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 Nations’ 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.
2013 MARKET STUDY
Establishing a Creative Economy: Art as an Economic Engine in Native Communities reveals facts, insights and possibilities about Native arts and culture that have been overlooked 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.
Investing in the Indigenous Arts Ecology describes the results of First Peoples Fund’s strategic effort to work with artists and organizations in tribal communities to develop greater access to the critical resources artists need to succeed –– credit and capital, new markets, knowledge and training, informal networks, creative space and supplies. This report provides insight into how we, and others, can contribute to growing and thriving Indigenous arts ecosystems in communities 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.