SOURCE: First Nations Development Institute

First Nations Development Institute

November 14, 2016 09:00 ET

Native American Nonprofits "Do a Better Job" of Having Women in Top Leadership Positions

LONGMONT, CO--(Marketwired - November 14, 2016) - A new report issued today by First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) examines gender and leadership within the Native American nonprofit sector. Overall, it finds that the leadership ranks of Native American nonprofits look very different from the national or mainstream nonprofit sector, with Native American nonprofits largely headed by women.

The new research report is one of few that exist that attempts to examine leadership trends within a specific nonprofit subsector, namely looking at gendered leadership within mostly rural and remote reservation-based nonprofits that primarily serve Native American populations. Titled Native American Women, Leadership and the Native American Nonprofit Sector, it was authored by Raymond Foxworth, Ph.D., Vice President of Grantmaking, Development and Communications at First Nations, a national Native American-created and led nonprofit organization.

The report documents that around 61 percent of Native nonprofit organizations are headed by women, compared to only about 45 percent of other nonprofits nationally. It suggests that the Native nonprofit sector seems to be doing a better job with issues of gender and equity than the national nonprofit sector. Though interviews, the report also offers some possible explanations for this gendered leadership trend and also highlights other challenges Native women face as leaders in this sector.

Foxworth researched and wrote the report as one contribution to his participation in Independent Sector's American Express NGEN Fellows Program. In the yearlong leadership fellowship, the 2015-2016 cohort examined issues related to gender and leadership within the nonprofit sector. "As part of this fellowship, it was important for me to provide voice to the Native nonprofit sector as it relates to gender and leadership," Foxworth noted. "As this report notes, contrary to national trends around gender and leadership, Native women are leading the way in Native nonprofit sector, which perhaps offers some valuable insights into conditions that facilitate and encourage more women in key leadership positions."

The full report is available as a free download at or in the Knowledge Center section of First Nations' website at this link: (Note: In the Knowledge Center, if you don't have one already, you will need to create a free online account in order to download the report. Your account will also give you access to numerous other free resources in the Knowledge Center.)

About First Nations Development Institute
For 36 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own -- be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources -- and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information about First Nations, visit

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Contact Information

    Raymond Foxworth
    First Nations Vice President of Grantmaking, Development & Communications
    or (303) 774-7836 x207


    Randy Blauvelt
    First Nations Senior Communications Officer
    or (303) 774-7836 x213