The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) is a Native-led, 501 (c) 3 philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to the perpetuation of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian arts and cultures nationwide.
Created after decades of visioning by Native peoples, arts patrons and social justice funders, the foundation provides support to the field and fosters creativity amongst Native peoples through grantmaking, convening, and programming. “The arts have always played a significant role in Native cultures, and are a powerful path for connecting one generation to the next. Thanks to the generous support of the Ford Foundation and others, we were able to launch this important new organization. Thanks to ongoing donations, we're able to carry out our mission to provide support to artists and organizations to help our cultures flourish. We look forward to fostering opportunities that help create positive social change in communities across the nation,” said Foundation President/CEO T. Lulani Arquette.
In 2008, the new foundation was created by a founding Board of Directors. Additional support from the Ford Foundation and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation allowed the NACF to begin operating in 2009 out of headquarters in Vancouver, Wash. In 2010, the foundation began grantmaking, awarding $394,000 to 26 individuals and organizations. In 2011, the foundation increased its support to the field, awarding $510,000 to 28 artists and organizations. That same year, NACF hosted the first national Native arts convening, "Strengthening the Bones." The gathering brought over 100 participants, hailing from 25 different states and representing dozens of Native Nations, together to vision what is needed by Native communities through their artists and arts organizations. Participating organizations represented a cross section of those who share a common interest in supporting indigenous cultures, including Native and non-Native arts services organizations, cultural centers, museums, artists and artist collectives, foundation and government funding agencies.
As of May 1, 2014, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation is proud to have been able to support 85 Native artists and organizations in 22 states, awarding $1,602,000 in assistance.