Current IECD partners
Network member schools
OTHER ECD INITIATIVES
PREVIOUS PROGRAMS & PROJECTS
The initiative’s launch followed the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis establishing the Center for Indian Country Development in 2015 (it identified ECD in Indian Country as one of its focus areas).
In partnership with Echo Hawk Consulting, the center, and the Shakopee Mdewankanton Sioux, we aligned on three objectives: (1) Gain a better understanding of the IECD landscape in Minnesota and the 11 Native Nations in it; (2) Spotlight the excellent work of IECD providers; and (3) Engage funders in learning and reflection to drive more philanthropic dollars toward IECD.
The initiative produced an extensive report and partners hosted a conference to plan actions stemming from it. Shakopee Mdewankanton Sioux and Better Way then seeded a new Healthy Children, Healthy Nations Fund to bring new resources to IECD. Casey Family Programs contributed additional funding.
The fund awarded $200,000-plus in 2019 and has helped raise the profile of IECD and engage other funders in it.
Indigenous evaluation was an important part of the recommendations from the 2016 Echo Hawk Indigenous ECD Landscape Report. In 2018, we began learning about Indigenous evaluation with expert Dr. Teresa Peterson (Upper Sioux Community) and consulting with Dr. Shelly Valdez and Jill Stein to help IECD partners build out evaluation strategies. Learnings and Indigenous evaluation principals informed our current Evaluation Framework.
In 2016, Echo Hawk Consulting completed research on the landscape of ECD service provision in Native communities and analyzed opportunities, challenges, and potential entry points for our support and engagement. Recommendations include supporting Native-led and -serving organizations to:
- Facilitate collaboration, networks, and partnerships
- Teacher recruitment and retention
- Native language and culture
- Planning and capacity building
- Mental health
- Facilities improvement
The report also calls for using grant strategies, such as core support grants, systems approaches, geographically focused work, and multi-year grants.
This initiative, inherited during the merger from the original Better Way Foundation, provided seed funding for innovative ideas that faculty at Catholic Universities put forward to support ECD research and education: Catholic University of America, St. Catherine University, Boston College, University of Dayton and University of Great Falls.