Annual Flame of Hope Fundraising Gala Raises More than $400,000 to Benefit Native Education

Oct 10, 2013 | Blog, Inside the College Fund

The American Indian College Fund is projected to raise $550,000 support Native student scholarships at its 18th annual Flame of Hope Gala, held on October 10 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Proceeds will benefit Native education.

Native artist Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa/Choctaw) created a painting live at the event, which was awarded to the donor providing the largest gift. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe took the painting for their donation of $50,000. A silent auction including art by the nation’s top Native artists, and entertainment by Native musicians, including classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala and the dance and music group Brulé, were featured. Haskell Indian Nations University alumnus Dominic Clichee spoke during the program.

The American Indian College Fund honored the Northwest Area Foundation of Minneapolis for funding a $1 million, one-year Tribal College Leaders in Community Innovation Award, providing financial assistance for tribal college programs impacting local communities at Leech Lake Tribal College in Minnesota; Sitting Bull College in North Dakota; Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota; Stone Child College in Montana; and Northwest Indian College in Washington State.

We thank the 37 individual, corporate, foundation, and tribal nation sponsors that made this year’s Flame of Hope Gala a tremendous success. Flame of Hope Sponsor: USA Funds. Keeper of the Flame Sponsor: Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota. Vision of Hope Sponsors: The CocaCola Company, Comcast NBC Universal , Lannan Foundation, Nissan North America, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Circle of Hope Sponsors: Anheuser-Busch Companies, AT&T, The Richard Black Family: Richard, Heather, Kara, and Erica, Ford Motor Company Fund & Community Services; McDonald’s Corporation, Target Corporation, Travelers, UPS Foundation, US Bank, Walmart Foundation, Wieden + Kennedy. Spirit of Giving Sponsors: CBS Corporation, FedEx, Grotto Foundation, Jenzabar, Mattel, Peskoff Foundation, The Tierney Family Foundation, United Health Foundation. Visionary Sponsors: Amergent, Kimberly S. Blanchard, Dine College, Kauffman and Associates, Inc., Leech Lake Tribal College, National Indian Gaming Association, MAG Mechanical. Ignite the Flame Sponsors: Aramark, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, College of the Muscogee Nation, Northwest Indian College.


Apple mobile device users: please click here to see the photos on


Gabriel Ayala

A member of the Yaqui people of Southern Arizona, guitarist Gabriel Ayala is an accomplished classical musician. Ayala earned a master’s degree in music performance from the University of Arizona in 1997, has taught at all educational levels from elementary through college, and serves as a competition adjudicator. Although he enjoys being a teacher, his touring schedule allows him to only teach in Master Class settings. Ayala performs regularly throughout the United States and internationally. He has appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Museum of the American Indian, Musical Instrument Museum and the Oscar Meyer Theater in Madison, Wisconsin. Recently, he was a featured artist at President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Ball. 

Steven Judd

Steven Judd is an artist and writer. As a member of the Writers Guild of America, Judd has written many series and movie shorts, and was a semifinalist in NBC/Universal’s Comedy Short Cuts Diversity Film Festival in 2007. His work has also been included in an installment at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. In 2008, Judd was selected for the Disney/ABC Writing Fellowship Program with ABC/Disney. In 2009 Judd was nominated as a Distinguished Alumni for the University of Oklahoma, where he spoke as part of the Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series.  Steven Judd will be creating a painting live at the American Indian College Fund’s 2013 Flame of Hope Gala for auction. The proceeds will benefit Native student scholarships.


Paul LaRoche, adopted at birth off the Lower Brule Sioux Indian Reservation, discovered his heritage in 1993 after the death of both adoptive parents. He was reunited in 1993 with a brother, sister, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. The discovery of his true heritage influenced Paul to turn his feelings to humanitarian causes through music. In 1995, out of recognition for his tribe, Paul introduced his recording name as Brulé. Paul was selected as a musical ambassador and speaker for the 2000 UN Peace Conference held in The Hague Center for Peace.
Brulé has become one of the top-selling Native American recording artists with more than one million CDs sold worldwide. Brulé was also awarded the 1999 Outstanding Musical Achievement Award by The First Americans in the Arts, 2002 Group of the Year & Best Instrumental Recording Native American Music Awards (NAMMA), 2003 Best Instrumental Recording for Night Tree By Nicole with Brule (NAMMA), 2006 Group of the Year for Tatanka (NAMMA), 2007 Group of the Year for Silent Star Night and Best New Age Recording for Kinship (NAMMA), and 2008 Group of the Year for Lakota Piano II (NAMMA).

Our Partners:

Thank You to Our 2013 Flame of Hope Gala Silent Auction Contributors:

  • Timothy H. Terry (Akimel O’Odham)
  • Cara Romero (Chemehuevi Indian Tribe)
  • Judy Gould
  • Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
  • Bobby Bales (Taos Pueblo)
  • Andrew and Gladys Pacheco (Santo Domingo Pueblo)
  • Daniel B. Ramirez (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe)
  • Waya’ aisiwa Gary Keene (Acoma Pueblo)
  • David Gary Suazo (Taos Pueblo)
  • Than Povi Fine Art Gallery
  • Geraldine Tso (Navajo)
  • Todd Lone Dog Bordeaux (Sicangu Lakota Tribe)
  • C.J. Shije (Zia/Acoma Pueblo)
  • Lou Thoumann


Recent Posts