American Indian College Fund

Education is the Answer

Denver, CO   |  www.collegefund.org

Mission

The American Indian College Fund invests in Native students and tribal college education to transform lives and communities. We have one unwavering purpose – increasing the number of American Indians with college degrees. Currently, only 15% of American Indians over the age of 25 have a college degree – less than half the national average.

Ruling year info

1989

President/CEO

Cheryl Crazy Bull

Main address

8333 Greenwood Blvd

Denver, CO 80221 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

52-1573446

NTEE code info

Scholarships, Student Financial Aid, Awards (B82)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Rural (S32)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Only 15% of American Indians and Alaskan Natives (AI/AN)25 years and over have a bachelor's degree, compared to 32.1% of the overall U.S. population per the U.S. Census Bureau (2019). The unemployment rate for AI/ANs is 10.2%, compared to 5.3% for the overall population (16 years and older) and 24.9% of AI/ANs live below the poverty level, compared to 13.4% of the overall population per the U.S. Census Bureau (2019). With almost 38% of the AI/AN population under the age of 25, we have an opportunity to change the socio-economic deficit for Native American people and communities. Education is the answer.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Student Success Services

The American Indian College Fund's student success services programs support Native American and Alaskan Native students, helping them make transitions from high school to college and college to career. We define an employable graduate as a degree or certificate holder whose studies align with a career that is meaningful to them, and who is prepared to successfully enter their chosen field.

College Fund programming includes pre-college engagement and supports with high school students and families and high school staff, college scholarships, holistic student supports with extensive and intensive student success coaching, transfer supports for students transitioning from one institution to another, and career exploration and readiness programming.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Social and economic status
Sexual identity

This program is focused on strengthening early childhood educational opportunities for Native children and families. The American Indian College Fund, tribal colleges, and their respective tribal partners are leading the way by developing programs that address family engagement and incorporate Native language and culture, thus strengthening instructional quality and increasing young children's skill development. The impact of these funded programs includes increasing research-based practices, improving teacher education and training, and increasing opportunities for Native communities to shape educational access and opportunities from birth and beyond into higher education pathways. This initiative represents the breadth and scope of the College Fund's work toward ensuring a quality educational environment for American Indians.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Children and youth

Cultural preservation includes language, arts, and traditional knowledge. The American Indian College Fund partners with donors and the tribal colleges to ensure that this knowledge is not lost forever.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples

The American Indian College Fund awards almost $12 million in scholarships to approximately 4,000 Native Americans annually. Approximately 15% of American Indians have a bachelor's degree which is half the national average. Through our scholarship support we help make college accessible. Through our support services we help make getting a degree a reality.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Social and economic status
Sexual identity

The American Indian College Fund supports 35 tribal colleges and universities in enhancing their abilities to support students. College Fund support includes funding for infrastructure, faculty development, curriculum development, research projects, and data collection and analysis to drive best practices in educational operations.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples

Where we work

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2020

Charity Navigator 2020

Charity Watch 2021

Awards

Top Workplace 2020

Denver Post

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

We are determined to help more American Indian students complete their college degree. Our goal is to empower individuals and uplift communities through degree attainment and career readiness training. Through programming that supports Native people starting in high school and continuing through their academic goals and career attainment, we are enhancing individuals' abilities to achieve success that is meaningful to them, their families, and their communities.

Developing and enhancing educational programming for our sacred little ones that engages children, parents, elders and the community.
Working with high school students and families to help them see going to college as a viable option. Supporting them with navigating college applications and financial aid processes. Continuing to support them through their first year of college.
Providing financial support through scholarships and fellowships
Providing career exploration and training through internships, networking, mentors, webinars, conferences, and job shadowing
Providing student success resources and supports through individual coaching and extensive communication programs
Supporting leadership development through ambassador and community development programs
Providing faculty development and research grants
Supporting tribal college and university infrastructure and curriculum development and enhancement

The American Indian College Fund has over 32 years of experience in raising money and providing financial and technical support to Native American and Alaskan Native students and tribal colleges and universities. We have provided over 143,000 scholarships and currently serve approximately 4,000 students annually. We have the expertise and staffing to raise funds, develop programming, and directly support students. Our donor partners include foundations, corporations, and individuals and we raise approximately $40 million annually. Our programs include stewarding multi-million multi-year programs and hundreds of individual scholarship programs annually. With a staff of over 75 employees we have expert teams dedicated to our key initiatives; scholarships, career exploration and readiness, faculty development, indigenous early childhood education, computer science, GED programming, environmental science, high school to college pathways, college transfer pathways, strategic enrollment management, leadership development, and cultural preservation. We are financial strong and adept. We have grown our endowment to over $80 million and consistently obtain unqualified audits. Transparency and integrity are core values. The American Indian College Fund is lead by a diverse group of Native and non-Native people who are driven by a common bond; we believe in our mission, in the individuals and communities we serve, and we believe education is the answer to empowering people and uplifting communities and society as a whole.

The American Indian College Fund has increased our direct program support from almost $14 million to $21 million in the last four years. The College Fund has provided over 143,000 scholarships and disbursed $129 million in direct student support since inception.

Within our expansion of services to high school students, we have developed partnerships with over 70 high schools and youth serving entities on or near Indian reservations.

The graduation rate of scholarship recipients is almost 44%. Students receiving multi-year scholarships and coaching services are graduating at even higher rates.

The College Fund has supported 100 Native American TCU faculty members in obtaining higher level degrees.

The College Fund has developed a Career Coaching Framework. In FY 19-20 43% of our Full Circle scholarship recipients participated in a career related experiential education opportunity.

Programs to support tribal college and university capacity building include indigenous early childhood education, computer science, environmental science, GED, strategic enrollment management, employer relationship buidling to strengthen career pathways for students, faculty development, faculty research and publication, transfer programs, dual-enrollment programs, and cultural preservation.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The American Indian College Fund serves Native American and Alaska Native students and 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities across the United States.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    The American Indian College Fund consistently utilizes focus groups, surveys, student groups, and inclusive strategic planning sessions. A couple of more recent changes in response to feedback from the people we serve includes: - Fundraising and program initiatives. One recently added initiatives is our Computer Science initiative. - This past year we modified our TCU scholarship program, increasing the minimum scholarship level and converting semester scholarships to academic year scholarships.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Obtaining feedback has always been part of how the American Indian College Fund operates. We partner with the people and entities we serve. Our mission is foundationally about empowering Native American and Alaskan Native people and in turn, empowering tribal communities. We can only do this if we understand their needs and goals and support them in the way they want to be supported. Needs and circumstances evolve. The power is held by the students and tribal colleges and universities we serve to determine their pathways. It is the American Indian College Fund's role to give them a voice and recourses so they may move forward.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

American Indian College Fund
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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American Indian College Fund

Board of directors
as of 10/19/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Leander "Russ" McDonald

United Tribes Technical College

Term: 2021 - 2022

David Yarlott

Little Big Horn College

Michael Purvis

The Blackstone Group

Justin Guillory

Northwest Indian College

Tom Brooks

AT&T External Affairs

Dawson Her Many Horsess

Wells Fargo

Lynn Rapp

Eagle Opportunity

Meredith Vaughan

Vladimir Jones

Cynthia LIndquist

Cankdeska Cikana Community College

Sandra Bohan

Salish Kootenai College

Brenda Pipestem

Supreme Court Appellate Justice for Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Twyla Baker

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

Charles "Monty" Roessel

Dine College

Haven Gourneau

Fort Peck Community College

Carla Sineway

Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College

Angela "Denine" Torr

Dollar General Corporation

Dan King

Red Lake Nation College

Dennis Worden

Walmart, Inc.

Stefanie Miller

Kellogg's Away from Home

Michael Oltrogge

Nebraska Indian Community College

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and 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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/19/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Native American/American Indian/Indigenous
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/07/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.