First Nations Development Institute; Henry Luce Foundation Grant

Henry Luce Foundation Grant Will Help Foster Native Community Intellectuals

LONGMONT, Colorado (January 5, 2018) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced it has received a $240,000, two-year grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to conduct a project known as “Supporting Community Intellectuals in Native Communities.” The goal is to support Native American community intellectuals and widely share learnings from the initiative, while hopefully illustrating how to put their knowledge to best advantage for the good of Native communities.

First Nations will work with four Native-run nonprofit organizations: Salish Kootenai College (Pablo, Montana), Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School(Santa Fe, New Mexico),The Hopi Foundation (Kykotsmovi Village, Arizona), and The Piegan Institute (Browning, Montana). Each of these organizations is an anchor in its community and serves as a convener and a center of excellence in supporting local community intellectuals. These organizations are elevating the Native voice in influential circles.

“Many Native American worldviews and value systems prioritize sustainability, kinship and building community, and it is through this lens that Indigenous knowledge is developed and perpetuated,” said Raymond Foxworth, First Nations Vice President of Grantmaking, Development and Communications. “Though not widely acknowledged, Native American knowledge has revolutionized the world. It has contributed systems of government, foods, language and medicines that have saved and changed millions of lives. Knowledge stemming from Native community intellectuals also can help chart a course for a positive future for both Native and non-Native communities.”

Foxworth noted that as part of its mission, First Nations has always supported Indigenous “ways of knowing” in the execution, reflection and evolution of community-based and community-led models for community development, cultural continuity and self-governance. Further, he said the organization’s work has long been focused on battling paternalistic and imposed models of community development for Native communities that are based in foreign knowledge systems and values.

“In this vein, this project will be a targeted effort to support community-based and led Native organizations as they, in turn, continue to support Indigenous knowledge systems and intellectualism for the long-term vitality of Native communities.”

The effort will combine projects conducted by the four partner groups to engage their communities on the state of and support for Native community intellectuals and to document the discussions. It will bring the four groups together to form a community of practice and to pool their collective knowledge, and it will also disseminate a final report summarizing the learnings and examination of support for community intellectuals.

About First Nations Development Institute

For more than 37 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit

About the Henry Luce Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities. It was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China.

The Foundation pursues its goals by funding research at universities, museums, and policy institutes and by facilitating the dissemination of that research to policymakers, communities of practice, and the general public. It also invests in leadership training at these institutions and seeks to foster dialogue and relationships among leaders across national, religious, and disciplinary boundaries.

The Luce Foundation operates seven grant-making programs including: American Art, Asia, Theology, Higher Education, Religion in International Affairs, Public Policy, and the Clare Boothe Luce Program for women in science, mathematics and engineering. For more information, visit


Raymond Foxworth, First Nations Vice President
[email protected] or (303) 774-7836 x207

Randy Blauvelt, First Nations Senior Communications Officer
[email protected] or (303) 774-7836 x213