About Us

Learn How We Make Education The Answer


Our Mission

The American Indian College Fund invests in Native students

The American Indian College Fund invests in Native students and tribal college education to transform lives and communities.

Our Vision

The American Indian College Fund was founded in 1989. For 30 years the College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native student access to higher education. We provide scholarships, programming for Native American student access to a higher education, and the programs and tools for them to succeed once they are there.

Our Commitment to Supporters

The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators.

  • The College Fund meets the Standards for Charity Accountability of the Better Business Bureau‘s Wise Giving Alliance.

  • The College Fund received a Gold Seal of Transparency from Guidestar.

  • The College Fund consistently receives high ratings from Charity Navigator.

  • The College Fund received an B+ rating from Charity Watch.

How Your Donations Are Used

  • 73% Scholarships, programs, and public education

  • 5% Management and general

  • 22%: Fundraising

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Tribal Colleges And Universites

In 1969, the first tribal college, born of the Civil Rights Movement, was founded by the Navajo nation to provide an affordable, accessible higher education to its young people. Today, 50 years later, the American Indian College Fund supports 35 tribal colleges and universities (TCUs).

TCUs have three basic criteria: they are tribally chartered, their boards are comprised of a majority Native Americans, and the student bodies are comprised of a majority (51%) of Native Americans.

At TCUs, Native cultures and traditions are woven into the curricula and institutions, providing a space for Native students to learn and be understood. TCUs also serve non-Native students in the communities, providing a path to education and opportunity. TCUs also provide valuable services such as adult education; child care, health and computer centers; libraries; Indigenous research and language preservation classes; and a hub for community activities.

The first six tribal colleges founded the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) to maintain common standards of quality in American Indian education; support the development of new TCUs; promote and assist in developing legislation to support American Indian higher education; and encourage greater participation by Native peoples to develop higher education policy.

AIHEC established the American Indian College Fund in 1989 to support student scholarships and the TCUs. Today the College Fund raises millions of dollars for scholarships, campus infrastructure, and programming such as research, language preservation, early childhood education, mentoring, internships, and student success.

Meet Our Team

President & CEO

Mitakuyepi, Relatives,

Only 14% of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) people age 25 and older have a college degree—less than half of that of other groups in the United States. This reflects the college access and completion crisis amongst Native peoples today. The American Indian College Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization, helps Native people meet their full potential by helping them access a higher education. But financial support is not enough. The College Fund also provides Native students with the tools, programs, and support they need to succeed.

The results are worth it. A higher education is equated with improved rates of employment, self-esteem, and health outcomes, creating a healthier and happier future for individuals, families, and communities.

My work in my near 40-year education career is inspired by the TCU founders’ vision to serve the entire community. When I attend a TCU graduation, I see young people who entered college from high school, students who earned a GED and stayed to get a certificate or degree, and older students who spent years pursuing a degree while working and raising a family. With your support, we can provide even more Native students with a higher education and the tools they need to build a bright future for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Pilamayayapi (thank you) for your support and friendship,

Wacinyanpi Win (They Depend on Her)

Cheryl Crazy Bull (Sicangu Lakota) Read Full Bio

Board of Trustees

The American Indian College Fund’s Board of Trustees meets three times per year. Under the charter of the American Indian College Fund, 50% of the Board of Trustees must be tribal college and university presidents.

Trustees serve a term of three years.

Governing Board of Trustees 2019-20


David E. Yarlott, Ph.D.

Little Big Horn College

First Vice Chair

Robert Bible

College of the Muscogee Nation

Second Vice Chair

Sandra Boham, Ed.D.

Salish Kootenai College

Resource Development Chair

Jeff L. Fillerup, Esq.

Rincon Law LLP

Member At Large

Michael Purvis

Managing Director
The Blackstone Group

Twyla Baker, Ph.D.

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

Tom Brooks, J.D.

Vice President
External Affairs

Pearl Brower, Ph.D.

Iḷisaġvik College

Joe Canfora

Merit Management Group

Carole Falcon-Chandler, Ed.D. (honorary)

Aaniiih Nakoda College

Cameron Geiger

Vice President
International Systems
Walmart Stores, Inc.

Justin Guillory, Ph.D.

Northwest Indian College

Governing Board of Trustees 2018-19

Dawson Her Many Horses

Senior Vice President & Senior Relationship Manager
Wells Fargo

Dan King, M.B.A.

Red Lake Nation College

Cynthia Lindquist, Ph.D.

Cankdeska Cikana Community College

Leander “Russ” McDonald, Ph.D.

United Tribes Technical College

Stefanie D. Miller

Senior Vice President/GM, East Zone
The Coca-Cola Company

Brenda Pipestem, J.D.

Supreme Court Appellate Justice for Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Lynn Dee Rapp

Eagle Opportunity

Charles “Monty” Roessel, Ed.D.

Diné College

Meredi Vaughan

Vladimir Jones

Non-Governing Board of Trustees

Emeritus Trustees

Gail Bruce

Ramscale Studio

Anne Sward Hansen

David M. Gipp, J.D. (honorary)

David Kennedy

Co-Founder Wieden+Kennedy

Ex-Officio Trustee

Carrie Billy, Esq.

President & CEO
American Indian Higher Education Consortium

Committee Advisors

Kimberly Blanchard, Esq.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP


The College Fund places its mission at the core of everything we do and how we do it. Our team is focused on creating and improving opportunity for Native individuals and communities who need it most. We thrive in our dedication to accomplishing our work together as a whole team.

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