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Only 14% of American Indian and Alaska Native students have a college degree, less than half the rate of other groups—and one barrier to getting a higher education is often cost. Lannan Foundation of Santa Fe, New Mexico is helping to make it easier for Native students to get a college degree, thanks to a $3 million endowment it created with the American Indian College Fund. The endowment will provide Native American students with scholarships to attend tribal colleges and universities.

The College Fund supports 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) through capital and programmatic support and scholarships. These remarkable institutions are located on or near Indian reservations, serving people who live in remote, rural communities. TCUs are affordable, accredited higher education institutions and offer culturally based curriculum in a supportive environment, with 74% of TCU graduates going on to work in careers that serve their communities, according to the results of the Alumni of Tribal Colleges and Universities Better Their Communities survey by the College Fund and Gallup.

Patrick Lannan, President, said, “Tribal colleges and universities, in many respects, are the center of hope for Indian country and Indian people in the United States. The American Indian College Fund makes a good future for tribal college students much more viable.”

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “It has been my personal pleasure to know Patrick Lannan and Lannan Foundation for many years, witnessing their path as an organization committed to social justice and the voices of disenfranchised people. This gift to our students’ successful college experiences through a scholarship endowment is but another example of that commitment. We thank them for their vision and their generosity.”

About Lannan Foundation—Lannan Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity through projects that support exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired Native activists in rural indigenous communities. The foundation recognizes the profound and often unquantifiable value of the creative process and is willing to take risks and make substantial investments in ambitious and experimental thinking. Understanding that globalization threatens all cultures and ecosystems, the foundation is particularly interested in projects that encourage freedom of inquiry, imagination, and expression. The foundation supports this mission by making grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of contemporary visual artliteratureindigenous communities, and cultural freedom. For more information visit www.lannan.org.