Former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan and the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) announced on May 1 that they have been awarded a $600,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. According to the organizations release, The funding will be used over the next three years to continue and expand the organization's efforts to build a platform for national dialogues about Indian youth issues, Indian country outreach, and a policy and resource agenda that promotes racial healing and improves access to opportunity for American Indian/Alaska Native children.
"Far too many Indian children are being left behind in our country," Dorgan said. "I am eager to work with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, tribal governments and parents to address the challenges facing our youngest First Americans."
Erin Bailey, director of the CNAY expressed to Indian Country Today Media Network her appreciation toward the W.K. Kellogg Foundation saying they were a true champion in supporting the impactful work of the CNAY which is aimed at improving the lives of young people in Indian country.
Bailey described the CNAY’s process toward receiving the grant.
“We reached out to the Foundation early on in the establishment of the Center for Native American Youth to invite them to be involved and engaged in our work. As is the case in any grant application, these processes take time and continuous dialogue with the Foundation or other funding staff,” she said.
“It was critically important to us, as it would be in any partnership, which we developed a meaningful relationship and agreed upon project with the funder and key partners – including tribes and tribal organizations.”
Bailey also said that in addition to the financial support, which means a great deal to CNAY’s viability, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation brings invaluable experience and support to the efforts of CNAY to bring awareness and a resource platform to address the challenges and successes faced by today’s Native youth.
She went on to say the grant will create an opportunity to gain the support from other individuals and organizations that can assist with the efforts of the CNAY.
“One of the key objectives of the Center is to connect with existing stakeholders, as well as communicate with and identify new stakeholders and resources for the benefit of all of Indian country – this includes funders. We want to attract more funders not just to our efforts at the Center but to the irreplaceable projects, best practices and efforts on-the-ground in tribal communities across the country. We believe passionately that there are many inspiring and effective programs on the ground in Indian country and we hope to be a positive force in attracting resources to these programs,” she said.
Ultimately, Bailey expressed appreciation. “We are excited to have their passion and experience at the table.”
Senator Dorgan expressed a similar sentiment of gratitude, “The W.K. Kellogg Foundation funding is a huge boost to our program. We are excited about the Foundation's commitment to partner with the Center and more importantly, to shine a spotlight on and drive a national agenda on improving the lives of American Indian children.”