Equity* for American Indian people.
*Tiwahe defines equity as access to opportunity, resources, leadership, networks, healing and support for American Indian people to live culturally centered, economically independent, and healthy lives — grounded in sovereignty and indigenous worldview.

History of the Tiwahe Foundation

The Foundation evolved from origins as a culturally responsive grantmaking initiative of three Minnesota family foundations known as the American Indian Family Empowerment Program. Launched in 1993 initially by the Marbrook Foundation, American Indian Family Empowerment Program was the inspiration of Markell Brooks. It operated as a donor-designated fund with monies from a collaborative of the Marbrook, Westcliff and Grotto Foundations. In 2009, American Indian Family Empowerment Program transformed into a new entity, the Tiwahe Foundation. While Tiwahe Foundation is an independent community foundation with its own board of directors, the original American Indian Family Empowerment Program remains part of the ongoing work.

The Tiwahe Foundation is a place for giving — and giving back — that benefits the well-being of American Indian people and communities in Minnesota. We are a community foundation of friends and supporters — Indian and non-Indian — who have resources, time, and talents to share. Together, we all work to unleash more philanthropy and generosity that are not only held within every person but also embodied collectively.
We think of this as the Circle of Giving — a continuous cycle of success grounded in indigenous culture that recognizes that giving benefits both giver and receiver. The Tiwahe Foundation is a trusted community partner, connector and resource. Our core work involves:

  • Investing in the needs of individuals relative to education, economic and community development, and tribal culture (through the American Indian Family Empowerment Program);
  • Promoting Indian leadership development and leadership network formation;
  • Building a permanent endowment for operations; and
  • Practicing core values such as family, respect, trust, and generosity in operationalizing the Circle of Giving, so as to build a self-sustaining community.

Grants to American Indians for 20 years 1996-2016

Economic Stability