April 29, 2010
Denver, Colorado – The Dallas, Texas-based Embrey Family Foundation has awarded the American Indian College Fund a $1 million grant over a four-year period for a Native women’s leadership program.
The program will include funds to provide 20 scholarships and leadership training for American Indian women pursuing their bachelor’s degrees. As part of the leadership training, participants will attend annual leadership retreats to develop leadership skills and provide networking opportunities; and culturally relevant programs to allow participants to formulate their own leadership development plans to set and meet their personal goals which will take root in their Native communities, mainstream employment, or as they enroll in advanced degree programs.
The program participants will be chosen from six tribal colleges to participate in the program. Tribal colleges identified for participation include: Candeska Cikana Community College (North Dakota); College of Menominee Nation (Wisconsin); Fort Belknap College (Montana); Northwest Indian College (Washington); Sitting Bull College (North Dakota); and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (New Mexico). These colleges were identified because of the strength of their women leaders and for the diversity of the academic programs they offer and the regions they represent.
In addition to the role modeling done by these outstanding women leaders at the colleges, a project manager at the American Indian College Fund will serve as a mentor for the 20 participants, and several prominent women leaders in Native and non-Native communities will be invited to serve as volunteer mentors.
The Embrey Family Foundation was established by J. Lindsay Embrey, who focused strongly on the importance of education. Embrey’s belief was that education helps people increase their ability to be economically self-sufficient and prosperous, said Gayle Embrey, the Vice President of the Embrey Family Foundation. “My father instilled the importance of education into both myself and my sister, Lauren Embrey, and we continue to make this a major funding area of the Embrey Family Foundation. Education was obviously important in our professional and personal lives, as it is to all women. Our board chose unanimously to support the American Indian College Fund because the average tribal college student is a woman with two dependent family members who is often a first-generation student. We believe that educated women in positions of leadership are more likely to emphasize education for their children, and serve as role models to other young women in their communities. This grant will help create a new generation of Native women who will strengthen their communities and enhance the opportunities for all of their people for a more prosperous future,” she said.
“Studies show that mothers who have some education are twice as likely to send their children to school as mothers with no education,” said Lauren Embrey, President of the Embrey Family Foundation. “As a result of this grant, The Embrey Family Foundation is not only helping to educate the next generation of Native women leaders, but is also ensuring subsequent generations of educated Native leaders by instilling the value of education and leadership while helping to end the cycle of poverty.”
Richard B. Williams, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “This investment on the part of the Embrey Family Foundation will make an enormous impact in these 20 women’s lives as well as in Indian Country. Natives have been blessed throughout history with strong leaders. Through this gift, the Embrey Family Foundation is growing the next generation of leaders who will walk in the footsteps of those who came before them, while leading their people and their descendants to a more hopeful and exciting future.”