Philanthropy Should Follow Where Native Women in New Mexico Are Leading

Native Women in New Mexico are leading the way, building solidarity and growing resources for their communities. Read about five leaders' work during the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Native Voices Rising is a collaborative created and led by Common Counsel Foundation and Native Americans in Philanthropy. Hear from five Native women about their work during the last two years of the pandemic to collaborate and grow resources for their communities.

Over the past two years, the media has attempted to document how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed long-standing, systemic inequalities as the virus disproportionately impacted historically marginalized Indigenous populations. However, there’s another important story in Indian Country that has been simultaneously unfolding, one deserving of increased attention from the greater philanthropic community that they should factor into future grant-making efforts.

“To make these funding decisions requires Native people to know and understand [the community] … Little by little, we are seeing that shift,” she added. “More funders are listening, making their application process simpler. They are connecting and reaching out to more tribes and nonprofits that work with tribes.”

JoAnn Melchor, President and CEO of the New Mexico Foundation

Native women who are leading New Mexico-based foundations, community nonprofits, and organizations came together—across kitchen tables, on conference calls, in virtual meetings, and via email communications—to identify the greatest areas of need in their state and local communities. These women mobilized their collective resources and expertise, as well as eliminated extraneous paperwork and cumbersome reporting requirements, to deliver targeted aid to Native communities as quickly as possible.