OUR FIRST CHARITABLE PARTNERSHIP
American Indian College Fund (AICF)
Hi, I am Gail Bruce, Founder and CEO of HipSilver and co-founding board member of the American Indian College Fund (AICF). I was truly blessed in the mid 80’s when my dear friend, Anne Sward Hansen, opened a world to me that changed my life forever. The American Indian education movement was just beginning. The newly formed American Indian College Fund, with Anne as the first chairman of the board and myself, her first volunteer and soon to become co-founding board member, were dedicated to raising scholarship and endowment money for Native students to attend Tribal Colleges on their reservations.
What an exciting time it has been! From our first book drive and fund raiser in 1984, to the College Fund becoming one of the most successful Indian education fundraising organizations in the country. The College Fund has grown from 6 Tribal colleges in the early 70’s to 37 today. AICF has helped raise funds for building development, doubling the dreamed of endowment and we are proud to say has educated over 100,000 students to date. But it couldn’t have happened without the help of our friends, allies, mentors, teachers, educators and especially our students.
With help from the College Fund, AICF’s students are bringing their education back to their communities by offering examples of their own personal, emotional and educational growth.
One example is the story of Tada, Cheyenne River Sioux, who says, “if you knew her just five years ago, you would never have guessed that she would be achieving the incredible success she’s experiencing today. In fact, if you knew me, you would probably bet money that it was only a matter of time before I was on another downward spiral,” she says. “Statistically, I should not be here right now.”
Tada has overcome many obstacles including addiction and homelessness, to become one of AICF’s most promising scholars. With the support of her college, Oglala Lakota and through scholarships from the American Indian College Fund, Tada has gained a lifetime of exceptional experiences in a few short years.
Tada was selected Tribal College Student Representative, and has been informing Capitol Hill of the importance of Higher Education in Tribal communities for three years. She completed a 2017 summer internship program at the National Institute of Health, in National Human Genome Research. This past October, Tada was selected by the British Council to participate in the Future Leaders Connect program to tackle global issues along with 49 other participants from across the world. By incorporating her research on the genetic health of bison on the Pine Ridge reservation, Tada is addressing her policy issues which are food sovereignty concerns in tribal communities.
When asked what inspires her, Tada says “Your history does not define your destiny.”
Join us in celebrating our students, donors and contributors on April 11, 2018. Please click here to purchase a ticket and celebrate with singer Rita Coolidge and all of us at Gotham Hall.