The Native Arts & Cultures Foundation (NACF) is a 501 (c) 3 philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to the revitalization, appreciation and perpetuation of indigenous arts and cultures. The Native-led national foundation supports American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native artists and communities.
Created after decades of visioning by Native peoples, the arts and cultures foundation provides support to the field and fosters creativity amongst Native peoples through grantmaking, convening, advocacy and research. “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.
NACF was incorporated in 2008 by a founding Board of Directors. Additional support from the Ford Foundation and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation allowed the NACF to begin operating out of headquarters in Vancouver, Wash., in 2009. In 2010, the foundation began awarding grants, 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. By end of 2012, the foundation has awarded over $1,341,000 in grants to over 72 Native artists and organizations in 20 states.
In addition to grant making, NACF supported the field of Native arts and culture by hosting the first national Native arts convening in 2011. The aptly named national gathering "Strengthening the Bones," brought over 100 participants, hailing from 25 different states and representing dozens of indigenous 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.