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The American Indian College Fund invests in Native students

The Denver Post Names American Indian College Fund a Winner of the Colorado Top Workplaces 2019 Award

The American Indian College Fund has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2019 honor by The Denver Post. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC, a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

“Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

The American Indian College Fund aims to lift up American Indians through education. It raises funds and distributes scholarships for students to pursue higher education. After entry to school, the College Fund stays with students through a holistic support system to ensure their success. Half of the College Fund’s 60 employees are American Indians. Even off the clock, employees attend lectures, meetings and workshops.

The fund was founded in 1989. In its decades of helping students, its work has been fueled by a very motivated staff. In a 2018 employee engagement survey, 98 percent of employees responded that they were always or nearly always motivated by the mission and vision of the fund.

“The College Fund’s team is very appreciative of this award as we recognize that it is a reflection not only of the great environment we strive to have for our work but it also honors the people we serve. Indigenous people value relationships, industriousness, and creativity. We are proud to honor their values as we accept this recognition.” said Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO. “To achieve our mission, we know it is important to have a collaborative and healthy workplace incorporating Native values to serve not only our Native students, tribal colleges and universities, and communities, but also our employees, who dedicate their careers to bring our mission to life.”

“Becoming a Top Workplace isn’t something organizations can buy,” Claffey said. “It’s an achievement organizations have worked for and a distinction that gives them a competitive advantage. It’s a big deal.”


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.

President’s Team

Cheryl Crazy Bull (Sicangu Lakota)
President and Chief Executive Officer

Carrie Basgall
Executive Assistant to President and CEO

Lisa Smith
Human Resources Director

Emily White Hat, J.D.l (Sicangu Lakota)
Director, Strategy and National Outreach


Tammy Miller-Carlson, CPA
Chief Financial and Operations Officer

Doug Duniphin
IT Services Administrator

Veronica Schultz
Accountant/Building Manager/Benefits Administrator

Daniel Sauvé (St. Regis Mohawk)
Data Entry Specialist

JoAnna Thompson
Front Desk Administrator

Megan Thoms
Data Services Administrator

Norma Theisen

Cherylynn Tsikewa (Zuni Pueblo)
Assistant to the Chief Financial and Operations Officer

Program Initiatives

Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, Ed.D. (Diné)
Vice President, Program Initiatives

Bridget Skenadore  (Diné)
Program Officer Native Arts and Culture

Kendra Teague
Program Officer

Cheryl LaRose
Program Officer

Hannah Gonzales 
Program Assistant

Research, Evaluation & Faculty Development

David Sanders, Ph.D.(Oglala Lakota)
Vice President, Research, Evaluation and Faculty Development

Aleks Humeyumptewa  (Hopi)
Administrative Assistant, Office of Research and Development

Crystal LoudHawk-Hedgepeth (Diné)
Research Associate

Natalie Youngbull, Ph.D. (Cheyenne & Arapaho/Assiniboine & Sioux)
Faculty Development Program Officer

Stephanie Renteria-Perez 
Intern, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Resource Development

NancyJo Houk 
Chief Marketing and Development Officer

Jamie Schwartz 
Director of Major Gifts

Karen Cheung 
Director of Marketing

Jordan Cooper
Grant Writer and Researcher

Emi Deguchi
Planned Giving Officer

Liana Epstein
Development Coordinator

Dan Khouri
Development Coordinator

Katie Keating
Community Engagement Manager

Amita Manandhar
Marketing Coordinator

Mackenzie Parker
Major Gifts Grant Manager

Elissa Regan
Development Coordinator  Corporate Partnerships

Elizabeth Russell
Manager, Corporate Partnerships

Aaron Smith
Assistant Director of Major Gifts

Kimberly Urish
Major Gifts Officer

Janna Stieg
Major Gifts Officer

Kim Williams
Resource Development Coordinator

Kathy Remias
Program Assistant

Nancy Slyter
Database Manager

Julie Marchant
Media Placement Manager

Student Success Services

Tiffany Gusbeth  (Northern Cheyenne)
Director of Student Success Services

David Bledsoe 
Communications Administrator

Cheryl DeGraff  (Potawatomi)
Administrative Assistant

Jacqueline “Jacque” Demko (Arikara, Ojibwe & Hidatsa)
College Admission Coach

Leia Fish (Blackfeet)
Transfer Program Coordinator

Alex Darling (Navajo)
Student Success Coach

Cody Emrick
Program Administrator – Scholarships

Matthew Makomenaw, Ph.D.  (Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians)
College Pathways Manager

Teresa Melendez (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi)
College Success Coordinator

Kelley Mitchell  (Diné)
Full Circle Program Coordinator

Jack Soto (Diné/Cocopah)
Career Readiness Pathways Program Manager

Owen Sapulpa Jr.  (Sicangu Lakota/Mvskoke Creek)
Administrative Assistant

Public Education

Dina Horwedel, Esq 
Director of Public Education and Communications

John Williams


The American Indian College Fund is a top-rate national charity making a difference in Native peoples’ lives and communities, while working to effect policy change in higher education.

We asked our staff..."What are your top reasons for working here?" they said:

  • Working in a great team with the same focus to support Native Scholars

  • Motivated and united by our mission

  • Support of cultural values

  • Great salary and benefits

  • Flexible work schedule

  • Consistent and supportive learning environment

  • Great office culture

  • Promotion of healthy work/life balance

  • The staff are hardworking and fun!

  • Ethical and transparent practices

In our 2018 employee engagement survey we asked our employees to tell us about some things we are doing great here. Some replies included:

  • The College Fund continues to be an organization with our mission at the core of what we do and how we do it. Our team is focused on creating and improving opportunity for individuals and communities who need it most. We thrive in our dedication to accomplishing our work together as a whole team.

  • I feel like leadership and my boss go out of their way to make us feel appreciated. I am happy and proud to work here.

  • Our mission is incredible and it is clear that individual staff members are deeply passionate about service to that mission.

  • We are always trying to figure out how to do things better, we are clear about the importance and focus on our mission and work, overall we are generous and treat employees/staff well.

  • There is an extremely warm and welcoming culture at this organization.

Diversity and Inclusion comments

  • This is the most inspiring work to me because Native people at the College Fund are spearheading these programs and are giving Native communities the chance to form their own pathway through these programs as well.

  • I like that we incorporate Indigenous perspectives in how we treat each other and go about our work.

  • We thrive in cultural literacy, which helps us understand a distant place our students come from.

  • I also get a strong sense of mutual respect and inclusion from all staff members at the College Fund.


Grant Writer and Researcher

Job Details

Job Title

Grant Writer and Researcher


Date Modified

Position Type


Reports To

Major Gifts Grants Manager


Denver, CO

Date Modified

April 19, 2019


The primary purpose of this position is to translate programmatic concepts into compelling, successful grant proposals and reports. Grant proposals range from $100,000 to $5 million+. This position requires both freestyle proposal and report writing as well as online application and report development.

Incumbent must share the core guiding principles of the American Indian College Fund (College Fund) to be appropriately inclusive and supportive; to consider and communicate thoughtfully; to trust and respect the diverse expertise and knowledge of team members to empower accountability and productivity; to support problem-solving, creativity, and innovation to effectively achieve goals, and to embrace the College Fund’s diversity and ability to work as a united team. This position works closely within Resource Development and across department lines to lead fundraising efforts and achieve team and organization objectives. As such, a commitment to these principles is critical to successfully executing the duties of this role.

Essential Job Functions

  • Develops major donor proposals

  • Analyzes donor and organization objectives and gathers data to write persuasive proposals of up to $5 million+ for a diverse portfolio of donors and donor prospects .

  • Support of cultural values

  • Great salary and benefits.

  • Advises program development using knowledge of donor relationships and organizational capacity and strategy.

  • Recommends strategies for fundraising negotiations and cultivation to secure significant major gifts

  • Develops major donor reports and oversees successful grant administration o Uses critical judgement of donor relationships and organizational strategy and gathers data to write compelling grant reports.

  • Ensures fulfillment of grant criteria and program outcomes necessary to donor development and continued funding.

  • Makes recommendations for program implementation and reporting strategies for major gifts stewardship.

  • Develops collateral and conducts prospect research for major gifts fundraising efforts o Develops strategic collateral to steward major donors.

  • Conducts and houses research for internal data needs as well as industry-wide data for use in grant writing and reporting as well as donor prospecting and cultivation.

  • Develops innovative solutions and ideas to optimize fundraising potential.

  • Other duties as assigned.

Job Requirements

  • Excellent writing and editing skills • Excellent grants management abilities

  • Analyzes donor and organization objectives and gathers data to write persuasive proposals of up to $5 million+ for a diverse portfolio of donors and donor prospects .

  • Strong critical thinking skills • Aptitude for storytelling using qualitative and quantitative data

  • Ability to independently solve problems and complete projects with minimal oversight

  • Strong prospect research and data gathering abilities

  • Ability to work well within a diverse team and across departments

  • Flexibility to adapt to a fast-paced and dynamic work environment .

  • Required to multi-task, organize, and meet deadlines .

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.

  • Knowledge of donor relational database software.

  • Knowledge of and/or interest in learning about American Indian and Alaska Native education.

  • Familiarity with national philanthropic sector and understanding of concepts and trends within philanthropy

Education/ Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required

  • 3+ years of related fundraising experience, preferably in grants development, administration, and reporting .

Work Environment and Physical Activities

  • Professional office setting, occasional travel, frequent key boarding, and lifting up to 35 pounds

To Apply

Send your cover letter and resume to

Please put your name and the job title in the subject line.

Note: The intent is not to provide an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, or qualifications associated with this position. Incumbent may perform other duties as assigned.

American Indian College Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer


Are you looking to find a place where your contributions make a difference? Have you some free time to lend a hand? Looking to find a place where you can develop your job skills in a fun and learning environment?

If you answered yes, then we would like to meet you.

The American Indian College Fund is seeking a civic minded individual/s who can volunteer their skills in the following area: Office or clerical support – answer phone, file, data entry.

Contact Info

Human Resources

Send your resume to

American Indian College FundHuman Resources 8333 Greenwood Blvd. Denver, CO 80221

The American Indian College Fund is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer

The American Indian College Fund is dedicated to the principles of equal employment opportunity in any term, condition, or privilege of employment. We do not discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of age, race, gender, color, religion, national origin, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local law.




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