Spotlight on John Hunter, founder of Twin Cities Native Lacrosse, who started the first lacrosse organization for Indigenous people in the Minneapolis area.
Donor & grantee spotlight: Maggie Lorenz
Executive Director | Wakaŋ Tipi Center Director & Lower Phalen Creek Project
Maggie Lorenz knows how important the Tiwahe Foundation is as both a giver and receiver. Maggie, executive director of the Lower Phalen Creek Project, a Native-led environmental nonprofit in St. Paul, has been a multiple grant recipient and a donor the past five years.
“The Tiwahe Foundation has given to me a lot personally and this concept only works if our community makes it work and puts money back in,” says Maggie, who contributes to the organization monthly. “For me, $17 a month isn’t a lot of money when it’s put together in a pool – it helps give people in our community money when they need that support.”
Maggie, who is Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and Spirit Lake Dakota, has also experienced that support as well. She received her first Tiwahe grant as a senior trying to finish college. A few years later, she applied for a culture grant to help her and family purchase a thípi which was used for daughter’s and nieces’ coming of age ceremony, išnáthi.
“Ultimately, that was a great gift from the Tiwahe Foundation to allow my family to have that,” Maggie recalled, remembering the importance of those ceremonies in the transition to womanhood for the Dakota.
Recently, she was awarded the Oyate Network Community Project Grant to produce a play that will accompany the opening of the Wakáŋ Tipi Center, a 9,000-square-foot environmental and cultural center along the Mississippi River. The Wakáŋ Tipi, which means Dwelling Place of the Sacred in Dakota, is a cave where the Dakota believe sacred beings dwell. The petroglyphs in the cave honored these spirits but are now gone after explorers discovered the area.
Maggie is working with the New Native Theater organization on the play that will be in the Dakota language and will debut when Wakáŋ Tipi Center opens in spring 2023. Maggie was eligible for Tiwahe’s Oyate grant after participating in the Oyate Network program, which focuses on collaboration and American Indian leadership across Minnesota in urban, tribal and rural communities to move projects from isolation to transformation to action and social change.
“The grants that the Tiwahe Foundation offer to community members give us the flexible support that we need to not only get projects going that are important for the community but are just as important for individuals as these also support our own cultural vibrancy,” she said. “We would have a much less vibrancy if we didn’t have Tiwahe.”
Reciprocal giving and communal generosity are what drew the Lino Lakes business owner to Tiwahe more than a decade ago after being recruited by the organization’s leadership.
The Tiwahe Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce the hiring of our new Executive Director, Chad Poitra.
In August 2020, Tiwahe Foundation’s board of directors met for a full day retreat (via Zoom) to update our strategic plan and take other steps to strengthen our governance, ensure our sustainability, and reinforce how we are living our values in our day-to-day work. Our new strategic plan, which is still a work-in-progress that will be finalized with our next Executive Director in early 2021, emphasizes continuing and expanding the American Indian Family Empowerment Program and re-envisioning the Oyate Leadership Network.
We appreciate the wisdom and insights from our grantees, partners, donors, elders, and other community members who have given us feedback, amplified and refined our stories, and helped us to understand and meet the community’s evolving needs and desires. We also appreciate your patience as we have gone through several changes over the past few years. We are so excited and hopeful for the future. We are grateful to have the opportunity to continue work for and with this community.
And, finally, we are very excited to announce that Tiwahe Foundation’s American Indian Family Empowerment Program endowment has finally reached our goal of $6 million, which will allow us to continue making grants to our relatives long into the future!