Giving Compass’ Take:
• Programs such as Head Start are helpful for Native communities in terms of providing early childhood education and broader services for families in need.
• How can donors strengthen and expand programs that provide critical care to these communities?
More than ever, American Indians and Alaska Natives face some of the greatest challenges in the United States. Resources — including food, housing, medical care and family support services — have been inaccessible or nonexistent for years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, those resources have become even scarcer. According to researchers at the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, the COVID-19 crisis is “devastating tribes’ abilities to fund their governmental services and forcing tribes to make painful decisions to lay off employees, drop workers’ insurance coverage, deplete assets and/or take on more debt.” At the same time, some Native communities have experienced disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths.
Native communities already suffer from generational trauma, and now the pandemic is causing additional trauma to families and young children. Many of these communities rely on revenue from casinos, which have been shuttered during the crisis. Revenue shortfalls will likely make it much more difficult for Native communities to provide services to young children.
But our communities are resilient. We draw our strength from family and from deep cultural roots to our land and each other. Many Native people and families are committed to staying in our communities and helping our children thrive. In many tribal communities, the Head Start program is a hub that provides families with their first opportunity for comprehensive support. FHI 360 is honored and proud to support these families through our leadership of the National American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Collaboration Office (NAIANHSCO) .
Head Start programs are often at the center of family life, providing not only child development services, but also family support services and parenting classes. American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start programs are also a primary source of employment for many people living on reservations. They offer a seamless extension of family and community for Native children and are committed to providing comprehensive services that reflect cultural beliefs about how children grow and learn.
Read the full article about supporting Native communities by Micker Richardson at degrees.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for Race and Ethnicity, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and Race and Ethnicity.
Are you ready to give?
If you are interested in COVID-19, please see these relevant Issue Funds, Charitable Organizations or Projects where you can get involved.