Critical Response Grants – Emergency COVID-19 Relief Funding:

Potlatch Fund is committed to supporting our communities in Northwest Indian Country in the best way possible during the ongoing crisis presented by COVID-19, as normal routines are upended and new needs emerge on an almost daily basis.

To that end, we focused our second round of emergency funding on current grantees and surveyed them to find out what needs were the most urgent in their communities. They are the ones on the ground in their communities, and we wanted to hear what they had to say.

Two things became clear to us during these conversations. First, that the overwhelming need during this time of upheaval is for flexible, unrestricted funding. And second, that the greatest needs exist in rural and less populated communities within our service area.

With that information in hand, the decision was made to prioritize support for Native communities in our geographic area of Idaho, Oregon, and Montana. With additional funding, we were able to support rural communities in Washington. As more funding becomes available in the weeks ahead, we will also look to make grants to those operating within the City of Seattle.

We focused these Critical Response Grants in three specific areas: youth-led educational programs, Native artists, and Native language speakers. All grantees in good standing were eligible for consideration.

To ensure that funds would be available as soon as possible, we asked only that grantees provide us with a simple letter outlining their proposed use of the funds and a current W-9.

In all, $220,000 was granted in this second round of emergency COVID-19 funding through 42 grants as follows:

  • In Idaho, grants to 4 individual Native artists and 1 Native Student Success grantee
  • In Montana, grants to 3 individual Native artists; 2 Native Arts organizations; 3 Language Preservation grantees; and 3 Native Student Success grantees
  • In Oregon, grants to 4 individual artists; 2 Native arts organizations; 3 Language Preservation grantees; and 1 Native Student Success grantee
  • In Washington, grants to 7 individual Native artists, 1 Language Preservation grantee; and 8 Seattle based organizations.

We would like to thank key partners who were instrumental in helping us honor the tradition of sharing our resources with those who are dedicated to strengthening Native communities: the NoVo Foundation, City of Seattle: Human Services Department, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and anonymous donors; and the donors who gave generously at our past Silent Auctions.

In the coming weeks, we will announce grant recipients.

Keep well,

Cleora Hill-Scott
Executive Director, Potlatch Fund
Crow | Sioux | Pawnee