First Nations Development Institute Releases Research Report On
on: November 5, 2009, 7:39 am
Author: First Nations
Development Institute, Sarah Dewees
5, 2009 - First Nations Development Institute releases
research report on 7871 organizations
Nations Development Institute recently completed a research project
on 7871 charitable organizations, their institutional structures,
and best practices for their management. This research resulted
in a report titled Charitable and Sovereign: Understanding Tribal
1982, Congress passed the Indian Tribal Governmental Tax Status
Act, codified as Section 7871 of the Internal Revenue Code, treating
tribal governments as state governments for a variety of specified
tax purposes. One of these purposes was to allow tribal governments
and their programs to receive tax-deductible donations. Many tribes
have used the 7871 tax code to develop tribal charitable and philanthropic
organizations. These organizations include educational scholarship
programs, economic development organizations, and grant making
Nations’ research revealed that while there are a large
number of these so called “7871 organizations” that
provide social service, economic development, educational, and
other charitable programming, only a small number of them are
actively raising external funds. Most such programs are funded
by tribal governments or federal funding streams. However, as
tribes look to diversify both their programs and funding streams,
an increasing number of tribal programs are using Section 7871
to facilitate fundraising as charitable organizations. Use of
the Section 7871 designation to create philanthropic and charitable
entities is increasingly popular as tribes seek ways to protect
their sovereignty while still promoting philanthropic activities.
report had the following additional key findings:
1. There is great programmatic
and organizational diversity among 7871 organizations.
2. There are significant barriers to fundraising for 7871 organizations.
3. The myth of “rich gaming tribes” persists as a
barrier to fundraising for 7871 organizations.
4. Federal legislation is inconsistent in its treatment of 7871
organizations and their eligibility for federal grant programs.
5. There are a large number of tribes that have spun off 501(c)(3)
organizations to remove barriers to fundraising.
6. There is a need to establish best practices to reassure prospective
donors to 7871 organizations.
hope this report will raise awareness about the important role
that 7871 organizations play in providing services to tribal members,”
stated Michael E. Roberts, President of First Nations Development
Institute. “There is still a lot of confusion about what
these organizations are and what they do. We hope this report
will clarify many issues.” One goal of the report is to
educate program officers at foundations so they are more comfortable
working with 7871 organizations. “We hope to educate members
of mainstream philanthropy on this topic,” stated Sarah
Vermillion, Vice President for First Nations Development Institute.
First Nations’ research included a national survey and case
studies and interviews with five active or former 7871 organizations.
This research was funded by the Cultures of Giving Fund, established
at the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors with major support from
the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
To download a free copy of this report, visit our website at www.firstnations.org
and follow the links from the home page.
more than 28 years, using a three-pronged strategy of Educating
Grassroots Practitioners, Advocating for Systemic Change, Capitalizing
First Nations Development Institute 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 communities. First
Nations serves rural and reservation-based Native American
communities throughout the United States
Contact Details: Sarah Dewees
First Nations Development Institute
2217 Princess Anne St.
Ste 111-1Fredericksburg, VA 22401