Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy

The Language Conservancy

  • Bloomington, IN
  • http://www.languageconservancy.org

Mission Statement

We believe that all languages have an inherent right to exist - that they are valued and irreplaceable facets of a people's culture and of humanity's linguistic heritage. The Language Conservancy (TLC) is dedicated to rescuing the world's ever-increasing number of endangered languages, restoring them to stability and health, and safeguarding them for future generations. The Language Conservancy helps prevent the extinction of languages by raising funds, by increasing the international public awareness of the language-loss crisis, creating language tools to preserve the culture, and by providing support to organizations and communities engaged in revitalizing their languages.

Main Programs

  1. Advocacy & Outreach
  2. Curriculum Development
  3. Educational Programming
  4. Owóksape Lakota Language E-Learning Portal
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Primarily United States endangered languages, particularly Native American

also Western Hemisphere

ruling year

2009

Executive Director

Self-reported

Wilhelm Meya

Linguistic Director

Self-reported

Jan Ullrich

Keywords

Self-reported

Native Americans, language, indigenous language, language preservation, language loss, language education, curriculum development, curriculum, educational programming

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EIN

20-3840826

 Number

7974851366

Physical Address

2620 N Walnut St Ste. 810

Bloomington, 47404

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Cultural, Ethnic Awareness (A23)

Management & Technical Assistance (B02)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Over the last twelve years, The Language Conservancy has developed over 130 language products across 15 languages, providing critical language materials that would never have existed apart from our work. Furthermore, we maintain five summer teacher training institutes, which have collectively served more than 500 teachers and learners over the last eleven years. Through a culmination of many years of providing language products and services, we have given rise to a language movement in numerous communities. Young language learners can now access accurate and effective language learning materials, increasing confidence in their language and culture. As they learn languages, these young people are empowered to become leaders for tomorrow, guiding their communities toward a healthier future.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Advocacy & Outreach

TLC is dedicated to promoting awareness of language loss through advocacy and outreach. We engage in documentary production and film screenings, host TLC and language loss awareness events, present information at our work at conferences and fairs, partner with Native storytellers and performing artists, and engage in social media outreach.

Category

Population(s) Served

Native Americans/American Indians

Adults

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

Program 2

Curriculum Development

Tribes seeking a proven language curriculum and training template for their education departments come to The Language Conservancy for classroom materials and help planning effective teacher training events.

Classroom materials are modeled after the successful textbook/audio CD series initiated by the Lakota Language Consortium, and the very successful Lakota Summer Institute at Sitting Bull College.

Category

Population(s) Served

Native Americans/American Indians

General Public/Unspecified

None

Budget

Program 3

Educational Programming

The Educational Programming program develops and administers second language teacher training professional development programs called Summer Institutes. TLC has developed 6 Summer Institutes: Lakota, Dakota, Crow, MHA, Omaha, and Maskoke.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Native Americans/American Indians

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

Program 4

Owóksape Lakota Language E-Learning Portal

A comprehensive project to develop an e-learning portal for Lakota language learning and assessment, to be made freely available to members of the Lakota nation.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Native Americans/American Indians

General Public/Unspecified

Budget

Results

Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

1. Number of groups brought together in a coalition/alliance/partnership

Target Population
Indigenous people

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
6 over time: Lakota Language Consortium, Crow Language Consortium, Maskoke Language Consortium, Dakota Language Society, Lakota Language Consortium, Lakȟótiyapi Okáȟtaŋič'iya Wičhóičhaǧe (LOWI)

2. Number of groups/individuals benefiting from tools/resources/education materials provided

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
220,000 tribal members across 50 tribes

3. Number of educators who have opportunities to attend programs offered by professional organizations

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
500 total

4. Number of U.S. states we work in

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, California, New York, Michigan, CT

5. Number of children who have the ability to use language for expression and to communicate with others

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Children in 120 Native school systems who benefit from TLC's curricula

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    PRIMARY GOALS:

    1. To prevent the widespread loss of indigenous languages worldwide.

    ▶ By 2020, TLC will increase the number of Native children learning their native language fivefold (from 2% to 10%).
    ▶ By 2025, TLC will quadruple the number of advanced learners of each of the languages TLC assists.
    ▶ By 2030, TLC will provide language materials and infrastructure to 75 languages worldwide, positioning TLC
    as the global leader in indigenous language revitalization.

    2. To improve public awareness and sensitivity towards indigenous language loss.

    ▶ By 2020, TLC, through a successful national Ogilvy-managed campaign, will increase awareness of endangered languages in the U.S. to 20% of the American population.
    ▶ In 5 years: TLC will be the household name of the organization working to save Native America languages in the US.
    ▶ In 10 years: TLC will expand internationally both in terms of our public relations and also in the languages we serve. We will likely focus on other endangered languages in the Central and South America, but also other parts of the world as opportunities arise.
    ▶ In 20 years: TLC will be serving over 100 languages worldwide. We will have a strong international presence and a play an active role in national and international policy making around the issue.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    1. To prevent the widespread loss of indigenous languages worldwide, TLC will:

    ▶ Strengthen existing partnerships, as well as developing new relationships, with Tribal governments
    ▶ Continually seek funding to complete new textbook series and multimedia learning projects
    ▶ Establish new Tribal relationships to found new language Summer Institutes across reservations
    ▶ Continue to develop curriculum testing and evaluation to make its teacher training courses more effective

    2. To improve public awareness and sensitivity towards indigenous language loss, TLC is:

    ▶ Partnering with Ogilvy PR to create a pro-bono TLC campaign, like those Ogilvy has developed for Amnesty
    International and World Wildlife Fund.
    ▶ Consulting on major films including the upcoming Woman Walks Ahead (2017) and HBO's Lewis & Clark
    (2018), to ensure filmmakers use Native languages accurately.
    ensure they use Native languages accurately.
    ▶ Screening our documentary Hóthaŋiŋpi: Rising Voices at events nationwide and across American
    Public Television.
    ▶Hosting informational events across the US.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The staff of The Language Conservancy has built extensive experience over the past decade in Native American language revitalization through association with a grassroots, Native-driven, unified movement to teach endangered languages as second languages in tribal, parochial and public schools on the Northern Plains. This experience will enable us to expand our reach of languages taught and language learners quantitatively, as described above.

    We have also developed our outreach capabilities by growing and developing our media relations staff and establishing a relationship with Ogilvy Pr to create a pro-bono TLC campaign. These resources will enable us to significantly increase our outreach and increase awareness for language loss and the work that TLC does.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    TLC charts its success by the increase of student, proficient and fluent speakers among any tribe that comes to TLC for assistance.

    TLC will also measure success by tribes' increased ability to gain financial and social support for speaking and creating in their languages, as encouraged by PR campaign results, distribution of advocacy products such as our documentary, and number of informational events across the US.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Past Accomplishments

    ▶ Established relationships with NUMBER tribes to work in NUMBER (8?) languages
    ▶ Published over 20 Native language textbooks in TLC's sequenced curriculum
    ▶ Created 13 mobile apps, including vocab builders, keyboards, and dictionaries
    ▶ Trained more than 400 teachers in second language teaching best practices at TLC's Summer Institutes.
    ▶ Published the Lakota Grammar Handbook, a 600-page self-study and reference pedagogical guide.
    ▶ Published the New Lakota Dictionary, a 23,000-word volume culminating 25 years of linguistic work with over 300 native speakers
    ▶ Issued the Lakota Audio Series, an adult Practical Conversation Course
    ▶ Produced a 20-episode Lakota language edition of the Berenstain Bears, the first Native American language cartoon series
    ▶ Produced a professional documentary, Hóthaŋiŋpi: Rising Voices, increasing awareness of language loss nationwide.
    ▶ Completed significant develop of Owóksape, a comprehensive online learning and assessment tool for Lakota.

    To Be Accomplished

    ▶ Develop textbooks for more languages spoken by Tribes we have relationships with
    ▶ Expand awareness for language loss and TLC's work through PR campaigns


Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Primarily United States endangered languages, particularly Native American

also Western Hemisphere

Social Media

Funding Needs

The Language Conservancy has produced a variety of language materials, including textbooks, dictionaries, and mobile apps, for a number of tribes. We also provide these tribes with teacher training, learning assessment, and numerous other support services. Each product and service is unique and customized for each tribe or language. We would support any help in developing further materials from interested funders. Furthermore, many languages do not currently have funding for product development. We struggle to support under-resourced communities and languages, such as the Pueblo of Acoma people, the Crow of Montana, and the Lakota of North and South Dakota, to name a few. Funding would enable The Language Conservancy to create much-needed language resources for these underserved tribes and languages.

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

THE LANGUAGE CONSERVANCY
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

The Language Conservancy

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2016 and 2015
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Wilhelm Meya

Linguistic Director

Jan Ullrich

BIO

Mr. Meya is the Chairman and Executive Director of the Language Conservancy. He is a national advocate for endangered languages and draws on more than 20 years of experience in higher education, linguistics, and nonprofit management. Under Mr. Meya's leadership, the Conservancy has become the chief promoter of worldwide action for protecting languages and preserving cultures.

STATEMENT FROM THE Executive Director

"To Whom It May Concern:

I would like introduce you to the work and mission of The Language Conservancy. The Language Conservancy's vision is to preserve the maximum number of endangered languages in the Americas and the world. We believe that all languages have an inherent right to exist—that they are fundamental and irreplaceable facets of a people's culture and humanity's linguistic heritage. The Language Conservancy (TLC) is dedicated to restoring endangered languages to stability and health, and to documenting the benefits of language recovery to indigenous communities and individuals.

TLC currently works with 26 different Native American languages and over 50 tribes in 20 states in the US today and continues to expand as other Native groups request our assistance. In Arizona, TLC is working with 10 different tribes to preserve the Western Apache, O'odham, and Colorado River Numic languages. It is crucial to understand that before TLC began its work, no sufficient language documentation existed for these languages, and every one of them was facing extinction. Our foremost goal is to turn back the tide of language loss while we still can, and in this we have already achieved great success.

Since our founding in 2005, TLC has been a leader in providing support to Education Departments and Native American tribes working to restore their languages. TLC provides award-winning materials for these languages and trains in their use. Our technical assistance to grassroots-level language preservation and education efforts supports the survival of endangered languages throughout the country.

TLCs's best practice approach to language preservation begins with extensive language fieldwork through which we document all aspects of the language. Following this, we develop high-quality print materials, including dictionaries, progressive levels of textbooks, children's books, and other classroom content. These print materials are complemented by multimedia products, including dubbed cartoons (like our Lakota Berenstain Bears), audio CDs, mobile apps, online dictionaries and learning forums.

Ultimately, all of these programs make indigenous languages more relevant to the individual learner by reinforcing learning across multiple platforms. When students have access to many different modalities of learning they are better able to retain and implement information. TLC verifies the educational success of our programs through many strategies, including test instruments, questionnaires, pre- and post-tests, and analysis of graduation rates.

Please consider supporting our efforts with a donation to enable us to continue our vital work. Support from your foundation would provide the much-needed funding to undertake these critical efforts. I appreciate your consideration and would love the opportunity to partner with you in fulfilling The Language Conservancy's mission.

We are grateful for your help!

Wil Meya
Executive Director"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Mr. Wil Meya

Lakota Language Consortium, The Language Conservancy

Term: Jan 2004 -

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Gender
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Volunteers.
Race & Ethnicity
This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Volunteers.
Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Disability

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Diversity Strategies
Yes
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
No
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
No
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
Yes
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
No
We have a diversity committee in place
No
We have a diversity manager in place
No
We have a diversity plan
Yes
We use other methods to support diversity