Walmart Foundation Awards $499K Grant to Center For Native American Youth

The Center for Native American Youth and the Walmart Foundation have announced a nearly half-a-million dollar grant to support Native youth

The Center for Native American Youth at The Aspen Institute and the Walmart Foundation have announced a nearly half-a-million dollar grant to support Native youth from ages 18 to 24 participating in an emerging leaders program called Fresh Tracks.

In addition to the grant for the Center for Native American Youth, the Walmart Foundation announced nearly $4 million in Diversity and Inclusion grants of support to 12 organizations around the country working to strengthen communities, create economic mobility and help more people reach their full potential.

The Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute will receive $499,129.00 to support Fresh Tracks, a 3-5-day training expedition program that brings together participants from urban and indigenous communities for cross-cultural leadership experiences.

According to the Walmart Foundation, the funding is part of a larger commitment to building more inclusive and vibrant communities among youth and young adults, as well as close economic, educational and social divides across racial, ethnic and gender lines. Fresh Tracks also seeks to reduce barriers to workplace training and skills gaps that limit career opportunities.

The Center for Native American Youth states that the Fresh Tracks program was inspired by the Obama Administration’s commitment to connecting more young Americans to the outdoors, and is a partnership between the Center for Native American Youth at The Aspen Institute, the My Brother's Keeper Alliance at The Obama Foundation, and the Children & Nature Network's Natural Leaders.

Fresh Tracks launched in 2016. During the program, young adults from Los Angeles and Alaska Native communities went a two-week leadership expedition from southern California to the Arctic Circle. Since 2016, more than 100 young leaders ages 18-24 have completed Fresh Tracks training programs in Los Angeles, Alaska, Boston, and Washington, D.C.

“Fresh Tracks puts culture and the outdoors at the center of our strategy to build the next generation of leaders,” said Erik Stegman, Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth in a release. “In a nation as divided as ours, we’re proud to offer a program that helps Native and non-Native youth draw on the strength of their diversity to find innovative solutions to today’s challenges.” “The Walmart Foundation is committed to helping advance solutions to bridge divides and build more inclusive, empathetic communities where all people have equal access to the tools and opportunities they need to reach their full potential,” said Julie Gehrki, Vice President of the Walmart Foundation in the release. “By supporting organizations working to build trust and foster cross-sector partnerships including the Center for Native American Youth, we’re helping to build capacity for organizations and practitioners working on the front lines to help strengthen communities.” The Center for Native American Youth was selected from over 150 applicants that applied through an open RFP issued by the Walmart Foundation as part of their larger commitment to building more inclusive and vibrant communities. In addition to the funding from the Walmart Foundation, other funders of Fresh Tracks include REI, Casey Family Programs, and The Newman’s Own Foundation. The funding will allow Fresh Tracks to offer four regional training expeditions in 2018 and 2019 in cities across the country. Kimberly Pikok, a Native youth from Barrow, Alaska, has spoken about her Fresh Tracks experience to audiences at the White House and at the Aspen Institute. “Fresh Tracks definitely changed the way I think about how I see the world and the issues communities face with stereotypes, wealth, and the wellbeing of society,” said Pikok in the release. “I also think Fresh Tracks contributed to me being more open with people and confident with my opinions and thoughts.”

Eligible youth may now apply here to attend the next training expedition in Boston.

The list of Walmart Foundation Diversity and Inclusion Grantees are as follows:

Coalition for Queens
Funding will support C4Q’s 10-month Access Code curriculum to equip disadvantaged adults with the coding and professional skills necessary to gain well-paid jobs at leading tech companies.

Cabrini Green Legal Aid
CGLA will collaborate with the Chicago Cook County Workforce Partnership to provide legal services and wraparound support to clients in need.

The Arc
To actively support the inclusion and full participation of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) throughout their lifetimes, the Arc will work with at least 20 organizational chapters around the country to successfully place 630 individuals with I/DD in open jobs.

Funding will help expand adult education and training capacity services, providing education and career laddering for un- and underemployed adults. EMERGE will pilot gender-specific General Education Development (GED) classes for East African women from immigrant and refugee backgrounds and others seeking supportive women-only classes.

Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute
Funding will support Fresh Tracks, an innovative platform for emerging leaders ages 17-25. The program’s 3-5-day training expeditions bring together participants from urban and indigenous communities for cross-cultural leadership experiences that tap into the power of the outdoors to unite and ignite, transforming personal dreams into civic action.

LISC will support place-based initiatives that draw residents of underserved, diverse communities impacted by crime, together with each other and with law enforcement for collaborative action to address community challenges.

Tides Center
Funding will support Cities United, the backbone organization to a network of mayors committed to the seemingly aspirational yet critically urgent goal of reducing the homicides of young black men and boys.

Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis
Funding will help launch a national collaborative to galvanize resources and create cross-sector partnerships to advance equity and outcomes for young women of color.

Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque
Funding will increase CFGD's capacity to develop its equity and inclusion framework and hire equity experts for trainings, speaker series and coaching for business leaders and 20 nonprofits in order to create an informed, equitable and inclusive community where all people are respected, valued and engaged.

National Black Justice Coalition
Funding will support historically black colleges and universities’ (HBCU) efforts to accelerate community cohesion and inclusion by expanding and deepening LGBTQ cultural competency trainings at HBCUs for faculty and students.

Voto Latino
To help foster a pipeline of civically engaged students who identify as and help to elevate the voices of Latino students (and faculty), the funding will provide resources needed to help implement leadership development trainings and other activities for Voto Latino university chapters.

National Urban League
Funding will support the program Project Lead to strengthen the organization's infrastructure and improve overall execution by providing training and development opportunities for its professional staff from across the nation.

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