In March 2010 the American Indian College Fund (the Fund) received a grant from the Embrey Family Foundation to initiate a women’s leadership program. The Embrey American Indian Women’s Leadership Project was a four-year leadership program for 20 American Indian women attending tribal colleges who have a high potential for future leadership and the desire to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Through individual and group training sessions and projects, this program is designed to develop participant’s leadership skills to create the next generation of Native female leaders. To provide the resources and foundation needed to help ensure success, participants receive annual scholarships to obtain a bachelor’s degree and annual funds to initiate leadership projects.
Six tribal colleges were identified to participate in the program. The program is limited to select group of tribal colleges in order to support the development of student cohorts at each school. The colleges were selected based on their legacy of strong female leadership, and diversity of geographic regions and degree offerings. Colleges selected include: Cankdeska Cikana Community College (N.D.);College of Menominee Nation (WI); Aaniiih Nakoda College (MT);Northwest Indian College (WA); Sitting Bull College (N.D.); and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (NM).
In 2014, The College Fund developed a more “place-based” model to the Native Women’s leadership program by designing the “Place-Based Leadership and Community Organizing” program. The vision remains the same, to “train and develop the next generation of Native women leaders, with more of a localized approach and mentoring philosophy.” Five of the six original cohorts are continuing their participation and the new TCU to the cohort led by strong female leadership is Diné College (AZ).