Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit committed to championing hope for a brighter future for Native Americans living on remote, isolated and often impoverished reservations. A BBB-accredited charity and Combined Federal Campaign participant, PWNA collaborates with about 1,000 reservation partners to serve immediate needs and support long-term solutions for strong, self-sufficient Native American communities. PWNA provides consistent aid and services for Native Americans with the highest needs in the U.S., benefiting 250,000 Native Americans annually. We care about quality of life for Native Americans and support self-determined goals of the tribes, providing critical supplies and support for education, capacity building and community investment.
Notes from the Nonprofit
In the United States, less than one percent of all charitable giving supports Native American causes. Yet, the 60 reservations PWNA serves have the highest need in the U.S., including food insecurity, inadequate healthcare, and lack of access to college or timely disaster relief. We hope that individuals will take the time to learn more about realities on the reservations, read our annual reports, and consider supporting our programs that work in direct partnership with reservation programs to improve quality of life for Native people.
Robbi Rice Dietrich
16415 Addison Rd Ste 200
Addison, TX 75001 USA
Native American, American Indian, tribes, reservations, poverty, food, education, scholarships, health, disaster relief, emergency, animal, holiday
Programs + Results
What we aim to solve New!
PWNA is assisting 60 Native American reservations faced with some of the toughest conditions in the U.S. – needs unfamiliar and shocking to many:
• 23% of Native families with food insecurity
• Communities without safe drinking water
• 90,000 homeless, and 40% in sub-standard, overcrowded housing
• 35% of children in poverty or 61% in low-income households
• 13% of Native students completing college
• Highest diabetes and cancer rates in the U.S., and TB rates higher than many populations
• Animal overpopulation and strays
• Slow disaster relief or mainstream news coverage during emergencies
Working with partners in 300+ reservation communities across 12 states, we improve quality of life for 250,000 Native Americans, by:
• Addressing day-to-day hardship due to lack of jobs and access to basic supplies most take for granted, such as healthy food, safe drinking water and school supplies
• Empowering Native communities through community investment, development training and education
What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
INTRO TO PWNA PROGRAMS
The World Health Organization identifies poverty as the greatest cause of suffering on earth. Poverty and multigenerational poverty is a complex issue that involves the inability to satisfy basic needs, a lack of control over resources and isolation from information and support. By virtue of life circumstances, people who live in poverty are exposed to more emotional stress and have fewer resources with which to manage it. The effects lead to family disruption, depression and suicide. Collaborating with 1,000+ reservation program partners, Native American families living in poverty receive much needed support for the difficult situations in their lives.
PWNA programming takes the dual approach of serving immediate needs in remote reservation communities and supporting long-term projects for sustainable gains on 60 reservations. More than 70% of donations go toward PWNA programs impacting four areas of focus: Northern Plains reservation services, Southwest reservation services, education and animal welfare. These are further described in our major programs below.
Aging, elderly, senior citizens
Children and youth (0-19 years)
FOOD & WATER
The communities PWNA serves cope with high rates of poverty and a lack of local availability or access to basic food resources. The majority of these reservations are classified as "food deserts” by the U.S.D.A. The result of these facts is that American Indians living on reservations have the lowest rate of food security of any ethnic group in the US. The USDA defines low food security as "reduced food quality, variety or desirability of dietary intake.” Low food security is an everyday concern where PWNA works, and nutrition-related diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and childhood obesity are significantly higher for Native Americans than for other U.S. ethnic groups. PWNA developed a number of services to address the realities of insufficient nutritious food, lack of access to food resources and inadequate food resources for existing reservation nutrition projects. PWNA provides staple food products to tribal Elderly Nutrition programs and local soup kitchens where hot meals are served to the needy and breakfast food bags and emergency food boxes to elders and literally tons of fresh produce in community-wide distributions. PWNA also supports dozens of reservation food banks with additional food supplies.
Aging, elderly, senior citizens
The communities PWNA serves rely on Indian Health Services (I.H.S.) for medical care. The communities are remote – many of them "frontier counties” with fewer than seven people per square mile – and often far away from the nearest clinic. This lack of access combined with the necessity for I.H.S. to focus on medical crises leads to generally poor preventative health care and a lack of focus on wellness in many communities served by PWNA. These communities experience low life expectancy, high infant mortality, epidemic levels of diabetes, and high rates of alcoholism, suicide and accidents.
PWNA's health and wellness services support community-based initiatives to improve the prevention, detection and early treatment of health issues as well as initiatives that support healthy life choices. Also included in this category are community-based services related to animal welfare and human health risk stemming from animal bites, injured animals and overpopulation. PWNA supports animal welfare programs and hundreds of health partners offering a range of preventative approaches such as health education/wellness classes, disease screenings, wellness and immunization clinics, residential care and home visits aimed at education and intervention for the homebound or others who lack access to services.
Aging, elderly, senior citizens
Each year, Partnership With Native Americans funds critical college scholarships for Native American students pursuing a higher education. We evaluate more than 1,000 scholarship applications annually and focus on applicants who are middling academic achievers with serious drive and a strong sense of overcoming. The outcome of this process is astounding. Each year, 90-95% of the students receiving our college scholarships complete the college year. Comparatively, the norm for completion among all Native students across the U.S. is about 21% each year. We credit our unique selection process, individualized mentorship program and student motivation for this success. PWNA's scholarships are paid to the college where each student is accepted. Our scholarships support undergrad and graduate students, as well as non-traditional students (adults) returning to college or starting for the first time. In addition to scholarships, PWNA assists tribal colleges, trade schools and four-year universities with high proportions of Native students and a commitment to increasing resources available for Native students. PWNA also assists hundreds of Head Starts and K-12 schools, and provides personal and professional development training for emerging leaders that want to make a greater difference in their tribal communities.
K-12 (5-19 years)
To help our reservation partners spread community cheer during the holiday season and ensure families can participate at a time when they may be experiencing more stress and disenfranchisement, NRC offers holiday services.
Aging, elderly, senior citizens
The physical environments that PWNA supports can be harsh. Reservations in PWNA's service area experience a range of environmental disasters including floods, forest fires, extreme winter storms, tornados and hurricanes. Some of our communities also experience acute or chronic contaminated-water emergencies. Besides disaster relief, PWNA provides emergency preparedness goods and weatherization services, as well as support for shelters.
Aging, elderly, senior citizens
PWNA helps reservation partners motivate involvement in community service and we support programs concerned with animal welfare on the reservations. Supporting self-determination and requiring people to take part actively in community projects and services in order to receive PWNA materials and services adds to the success of our community involvement projects. Animal welfare and the problems created from overpopulated and stray animals are immense for communities, including disease, animal bites, rabies and other safety concerns. Because of PWNA’s support, reservation programs are more equipped to spay, neuter and vaccinate animals of the reservation; educate communities on proper care of animals; and enable animal groups to care for more animals.
Where we workNew!
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.
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Number of groups/individuals benefiting from tools/resources/education materials provided
Includes K-12 students receiving literacy and school supplies, incentive items for after-school activities, and college students aided by scholarships, emergency funds and supplies such as laptops.
Number of people receiving health care screening or health education
Includes partner-led screening/education for diabetes, blood pressure, TB, cancer, suicide prevention, obesity, parenting, natal care, behavioral health, home visits and community investment projects.
Number of people within the organization's service area accessing food aid
Includes staple foods used by senior centers, food boxes used by food pantries, emergency food boxes, breakfast foods, bulk distributions, holiday meals, produce and gardens.
Number of people accessing emergency relief
Includes disaster relief for environmental emergencies, as well as winter fuel, home repairs and weatherization for Elders, winter/summer emergency boxes, and supplies for foster care and shelters.
Number of animals rescued
Includes food and pet supplies to aid animal welfare groups and foster families, as well as support for spay/neuter clinics and vaccinations in overpopulated reservation communities.
Number of people assisted with holiday relief packages
Includes holiday gift stockings filled with practical items to meet immediate needs, and incentives for children and families participating at Easter, spring and other community gatherings.
Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
How will they know if they are making progress?
What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
PWNA focuses on remote, geographically-isolated and often impoverished Native American communities with limited employment opportunities or access to basic necessities. Our partnerships with 1,000+ agencies on 60 reservations in the Northern Plains and Southwest regions of the U.S. support positive change, enhance tribal programs and develop local leaders who can drive social change. This is the primary goal behind our vision, whether a reservation partner is focusing on immediate needs (such as nutrition, education or healthcare) or championing long-term, grassroots solutions.
PWNA recognizes that poverty is a social problem with a social solution. We are also aware of the difficult history of disempowering and oppressive federal policies that have shaped many of the current difficult living conditions in remote reservation communities. This knowledge informs our programmatic approach, which is building upon assets within the communities we serve, bringing together individuals, programs, training, outside resources and encouragement to address challenges and support positive change.
Our community-driven model leverages the social capital of a larger network mobilizing toward a common solution. Local participation and empowerment are known to lead to sustainable gains and social change for the communities and people involved. Whether we approach this through our Material Services or Long-Term Solutions, the key is developing and supporting momentum with many future leaders across many reservations and maintaining it over the long run. Collaborating with reservation partners, PWNA believes this approach will lead us toward our vision of strong, self-sufficient Native American communities. We look forward to the time when the communities with whom we work no longer require PWNA's support because they are accessing other resources, most of which come from within their communities.
HOW CHANGE HAPPENS:
Examples of how change happens at a community level as a result of our work with partners include situations such as:
• A student who receives our scholarship earns a college degree and feels better equipped to serve their community
• A number of diabetics in a community who have become informed and feel better equipped to self-manage their disease
• An Elder whose housing and related health risk has been resolved through home improvement
• A thriving food bank that was needed and planned, but not yet established, received a start-up grant
Over the next three to five years, PWNA's work entails training and empowering more tribal employees that are change agents and leaders in their communities, continuing to support higher education for American Indian students who are motivated to make a difference for their tribes and continuing to identify and support high-impact efforts that lead to long-term solutions for the people we serve.
Each reservation PWNA serves has different goals and needs. PWNA employs four service strategies to ensure relevant and meaningful support for each community:
• MATERIAL SERVICES: Our Material Services address immediate needs for Northern Plains reservations, Southwest reservations, education and animal welfare. PWNA provides the supplies and seasonal services our isolated reservation partner agencies need to provide an improved or more substantial service, such as food provided to soup kitchens that enables them to provide more or better meals. Some of our partner agencies also incorporate our materials as incentives to motivate participation, volunteerism, and retention in their programs. For example, diapers and baby wipes (needed items) may be incorporated into a program to encourage women to receive prenatal care.
• HIGHER EDUCATION SERVICES: The purpose of Higher Education Services is to increase college access and support retention of Native American students in school. These services, along with upcoming enhancements to our scholarships and transition camps, are one of our Long-Term Solutions for strong, self-sufficient Native American communities.
• COMMUNITY INVESTMENT PROJECTS: In these projects, we aim to positively impact the lives of tribal members and to deliver some type of sustainable gain for Native communities — thus the name “Community Investment Projects" (CIP). PWNA supports and convenes community networks to address long-term concerns such as food sovereignty, nutrition-related health issues or youth development. We help bring together reservation needs and identified solutions with off-reservation resources. We also support community members leading grassroots projects in catalyzing local residents around the issues they want to address. The end goal is identifying, resourcing and implementing long-term, sustainable solutions in reservation communities. One example is supporting a food sovereignty initiative that started with garden tilling to help a reservation partner motivate local gardening and ultimately generate in interest in fresh produce, canning, a greenhouse and a farmer's market.
• CAPACITY BUILDING: The purpose of our Capacity Building services is to better equip reservation partners that want to make a greater contribution to their communities. This type of service helps build leaders in reservation communities through formalized personal and professional development, exposure to new resources and networking opportunities. Capacity Building helps motivated professionals at our partner agencies be more effective at work and have more impact on the people they serve.
All of these approaches empower communities, leaders and catalysts for positive change, while meeting immediate needs or supporting long-term solutions.
• CULTURAL COMPETENCY: PWNA has been working on the reservations for 26 years. This has equipped us with extensive knowledge of the history, cultures and concerns of the Native American tribes and communities we serve.
• A STRONG NETWORK ON THE RESERVATIONS: More than 1,000 reservation agencies partner with PWNA and keep us informed about needs and changes in Indian country. These are the people we must influence for our work to be successful, as they are the catalysts for change in reservation communities.
• THE PWNA WAY: At the core of our work, what distinguishes PWNA from other Native-serving charities is supporting the self-determined goals of our reservation partners. These partners identify the needs and solutions in their communities, and we involve them and local volunteers in the delivery of the service. This is a respectful way of working with Native communities.
• PROGRAM LOGIC MODEL & FEEDBACK LOOP: Partnership With Native Americans has a program model based on sound logic, partner input and monitored results. Our services involve specific guidelines and indicators that help us know we are delivering the right type of service to the right communities at the right time.
• COMMUNICATION TOOLS: Communication is an important part of moving our vision forward. In isolated reservation communities, communication is often a challenge due to limited infrastructure or access to Internet, stable phone lines and sometimes post offices. PWNA has a variety of ways to stay in touch with our partner agencies, ranging from focus groups, talking circles, town hall meetings, and site visits to newsletters, a resource site, a networking site, phoning, faxing and email messaging.
• INDUSTRY & PROFESSIONAL NETWORK: PWNA collaborates with other organizations such as the American Red Cross, FEMA, VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster), and food banks. By working together, we can do more and have more impact.
• DIVERSE & CONCERNED DONORS: Material donors such as Mathew 25, International Aid, and Feeding America give quality products such as school supplies, hygiene items, and winter coats, hats, and gloves that are used in PWNA services. We also receive monetary donations from foundations and about half a million individual donors concerned about conditions on the reservations.
• DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS: Strategically located distribution centers in SD and AZ give us affordable reach to 60 reservations, which otherwise have limited access to the goods and services we provide. Each distribution facility stocks an inventory of more than 700 types of products.
• HUMAN CAPITAL: Our staff is passionate about our mission, and 100% of our program staff has experience working in Indian country. Being knowledgeable of the issues, lands, culture, history, and tribal programs and processes supports strong partnerships and maximum impact for the communities we serve.
PWNA has a strong feedback loop that is tied our Vision through a Program Logic Model (available on our website). This model illustrates the change for our reservation partners, showing that as partners become more effective, they are more likely to create positive impact for their communities. This moves us toward our vision of strong, self-sufficient Native American communities, and it underscores the need for PWNA to maintain long-term relationships, high customer satisfaction and continuous feedback from our partners. The logic model includes key indicators to show we are on track. The key indicators reflect critical aspects of community participation and engagement, improved skills, improved networking and resources, and stages of evolvement along our logic model. PWNA regularly monitors the established indicators and reports them out monthly, quarterly, and annually to key stakeholders.
For more than five years, PWNA has collected a baseline of quantitative outcomes data through annual partner agency surveys, which show that nearly 90% of our reservation partners report being more effective with PWNA's support. PWNA also understands the importance of spending a great deal of time in the communities we serve, interacting with partners and participants first-hand so that we can see first-hand the issues and impact of our projects. We also hold focus groups with partners to obtain customer feedback, and we track direct services data. One example is that 90-95% of the students who receive a scholarship from PWNA complete the academic year for which awarded. Another example is that 91% of participants from our fall cohort of Four Directions Leadership Development training were demonstrating the use of new skills by mid-cohort.
In addition, PWNA sets annual targets for key service indicators based on past performance and input from reservation partners. When our reported results are significantly different from our intended targets, PWNA researches the reasons for the disparity and plans for adjustments. Our indicators, as well as our feedback loop with partner agencies and Native advisors, enable us to do this. PWNA is able to monitor our results monthly and determine which adjustments affect our results. The monitoring and the partner agency feedback lead us to the best combination of approaches to achieve results ongoing.
Any adjustments PWNA makes ensure that our services effectively support our partner agencies that are the catalysts for positive change on the reservations. Recently, for instance, we adjusted the indicators for some of our long-term services, and we will continue to tweak them for optimal measurement as our work proceeds.
Since 1990, PWNA has evolved to a level of programming and cultural competency that allows us to work effectively year-round on 60 reservations. Together with our tribal partners, we are improving quality of life for one-quarter of a million Native Americans a year.
OUR MOST CRITICAL ACCOMPLISHMENT:
PWNA is empowering and developing community leaders who are in the best position to create long-term change and advocate for policy change for Indian country. PWNA cannot bring about the legal, government, healthcare, and tribal policy change required for our long-term vision, so we focus on the people who can – our reservation partners. Our effectiveness depends on their effectiveness and 89% of them report being better able to serve due to working with PWNA. That's a lot more local leaders who are better at creating change. This moves us toward our vision of strong, self-sufficient Native American communities.
OTHER THINGS PWNA IS DOING RIGHT:
• Involving the people we serve in the delivery of the service.
• Challenging dependency and poverty through involvement.
• Treating our community partners as customers, and listening to our customers to strengthen service and outcomes.
• Ensuring the right infrastructure and gift-in-kind network to support our work.
• Looking to industry experts for input about moving toward our vision.
CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR NATIVE PEOPLES TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE:
PWNA effectively supports tribal communities by:
• Responding to the need for new services. Recently, reservation partners reported the need for training and in three training classes provided by PWNA, more than 90% of attendees reported skills enhancement. In 2013 we piloted and in 2014 launched a formal capacity building program for personal and professional development of PWNA program partners.
• Providing a range of support for long-term solutions related to food sovereignty, nutrition-related health issues and youth development via community members and collaborators tackling pressing problems.
• Providing diverse education services to support learning, motivation and retention of K-12 students and postsecondary students, including scholarships, emergency and retention grants, college readiness, school supplies and literacy, and incentives for after-school and early childhood learning.
• Providing reservation partners with materials they can use to enhance their programs. PWNA transports 5+ million pounds of goods annually for nutrition, health, education, holiday, animal welfare and emergency relief. These supplies help our partners boost participation in diabetes screenings, nutrition education, parenting classes, community projects and other critical services.
OUR NEXT STEP: In moving toward our vision, PWNA is continuing to empower reservation change agents and leaders by strengthening existing services, efficiencies and public education. Learn more about Partnership With Native Americans at www.nativepartnership.org.
Awards & Accreditations
Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance
Partnership With Native Americans
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.
Board of Directors
as of 1/2/2019
American Indian Language Development Institute, ASU
Christine Kazhe, Vice Chair
Kzhe Law Group, PC
Anne Marie Woessner-Collins
Jones Lang LaSalle, Inc
Ronetta Keeter Briggs
Native American Development Corporation
Cherokee National W. W. Hastings Hospital
American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC)
Haskell Indian Nations University
Nike Global Community Impact, N7 Programs & Partnerships
Retired business development professional
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board Leadership Practices
GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
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?
Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?
ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY
Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?
Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?
Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?