The National Congress of American Indians Foundation (NCAIF) emerges as a historic undertaking, uniquely situated at the nexus of both time-honored and contemporary cultural legacies of Native Peoples, the power of tribal governments, and authentic partnerships with the philanthropy sector. As the philanthropic arm of NCAI, our mission is profound and unprecedented: to support Tribal Nations in a transformative journey toward shared prosperity and resilience.
Our approach is multi-faceted, firmly rooted in four core pillars—Upholding Tribal Sovereignty, Empowering Tribal Leadership, Cultivating Youth Leadership, and Fortifying Tribal Nations. However, we're more than just a source of financial support; we're a bridge, a connection point that opens doors for Tribal Nations to engage with the philanthropic sector, fostering collaboration, strategy development, partnerships, and the directed flow of resources to uplift Tribal Nations across a multitude of endeavors.
NCAI Foundation envisions a future where Tribal Nations are centered as beacons of collaboration and global leadership. Guided by ancestral wisdom and contemporary innovation, we strive for well-resourced Tribal Nations, empowered voices, and united efforts that support healthy, sustainable communities.
The NCAI Foundation's mission is to rally Tribal Nations toward shared prosperity and resilience through an equity and sovereignty framework. Serving as a nexus for tribal and philanthropic collaborations, we channel expertise and assets to confront challenges and ensure a seamless distribution of funds to Tribal communities. With unwavering dedication, NCAIF empowers Tribal Nations to develop solutions with global significance.
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities. For the past 80 years, NCAI has stood on the front lines protecting, convening, and advocating on many issues and policies impacting tribal sovereignty and Native peoples. The National Congress of American Indians Foundation (NCAIF) emerges as a historic undertaking, uniquely situated at the nexus of both time-honored and contemporary cultural legacies of Native peoples, the power of tribal governments, and authentic partnerships with the philanthropy sector.
As the philanthropic arm of NCAI, our mission is profound and unprecedented: to support Tribal Nations in a transformative journey toward shared prosperity and resilience. Through a multi-faceted approach, grounded in four core areas—Upholding Tribal Sovereignty, Empowering Tribal Leadership, Cultivating Youth Leadership, and Fortifying Tribal Nations—we aim to be far more than a financial resource. NCAIF provides a connecting point for greater access between Tribal Nations and the philanthropic sector to convene, develop strategies, partner, and direct more resources to support tribal communities in multiple bodies of work.
Greg Masten, M.Ed.
President of the NCAI Foundation
Greg Masten, is from the Yurok Tribe and a descendant of the Hupa and Karuk Tribes, who brings a wealth of experience and a dedicated vision to his role as President of the National Congress of American Indians Foundation.
With a career spanning over two and a half decades, Greg has emerged as a pivotal leader in addressing critical issues facing tribes and Native American communities across the nation. His commitment to creating a future where tribal nations are not only sustainable but thriving, has been a guiding force throughout his professional journey.
Greg's expertise lies in the realm of philanthropy, where he has been instrumental in forging new pathways and partnerships. These endeavors have led to groundbreaking investments in tribal nations, focusing on areas such as Tribally-led climate change, environmental initiatives, education, and racial equity. His efforts have played a crucial role in meeting the diverse needs of these communities.
Renowned for his strategic thinking and leadership, Greg has spearheaded numerous regional, state, and national initiatives. Greg's leadership is not only recognized at the national level but also garners respect on the international stage, making him a trusted partner in global philanthropic circles.
Under Greg Masten's guidance, the National Congress of American Indians Foundation is poised to continue its significant contributions towards the empowerment and advancement of tribal nations and Native American communities.
Vice President of Philanthropic Strategies
Dawn Knickerbocker, belongs to the Anishinaabe people, a citizen of the White Earth Nation, enrolled in the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe from the Ottertail Pillager Band of Indians. She is the Vice President of Philanthropic Strategies at the National Congress of American Indians Foundation. With a commendable background as a leader in the philanthropic sector, Dawn brings over 20 years of rich experience in nonprofit leadership and a deep commitment to human rights and environmental stewardship.
Dawn's journey has been marked by her belief in the power of peace achieved through nurturing relationships with both the land and its people. Her experience as a grassroots organizer on earth-related issues has been instrumental in shaping her approach to leadership and community engagement.
Dawn's career in the nonprofit sector is distinguished by her innovative work in Washington State as a grant-maker, where she developed a fund for arts, culture, and heritage impacting over a million people. She has also held the esteemed position of Chair of the Advisory Commission on Diversity in Renton, Washington, the state's most diverse city. She currently serves as the president of the board of directors for the Urban Native Collective in Ohio where she resides. Dawn's voice resonates beyond her professional work through her contributions as a published nonfiction writer, poet, public speaker, columnist, and the recipient of the 2020 Martin Luther King Drum Major for Justice Award.
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Mr. Williams has spent 20 years in the golf, technology , hospitality and corporate industries . After graduating college with a degree in Business management Joshua work as an assistant golf professional training with his cousin who was also a golf professional. Joshua has served as a golf professional, Director of golf, General Manager and has worked in corporate development and branding for the Swinomish Tribe , The Lummi Nation and numerous fortune top companies.
Joshua is on the Nike Swoosh advisory team and is a Srixon Staff Member. Joshua has served as an advisor to the NFL alumni association and consulted with Microsoft, Top Golf, PGA, LPGA , Champions tour and WEB.com players, tournaments and activation teams. Joshua has served as an advisor to MLB and NBA teams and owners in developing corporate activations and strategies . Joshua has managed and developed sales and partnership programs for retail, marketing and corporate strategies . Joshua has been a consultant for MGM resorts and numerous gaming and hospitality facilities.
Michelle Hirst, who recently joined the National Congress of American Indians Foundation team as the Executive Administrator, is a member of the Stockbridge Munsee Mohican Tribe of Wisconsin. She started her life long career off working within tribal communities as a career in dental hygiene, Michelle knew it was not going to a traditional role of a dental hygienist. Inspired by her aunt’s ability to advocate for patients with limited access and education to dental care in her community, Michelle set out to broaden the advocacy scope to all native communities, specifically those most vulnerable, children. Michelle’s first job was with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council as the Dental Sealant Project Coordinator for the tribes of Wisconsin. After 15 years with GLITC, Michelle moved on to Women’s Wellness and eventually children’s health advocacy in the form of school based health initiatives and clinics in rural Native American Communities in Montana. During this time she became increasingly interested in access to medical care for all populations. Michelle brings with her a rich background on topics of grant management, strategic planning, self-advocacy, public health, medical reimbursement, health care administration , non-profit organizations, health education, health promotion, health care policy and talent acquisition as well as health care feasibility and capacity building.
Michelle is a licensed dental hygienist, a United States Department of State , Bureau of Education & Cultural Affairs Global Health Fellow - Peace Through Health Professional Fellows, past board member of the child protection board at Stockbridge Munsee, community volunteer for her current communities of Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation, LSS Homme Home for Boys and Girls, and Fort Peck Tribes and Brockton Montana.