HONORING AND SUPPORTING THE COLLECTIVE SPIRIT OF FIRST PEOPLES ARTISTS AND CULTURE BEARERS FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS.
Founded in 1995, First Peoples Fund's mission is to honor and support the Collective Spirit® of First Peoples artists and culture bearers.
Collective Spirit® is that which moves each of us to stand up and make a difference, to pass on ancestral knowledge and simply extend a hand of generosity. First Peoples Fund recognizes the power of art and culture to bring about positive change in Native communities, beginning with individual artists and their families.
We strive to provide support and voice to creative Indigenous artists who share their inspiration, wisdom, knowledge and gifts with their communities. First Peoples Fund's grantmaking initiatives include the annual Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards, Artists in Business Leadership, Cultural Capital Fellowship, Our Nation's Spaces, and Native Artist Economic Building Grants.
Rooted in our traditional values of generosity, wisdom, respect, integrity, strength, fortitude and humility, First Peoples Fund sustains culture and cultivates entrepreneurial initiatives and community development programs for—and alongside—Native artists so that together we all celebrate a full, self-sustaining, artistic life.
Each year, hundreds of Native artists and culture bearers gain business and leadership skills, significantly increase their personal and family incomes, and are inspired to meaningfully sustain their culture and communities through our programs.
First Peoples Fund takes a regional approach to working with community-based partners across Indian Country — Native Community Development Financial Institutions, Community Development Corporations and arts-based nonprofits — to build their capacity to serve Native artists and help leverage the powerful community and economic development potential of artists in tribal communities.
We are dedicated to building the field of Native arts and culture across the country by providing both research and collective initiatives that strengthen and bring resources to creative economies in Native communities.
ART IS DEEPLY ROOTED IN NATIVE COMMUNITIES.
Our market study Establishing a Creative Economy: Art as an Economic Engine in Native Communities reveals facts, insights and possibilities that have been overlooked and untapped for far too long. Based on market research conducted in Washington, Oregon, Montana and South Dakota, this report makes the case of Native arts as a strong and available economic force in Indian Country.
Since 1995, through grant-making and entrepreneurial education initiatives, First Peoples Fund has provided resources to thousands of American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native artists to support themselves and their families and give back to their communities.
- $1.5 million in direct grants to individual artists awarded
- $1 million to community-based organizations supporting Native artists
- More than 1,000 artists have experienced FPF's professional development trainings, delivered by 30-plus artists across Indian Country
Jennifer Easton (1947-2017) founded First Peoples Fund in 1995 as a donor advised fund of the Tides Foundation to support Native artist-entrepreneurs and culture bearers. In 2003, the organization was established as a separate nonprofit headquartered in Rapid City, South Dakota. Since then, First Peoples Fund has leveraged Jennifer's initial investment to grow and thrive. We continue to build from her vision.