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

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


National Education Non-Profit Serving Native American Students Earns Award for Third Straight Year

Denver, Colo., May 6, 2021 — The American Indian College Fund was awarded a Top Workplaces 2021 honor for the third year in a row. The award is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 components of engaged workplace cultures that are critical to the success of an organization, including alignment, execution, and connection.

“During this very challenging time, Top Workplaces has proven to be a beacon of light for organizations, as well as a sign of resiliency and strong business performance,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward. Top Workplaces draw on real-time insights into what works best for their organization, so they can make informed decisions that have a positive impact on their people and their business.”

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “I am proud of the College Fund team. During a very trying time for the tribal college students and communities we serve, they pulled together to ensure that the people we work with felt supported. Our team collaboratively and virtually not only supported immediate students’ needs, but also helped them continue to look to their futures. Our workplace is valued because our team is engaged, and they make a difference.

Denver Post Top Work Places 2021 American Indian College FundThe honor is even more pertinent now as the College Fund works to continue its employee engagement and mission-specific priorities to meet Native students’ needs in areas of the nation that were hit hardest by the pandemic. Even as many workplaces around the nation reported employee burnout and other issues during the past year, the College Fund was attuned to its employees’ physical and mental needs.

In addition to providing $9.25 million in scholarships to American Indian students in 2019-20, the College Fund also raised $7.4 million in emergency aid since Spring 2020 to today. This aid was distributed for student and faculty emergency aid to pay for housing, medicines, transportation, and utilities; reliable online instruction; food emergency aid; student success grants; and TCU transformative aid grants.

Lisa Smith, Senior Director of Administrative Services, said the organization is a Top Workplace in the eyes of its employees because “we went above and beyond to stay connected with our staff during the pandemic. Well-being became a priority with increased communication, seminars hosted by the Native Wellness Institute, additional employee assistance program resources, and wellness challenges to keep us moving as we were more confined to both working and living from our homes. Receiving this award during a tough year physically and mentally is definitely an honor.”

About Energage—Energage is a purpose-driven company that helps organizations turn employee feedback into useful business intelligence and credible employer recognition through Top Workplaces. Built on 14 years of culture research and the results from 23 million employees surveyed across more than 70,000 organizations, Energage delivers the most accurate competitive benchmark available. With access to a unique combination of patented analytic tools and expert guidance, Energage customers lead the competition with an engaged workforce and an opportunity to gain recognition for their people-first approach to culture. For more information or to nominate your organization, visit or

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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