Dear Tiwahe family and friends:
On behalf of the Tiwahe Foundation Board of Directors, I’m writing to update you on recent developments and upcoming plans for the Tiwahe Foundation.
First, we felt we should publicly announce the departure of our former Executive Director Chad Poitra. Tiwahe Foundation has had a series of false starts with new leadership as we work to maintain and strengthen the vision that was set forth by Kelly Drummer, the founding Executive Director and the other original creators of this organization.
I am honored and very pleased to introduce you to Nikki Pieratos who will serve as our Transition Chair. She will be performing the interim duties to run Tiwahe Foundation as we continue our programs and implement our strategic vision. Nikki is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. She previously served on the Tiwahe Board of Directors for nearly three years and has executive leadership, program development, and fundraising experience. Joe Hobot (descendant Standing Rock Sioux Tribe), and President/CEO of American Indian OIC, is stepping into her recent board term as Treasurer as she helps lead us into our next phase.
Our dedicated Board and staff are using this time to strengthen our organization’s commitment and capacity to support the wellbeing, personal growth, and leadership development of our American Indian community here in the Twin Cities.
At this time, it is important to assure our community, including current, former, and prospective grantees, funders and donors, and partners that our community foundation is strong and stable.
- We have a dedicated, highly qualified Board and interim leader to guide the organization.
- We have a strong financial portfolio of grants, donations, and investments. In fact, our endowment for our Family Empowerment Program alone is now over $7 million.
- We have a Program Manager and Office Manager who support daily operations and the continuance of Tiwahe Foundation’s programs.
While we prepare for even further increasing the reach and impact of our grantmaking and programs, we honor the long history Tiwahe Foundation has in providing microgrants through the American Indian Family Empowerment Program (AIFEP) to American Indians in the Twin Cities. We will not waiver from our commitment to this community centered Program. Our grantees past and present have demonstrated increased self-sufficiency and educational attainment, connecting to culture, and focusing on health and wellness, and how this creates a positive ripple effect across our community.
We will maintain our established AIFEP grant funding cycle and respond to community needs as they arise—just as we did during this pandemic and the hardships following the murder of George Floyd.
The word tiwahe refers expansively to the sanctity of the family. It is the critical unit of transformation and the foundation of Native Nations. We honor this relational system where we build with new talent and energy, relying on the deep generational wisdom of those who have come before us. Therefore, we will be moving forward with a newly-formed Emeritus Board with some of Tiwahe Foundation’s founders and previous leaders. They will help guide us through the next steps, ensuring that we stay close to the shared mission that create the American Indian Family Empowerment Program over twenty years ago.
Nicole MartinRogers, (Descendent, White Earth Band of Ojibwe)
Tiwahe Board Chair
As we are still very much operational and expanding:
(1) We always welcome our urban Native community members to learn more about our grant programs and apply for one that best fits their situation or goals.
(2) Encourage those who believe in our mission to support our work with a contribution, gift, or redistribution of wealth to support our amazing Native grantees.
(3) Welcome expressions of interest in joining our Board of Directors and we are actively in recruitment of new members. Please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with your interest.