Denver, Colo.— December 18, 2020— Native American communities suffer from coronavirus infection rates greater than 3.5 times that of white people, according to the Centers for Disease Control. So, when the Ford Motor Company Fund (the Ford Fund), a longtime supporter of the American Indian College Fund, proposed partnering with College Fund to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to non-profit organizations serving Native communities and Colorado communities in need, the College Fund jumped at the chance. The timing could not have been better with soaring coronavirus infection rates.

The American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) identified Colorado organizations serving communities in need to distribute 328,320 pieces of the donated PPE totaling $134,611. College Fund partner FedEx pitched donated shipping.

The following Colorado organizations and tribal nations will receive PPE shipments:

    • 2040 Partners for Health
    • American Indian Academy of Denver
    • Colorado Circles of Change
    • Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
    • Colorado Community Liaisons
    • Compassionate Colorado
    • Denver Indian Center, Inc.
    • Denver Indian Family Resource Center
    • Denver Indian Health and Family Services
    • Denver Public Library and Native Housing Circle
    • Denver Public Schools, Native American Culture and Education
    • Four Winds American Indian Council
    • GRASP
    • High Valley Community Center
    • Los Promatores del Valle de San Luis
    • Monte Vista Kids Connection
    • Servicios de la Raza
    • SLV Area Health Education Center
    • Southern Ute Tribe
    • Ute Mountain Ute

The College Fund also shipped PPEs to the following tribal colleges and universities serving Native American college students on Indian reservations:

    • Diné College (Tsaile, Ariz.)
    • Red Lake Nation College (Red Lake, Minn.)
    • Stone Child College (Box Elder, Mont.)

Adrianne Maddux, Executive Director of Denver Indian Health and Family Services (DIHFS), which provides healthcare services to about 8,000 American Indian and Alaskan Natives living in the Denver Metro area and surrounding communities, said, “Our providers are vigilant about the PPE they use, and our patients’ and providers’ safety is our number one priority as we deal with COVID during these uncertain times. As an added effort, we provide our patients with essential PPE such as hand sanitizer and face masks. The masks will allow us to continue keeping our families, healthcare providers, and others safe as we get through this pandemic. Our team and governing board at DIHFS would like to thank the American Indian College Fund and its partnership with the Ford Motor Company Fund for supporting us through this pandemic to continue to help keep our community safe.”

Lucas Garcia, co-founder and Executive Director of Compassionate Colorado said, “The beautiful Ford masks donated to Compassionate Colorado will be taken to the Eastern agency to help the Navajo community; Shiprock, New Mexico; and to help in Arizona. Our organization was started because we saw the need on the reservations and saw as a community we can pull together and make a difference…The virus is spreading so fast and there is a lack of PPE in some communities and this shipment will help combat the spread of the virus in an area that has been hit hard. We appreciate the Ford Motor Company Fund and the American Indian College Fund for helping us get masks to our Native American community. It has been a tough year for a lot of us, but one thing we can take away from this year is that there are so many compassionate people that have stepped up. Thank you for caring!”

Bruce Valdez, Acting Chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe said, “The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is thankful for the generous donation of much-needed PPE. The current pandemic has changed our lives as we know it, and it has also highlighted areas where Indian Country is often overlooked. We would like to acknowledge and send appreciation to both the Ford Fund and the American Indian College Fund for their philanthropic efforts to help protect our tribal community.”

John Trocheck, Executive Director of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in Southwestern Colorado said, “The donation of about 52,000 masks greatly improved our ability to ensure that we can give masks to all of our Tribal members, as they are required to wear them. With the wear-a-mask mandatory rule on our reservation at this time, this gives us the inventory to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all of our Tribal members and employees. COVID-19 has no barriers, and it has been affecting anyone and everyone in the world. This donation could not have come at a better time because of this. We thank you the American Indian College Fund and the Ford Motor Company Fund from the bottom of our hearts for this generous donation to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. May all of you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. Also please keep your family safe during our COVID pandemic.”

Thanks to the American Indian College Fund’s partners Ford Motor Company and FedEx, the communities we serve will have a safer and healthier holiday.

About Ford Motor Company FundAs the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund’s mission is to strengthen communities and help make people’s lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in more than 60 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential. Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering. For more information, visit www.fordfund.org or join us at @FordFund on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

About the American Indian College FundThe 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 www.collegefund.org.

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

A shipment of personal protective equipment arrives at the American Indian College Fund’s headquarters in Denver from Ford. The College Fund distributed the masks to Colorado non-profits serving Native Americans, Native America tribes, and tribal colleges and universities to protect communities which are at greater risk of infection and more serious outcomes from the coronavirus.

A shipment of personal protective equipment arrives at the American Indian College Fund’s headquarters in Denver from Ford. The College Fund distributed the masks to Colorado non-profits serving Native Americans, Native America tribes, and tribal colleges and universities to protect communities which are at greater risk of infection and more serious outcomes from the coronavirus.

Denver Indian Center Co-Executive Director Rick Waters (Kiowa and Cherokee of Oklahoma) unloads a delivery of personal protective equipment from the Ford Motor Company Fund and the American Indian College Fund.

Denver Indian Center Co-Executive Director Rick Waters (Kiowa and Cherokee of Oklahoma) unloads a delivery of personal protective equipment from the Ford Motor Company Fund and the American Indian College Fund.

Adrianne Maddux, Denver Indian Health and Family Services (DIHFS) Executive Director (right) is assisted by Crystal Hedgepeth (left), an American Indian College Fund staff member and DIHFS board member, with a delivery of personal protective equipment.

Adrianne Maddux, Denver Indian Health and Family Services (DIHFS) Executive Director (right) is assisted by Crystal Hedgepeth (left), an American Indian College Fund staff member and DIHFS board member, with a delivery of personal protective equipment.

Justine Lenninger of the American Indian College Fund (right), helps load PPEs into a truck for Lucas Garcia, co-founder and Executive Director of Compassionate Colorado (left).

Justine Lenninger of the American Indian College Fund (right), helps load PPEs into a truck for Lucas Garcia, co-founder and Executive Director of Compassionate Colorado (left).

CONTACT:
Dina Horwedel
dhorwedel@collegefund.org, 303-430-5350