenges ahead, the fund continues to rely on donors to increase its support for American Indian students seeking a higher education.

In December 2008, the UPS Foundation awarded the fund $128,000 for scholarships benefiting American Indian students for 2008-09 academic year scholarships.

John Cooper, employee relations manager at UPS in Denver, along with the Fund’s UPS delivery driver, Vince Barajas, presented Williams, with the check.

The grant will support qualified American Indian students by providing financial resources to encourage them to complete a college degree.

Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, Ga., The UPS Foundation identifies specific areas where its backing clearly impacts social issues. The UPS Foundation has identified literacy, hunger relief, and volunteerism as its focus areas.

For more info, contact Dina Horwedel, Director of Public Education, American Indian College Fund, at phone number 303-430-5350, or by e-mail: dhorwedel@collegefund.org.

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