Native Leadership Institute

Type of Activity: Project
Grantee: Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund
Amount: Updated to $300,000 in 2023

What is Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund?

A fiscally sponsored project of Tides Advocacy, Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund is the first and only national Native-led organization working to create a shared vision for power building in Native communities and building a nimble ecosystem of support for long-term equitable shifts in democracy.

The Native Leadership Institute (NLI) is the only national Native leadership training, research, and data institute created by and for Indigenous peoples focused on power building and Native voter research in the United States. Currently, the NLI has three core programs of focus: the Leadership Training Program, the Data Fellowship Program, and the Native PowerBase Voter, Data, and Research Program.

Why do we think this project is important? 

The Native Leadership Institute program aims to elevate the political power of Native American communities across the country, with a long-term goal of the continued existence of U.S. Indigenous peoples. There are nearly 520,000 elected officials in the U.S. at all levels of government. Fewer than 200 of those elected leaders identify as Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian.

The annual goal for the NLI training program is to recruit 300 Native leaders into the program. The NLI also utilizes data experts in their communities who have access to technology and are familiar with the voter file to support campaigns and Native voter turnout efforts. NLI also aims to address the lack of data and research on Native voters and non-voters so that they are no longer excluded from political and voter engagement strategies.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting the Native Leadership Institute?

In 2023 an amendment was approved to increase the amount of the grant by $150,000 for a total of $300,000.

In 2022, Democracy Fund Voice approved a one-year grant of $150,000 to the Advance Native Political Leadership Action Fund.