Executive Director Nikki Pieratos

Nikki Pieratos / Waasegiizhigokwe

Executive Director

Nikki is a previous board member and donor of Tiwahe Foundation. She is devoted to cultivating leadership in the Native community that emulates our cultural values and teachings. She is motivated to see present and future generations living with agency and confidence in who they are as Indigenous people, as well as in their relationships with other communities of color and greater society.  

Nikki’s background is in community development finance, most recently providing financing and capacity building for large-scale regenerative development projects across Indian Country. Her past experience includes establishing and running a federal credit union for the Bois Forte community, research and engagement on capital access at the Center for Indian Country Development at the Minneapolis Fed, and new models for lending and investing in Indian Country at NDN Collective. She is a recognized thought leader, speaker, and writer on changing systems within philanthropy and impact investing to align and support racial, social, economic, and climate justice.

Nikki believes in Indigenous excellence and is passionate about proliferating our knowledge and practices, because the world needs what we have to offer. Philanthropy and the non-profit sectors desperately need our teachings on generosity and reciprocity. Our economic and educational systems need our holistic and futuristic worldview.   

Personal motto – “How we do things is as important as what we do.” 


  • I love standup comedy and want to get back into doing my own open mic nights (when time allows). 
  • I have recently taken an interest in learning Ojibwe lacrosse with my nephews (and will one day teach my young children). 
  • My personality gives “laid back” vibes, but I maintain a vigorous and high standard for myself & my team as we live a life of service to our people who deserve our best. 


  • Discussions on Indigenous philanthropy, evaluation, and program design  
  • Media inquiry or speaking engagements 
  • Tiwahe’s mission, vision, and plans for the future. 
  • Interest in inviting Tiwahe to collaborate or partner on issues focused within the Native community or in cross-cultural solidarity and equity.  
  • Donating to, or sponsoring, Tiwahe Foundation


  • Executive Director  
  • MPP University of Chicago 


Bois Forte Band of Chippewa (Anishinaabe, Ojibwe) 

PRONOUNS she/her/kwe 

EMAIL [email protected]

PHONE 612-722-0999