Meet the June 2017 AIFEP Grantees

Congratulations to the American Indian Family Empowerment Program grantees! Of the nearly 30 applications received this grant round, 12 individual grant requests were funded.

Tiwahe Foundation’s American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund (AIFEP) grants are made in partnership with the Two Feathers Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation. AIFEP strives to reverse the social, educational and economic challenges facing American Indians by investing in human capital, skills and cultural strengths through three priority areas: cultural connections, educational achievement and economic self-sufficiency. Over the past 20 years, the AIFEP fund has awarded over 800 individuals close to $1.5 million.

Goal 1: Preserving & Renewing Cultural Connections

Natasha Galvez-Tirado (Leech Lake Ojibwe) for supplies to create and design regalia for her family.
Alesha Goodwin (White Earth Ojibwe) for materials to create cultural crafts and to launch drum making workshops in the Little Earth community.
Donavan Mountain (Red Lake Ojibwe) to purchase a laptop as a tool for learning and teaching the Ojibwe language.

Goal 2: Educational Achievement

Ira Buffalohead (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota) to support his education at Augsburg College. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science.
Raine Cloud (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota) to support her education at the University of Minnesota. She is currently pursuing a Dakota Language Teaching Certification.
Jessica Lackey (Cherokee Nation) to support her education at the University of Minnesota. She is currently conducting research for her Ph.D. in Natural Resources Science and Management.
Tasheena Lachapelle (White Earth Ojbwe) to support her education at Augsburg College. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Leadership Studies.
Rachel Nelson (Yurok) to support her education at Metropolitan State University. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Management with a minor in Project Management.
Isaiah Simon (Cheyenne River Lakota) to support his education at Augsburg College. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Pre-Medicine.
Victoria Swain (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) to support her education at Augsburg College. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work.

Goal 3: Economic Self-Sufficiency

Victoria Johnson (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota) to support the launch of  an Indigenous Lotus yoga pilot program for Native youth in the Twin Cities area.
John Other Medicine (Crow Nation) to support upgrading equipment for his business, Sacred Visions Photography LLC.

Tiwahe’s Seventh Generation Endowment Campaign Continuing to Grow

The Seventh Generation Endowment Campaign works to secure funds for our American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund, leadership development initiatives and organizational development and capacity building. To date, our endowment is close to $4million. Help us reach the Campaign’s $6 million dollar goal by donating here. Learn more about the Campaign, former grantees such as Brian Heart, above, and all of Tiwahe’s great work from this past year by reading the 2016 Annual Report. 

Why I Give, by Joe Regguinti
Tiwahe Board of Directors

I’m a member of the Leech Lake band of Ojibwe. For the past two years, I have dedicated my time and money to this unique organization. Tiwahe is a special gift given to our community. For the past 20 years, the American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund has been giving grants to ordinary urban American Indians doing extraordinary things in our community.

I can personally attest to seeing Tiwahe’s impact in the following ways: students obtained funds to take the next step towards graduate school, a grandmother received funds to make jingle dresses for her grand babies, and showed the next generation the artistry of constructing dresses and dancing. We’ve had first generation college students able to afford their college education because of this grant, and I’ve witnessed the entrepreneurial spirit of a dedicated woman use the grant to start her own quilt making business. Not only am I a donor and board member, but I’m also a former grant recipient. This grant empowered me to extend my education further than I thought possible.

I speak on behalf of most Tiwahe grant recipients in saying the grant is not solely about the funding- it is also about the energy, focus and faith that has been bestowed upon us through this opportunity. As American Indians, we are taught to think about our choices, and how these choices will impact our descendants for the following seven generations. Tiwahe, in choosing to create an endowment for the American Indian Family Empowerment Program is thinking, dreaming and believing in these next generations. As a board member, former grant recipient and current donor, I know that I too, am making a commitment to the next seven generations.

Please join me in making a financial contribution to the Seventh Generation Endowment Campaign. I encourage you to learn more here.