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Dina Horwedel, Director of Public Education, American Indian College Fund

Colleen R. Billiot, Public Education Coordinator, American Indian College Fund

Mar 31, 2021 | Featured Post, Press Releases

ECMC Foundation Grants $1.125 Million to American Indian College Fund to Boost Workforce in North Dakota and Montana

Denver, Colo., March 31, 2021 — The American Indian College Fund is announcing ECMC Foundation’s grant of $1.125 million to fund two programs at tribal colleges and universities in North Dakota and Montana. This grant will help fuel Native American student success in careers in healthcare and education.

The North Dakota program “Strengthening Postsecondary Career Pathways Across North Dakota’s Tribal Colleges: Braiding Workforce Development and Native Student Success” provides $500,000 for a two-year program to develop a cohesive system to deliver health care education, stackable credentials, and coordinated career support. The program will align academic programming to support Native student credentialing and prepare students. Program graduates will help North Dakota meet its needs for state and tribal healthcare workers and improve healthcare career and citizen health outcomes. The program will also help increase the capacity of North Dakota TCUs.

All five North Dakota TCUs will participate in the program, which include Cankdeska Cikana Community College, Fort Totten; Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, New Town; Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates; Turtle Mountain Community College, Belcourt; and United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck.

The Montana TCU program “Building Montana Tribal College Transfer Pathways for Student Success” provides $625,000 to strengthen transfer pathways between participating Montana TCUs over two-and-a-half-years. The program will support Native student completion and employment in the healthcare and education fields. It will also increase student transfer rates between Montana TCUs by building progressive education pathways from certificate to associate to baccalaureate degrees using transfer policies, procedures, and student support programs. The goal is to increase the TCUs’ capacity to support Native student success, on-time student transfer, and degree completion.

Participating Montana TCUs include Aaniiih Nakoda College, Harlem; Blackfeet Community College, Browning; Chief Dull Knife College, Lame Deer; Fort Peck Community College, Poplar; Little Big Horn College, Crow Agency; Salish Kootenai College, Pablo; and Stone Child College, Box Elder.

“Since our founding, ECMC Foundation has focused on improving the educational and workforce outcomes for underserved students,” said ECMC Foundation President Peter J. Taylor. “We’re thrilled to support The College Fund’s critical work at the intersection of these issues, ensuring that more Native students are well-placed for the in-demand careers that will be central to our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “This is an exciting and challenging time as TCUs develop more employment opportunities for Native and rural students through innovative and collaborative approaches to high-demand careers. We are pleased that ECMC Foundation recognized that TCUs serve as solid, community-based assets, building tribal and regional economies through meaningful employment.”

About ECMC Foundation— Based in Los Angeles, ECMC Foundation is a national foundation working to facilitate improvements that affect post-secondary educational outcomes — especially among underserved populations — through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis, which together work to help students succeed. The Foundation invests in College Success and Career Readiness (CTE); and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to fund both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Visit to learn more.

About the American Indian College Fund— The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 31 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $9.25 million in scholarships to American Indian students in 2019-20, with scholarships, program, and community support totaling over $237 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit

Reporters: The American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. On second reference, please use The College Fund.

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