Fifteen funders have committed over $100 million over the next five years to support Tribal-led biodiversity restoration and conservation

Washington, D.C. – Native Americans in Philanthropy and Biodiversity Funders Group, in partnership with 15 leading funders, announced the launch of the Tribal Nations Conservation Pledge today at the White House Conservation in Action Summit. To date, funders have committed $102.5 million over the next five years to support Tribal-led conservation work. The pledge calls on foundations and philanthropists to allocate a self-determined percentage or amount of funding to support the biodiversity and conservation efforts of Tribes, inter-Tribal organizations, and Tribal consortia.

The Tribal Nations Conservation Pledge demonstrates an important commitment to a new way of thinking about conservation that centers the people who are most impacted by climate and biodiversity crises but also hold the knowledge on how to best steward our lands and water. Indigenous people, especially in the United States, have been impacted by a changing environment that has upended traditional hunting and fishing practices, as well as livelihoods.

“Conservation is not just about safeguarding land. It’s about prioritizing people, especially those who hold the traditional knowledge on how to combat our climate and biodiversity crisis, and recognizing that they can chart a path forward,” said Erik Stegman, CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy. “Through the Tribal Nations Conservation Pledge, Tribal Nations can continue to lead the way on the conservation of our lands and waterways, our agricultural systems, and our planet. We are grateful to our funders who are part of this turning point in the environmental space and understand the impact of grounding this work in Indigenous values and sustainability. ”

Native Americans in Philanthropy and the Biodiversity Funders Group are committed to educating and organizing funders around Tribal-led conservation opportunities, growing total commitment dollars, and changing how we address climate change. The leading funders that have already joined the Pledge and committed to supporting Tribal-led conservation are: The Alaska Conservation Foundation, The Christensen Fund, The Decolonizing Wealth Project, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Grousemont Foundation, The JM Kaplan Fund, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Resources Legacy Fund, Re:wild, The Walton Family Foundation, The Water Foundation, The Wilburforce Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The Wyss Foundation. The list will continue to grow as more funders commit to the Pledge.

“Biodiversity Funders Group (BFG) and our members are honored to lift up the importance of funding the conservation strategies and priorities of Tribal Nations, the original stewards of our environment,” said Lisa Pawlek Jaguzny, Director of Programs and Initiatives at the Biodiversity Funders Group. “This pledge is just the beginning of our partnership with Native Americans in Philanthropy to expand the circle of funders who are committed to a new, people-centered vision for conservation that is rooted in the leadership, knowledge, and traditions of Tribes.”

The collaboration of these funders represents a shift in philanthropic support for Tribal-led solutions in conservation work. Historically, less than 0.5% of philanthropic dollars have been allocated to Native communities, and fewer of those dollars have gone towards Native-led conservation. This Pledge is a turning point in climate funding that recognizes and supports Native communities who have long been leaders in this work.

“The Christensen Fund is a proud supporter and seed funder of this initiative which promotes and recognizes the self-determination and sovereignty of Tribes across the United States,” said Carla Fredericks, CEO of The Christensen Fund. “Since time immemorial, Native American Tribes and communities have lived out their commitment to our Mother Earth, in deep cosmological relationship with these landscapes and ecosystems. By providing funding at scale to Tribes to ensure generational protection of their homelands, we are investing in both Indigenous knowledge and the planet as a whole – a true win-win.”

The Tribal Nations Conservation Pledge will be critical in ensuring that the U.S. meets the minimum goals of the 30 x 30 Initiative, a global effort to conserve 30% of the terrestrial and marine habitat by 2030. Tribal-led conservation methods are already focused on protecting and preserving biodiversity, and the pledge will help accelerate progress towards the global goal over the next seven years. 

Native Americans in Philanthropy and the Biodiversity Funders Group encourage foundations to increase funding of Tribal-led biodiversity protection and preservation by pledging a percentage of their annual programmatic dollars to these efforts or by donating directly to the fund.

For more information, visit www.tribes.native

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About Native Americans in Philanthropy

For over thirty years, Native Americans in Philanthropy has promoted equitable and effective philanthropy in Native communities. They do this through leadership development, education, research, and strategic partnerships with funders and philanthropic organizations. The cornerstone of their work is their relatives and their networks.

NAP supports several communities of stakeholders that work together to build knowledge, community, priorities, and power in the sector. These networks include Native professionals in philanthropy, elected Tribal leaders, Native youth leaders, Native philanthropic executives and board members, and Native nonprofit leaders.

About Biodiversity Funders Group

The Biodiversity Funders Group (BFG) is a professional association of environmental, conservation, and climate and energy grantmakers. We were founded in 1987 as the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity by a group of foundations and federal agencies to encourage funders to work together and leverage their resources. Today, approximately 75 funding institutions, predominantly private foundations, are formal members, while more than 200 other grantmaking institutions benefit from our activities as program partners.