The American Indian College Fund is an nonprofit organization that helps Native American students, providing them with support through scholarships and funding toward higher education. The Fund provides 5,000 annual scholarships for American Indian students and also provides support for other needs at the tribal colleges ranging from capital support to cultural preservation activities.
History and Mission
During the Civil Rights Acts and Native American self-determination movements in 1960s, many tribes and tribal leaders came to the decision that there was a need for change in failed federal education policy and improve education for Native American students and future generations. During this time of change and growth, tribal colleges and universities were born.
The American Indian College Fund was launched in 1989 and raised funds from private sector sources to provide scholarship support to the tribal colleges. This was the primary mission of the Fund, to generate broad awareness of those institutions and the Fund itself. The organization also raises money and resources for other needs at the schools, including capital projects, operations, endowments or program initiatives, and it will conduct fund raising and related activities for Board-directed initiatives. The American Indian College Fund made higher education, knowledge, and the enhancement and enrichment of culture more accessible and available for Native American students located in more rural areas of the country.
Originally located in New York City, the Fund headquaters were relocated to Denver, Colorado in 2002.
The idea for an Indian college fund was first proposed by Jan Crull Jr.,an aide to U.S. Congressman Paul Simon the then chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, to the tribal college presidents and many other tribal officials assembled at the old American Indian Bank in Washington, D.C., on July 21, 1981.