Northwest Area Foundation: Comprehensive Planning with the Indian Land Tenure Community

Loyola University Chicago



Case Study Sector

Community Building

The Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF) facilitated a three-year strategic planning process, focusing on Indian Land Tenure with Native Americans from across the eight-state region served by the Foundation. The goal was to develop a long-term comprehensive plan that would seek to alleviate poverty and build sustainable communities by strengthening the capacity of Native communities to manage and control their land. The plan was completed, and the Indian Land Tenure Community (ILTC) is now requesting $20 million to support the development and implementation of their plan. Although the size of the grant request is higher than anticipated, and would likely mean that less money would be available for other communities targeted by the Foundation, the Indian advisors feel the request is warranted. The president of the Foundation must now make a decision regarding the grant request.

This case study appears in the collection Lessons from Philanthropy: A Case Studies Approach: A Report to the Ford Foundation. The case studies are designed to increase the relevance of philanthropy teaching curriculums and better prepare future leaders that are engaged in philanthropy and nonprofit sector work. The overall goal of the present project was to develop case studies that would serve as teaching/learning tools about philanthropy by providing in-depth examination of critical issues and experiences related to foundation decision-making, governance and fund- distribution. Throughout the development of these cases, a special emphasis on philanthropic involvement in communities of color and other underserved communities was maintained in order to improve philanthropy’s work in relation to these populations.



  • Partnership
  • Strategy


  • Northern America

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