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Announcing a New Initiative to Support Native American Leaders

The Luce Foundation is proud to announce a new initiative that will provide support to knowledge makers and knowledge keepers serving Indigenous communities in the United States. The Initiative will accomplish this goal through a competitive fellowship program administered by First Nations Development Institute (First Nations).

First Nations, founded in 1980 and based in Longmont, CO, works to strengthen Native American communities by investing in youth, economic development, community institutions, and health. An initial grant from the Foundation will enable First Nations to develop and launch the fellowship program, identify a first cohort of leaders, and support those leaders during their fellowship experience.

The initiative marries two of the Foundation’s core commitments: a commitment to the development of leaders and commitment to the public dissemination of knowledge. The Foundation and our partners at First Nations believe that knowledge and ideas have the power to transform communities—at the local, national, and global levels—but only if that knowledge and those ideas are put in the hands of communities. By investing in leaders who create new knowledge and share that knowledge publicly, we can empower the communities that those leaders address and serve.

Leadership is defined very broadly in the context of the new initiative and encompasses spiritual leaders, media makers, scientists and health professionals, academics, curators, artists and writers, and policy makers, among others. The work of these leaders may take many forms, including journalism, visual art, film and video, speeches or sermons, educational curricula, music or theater, formal scholarship or research, public health strategies, legal arguments, fiction, policy analysis, etc.

Individuals interested in the fellowship may apply directly or be nominated. Fellows will be selected by a committee of Indigenous leaders convened by First Nations. Each fellow will receive $50,000 to advance her or his work; the fellows will also gather together three times during the fellowship year to learn from one another. All fellows will be eligible to seek an additional $25,000 to continue their work in the year after the fellowship.

Applications for the first fellowship competition will be invited in the second half of 2019, with further details to be made available by First Nations. Additional information will be provided on the First Nations website,

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