Tuesday July 5, 2016
Dear First Peoples Worldwide Community:
My entire life I have held the belief that Indigenous Peoples' ways of being provide answers to the problems societies face today. We have achieved what First Peoples Worldwide was created to do–create change, inspire the next seven generations and promote our mission to ensure the power is within our communities. I write you to share our successes and the news that First Peoples Worldwide plans to close over the course of this year.
We understand that this news may cause concern from our grantees and others who benefit from our technical assistance services. In keeping on this path, our board and staff are in agreement that the best way to continue this work is through strategic partnerships rather than a freestanding organization. Please know that we are also having conversations aimed at the continued existence of our Keepers of the Earth Fund. We are excited by these discussions, and will share information as we go along.
Throughout my career, I have focused on "building out" strategies and movements rather than "building up" organizations. Although First Peoples Worldwide has been a vehicle for empowering Indigenous objectives, the organization itself was never an objective. For the last decade, our Keepers of the Earth Fund has awarded more than $2.1 million in small grants to 579 communities in 62 countries. Approximately one-third of our grantees have never received funding before. This has enabled the flourishing of a global network of projects designed in accordance with the Indigenous definition of economic success – meeting the greatest number of needs for the greatest number of people.
While I will slow down, I will continue working with Indigenous Peoples to amplify our voices for self- determination and to build allies in social justice, human rights and women's movements. No words can describe the privilege it has been to spend my career working with Indigenous Peoples and witnessing firsthand the brilliance and resilience that drives our communities.
Founder and President
First Peoples Worldwide