LONGMONT, Colo., March 12, 2015 — The Walmart Foundation has awarded First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) of Longmont, Colorado, a grant of $500,000 to support a project aimed at building the organizational and programmatic capacity of Native American tribes and organizations focused on cattle and/or bison ranching. The one-year project will also focus on improving their management of natural resources, engaging younger community members in ranching businesses, and/or expanding access to new markets.

This is the second time the Walmart Foundation has provided a significant grant for First Nations’ work in the area of Native agriculture and food systems. In 2012 the Walmart Foundation granted $500,000 to First Nations to develop or expand locally controlled and locally based food systems in numerous Native American communities while addressing the critical issues of food security, family economic security, and health and nutrition, along with promoting American Indian business entrepreneurship.

Under the new project, First Nations will work with three selected Native ranching groups or tribal organizations as primary project partners. They will receive financial grants that can be used for infrastructure improvements, equipment, training or consulting services to advance their operations. They will also receive instruction on improving herd health, improving land-management practices, and accessing new markets.

Further, the project partners along with an additional 10 Native ranchers will be sent to the Third Annual Native Food Sovereignty Summit that First Nations and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin are co-hosting in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in October 2015. This will generate significant networking and learning opportunities for the individuals as well as strengthen the capacity of the entire rancher group.

“Native Americans overall have the highest level of food insecurity in the U.S., while many Native ranchers operate against a backdrop of poverty and have been traditionally disadvantaged in the agricultural industry,” noted Michael Roberts, First Nations President. “Assisting Native ranchers – and by association the local food system and the success of larger, related agricultural practices – has significant implications for community and economic development, as well as the culture and health of Native people. We’re expecting that through this project, ranchers will improve livestock health and streamline land-management practices, which will lead to increased economic opportunities.”

“The Walmart Foundation knows that a sustainable food system plays a critical role in helping people live healthy lives,” said Karrie Dennison, Director Hunger Relief & Nutrition, the Walmart Foundation. “First Nations’ work in the area of Native agriculture and food systems provides not just education but also the direct support and relationships needed to make change long term. We are pleased to support First Nations as they work to expand organizational and programmatic capacity of Native ranchers and ultimately help improve the food security of Native Americans.”

First Nations will announce the selected project partners soon, followed by an announcement of the 10 additional Native ranchers who will also be sent to the Native Food Sovereignty Summit.

About Philanthropy at Walmart

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts that draw on the strengths of Walmart in the arenas of sustainability, economic opportunity, and community. As part of our commitment to creating a more sustainable food system worldwide, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States. They recently exceeded a $2 billion goal to fight hunger one year ahead of schedule and have donated more than 1.5 billion pounds of food to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit www.foundation.walmart.com.

About First Nations Development Institute
For 35 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, visit www.firstnations.org.