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We recently read a Nonprofit Quarterly article titled, Sumi’nangwa: Lessons on Philanthropy from Indian Country. In it, Monica Nuvamsa, Executive Director of the Hopi Foundation, talks about the Hopi value of Sumi’nangwa or “coming together for the benefit of all.” She explains that this is “a compound word that describes someone’s compelling desire from the heart to come together … [a value that has been] passed on from generations of older Hopis.” Nuvamsa continued, “They understood what that meant, to survive something. And those are values that create civilization and functional, healthy civilization. Those are things that we want to remember during a time of crisis like this.”

At Philanthropiece, this looks like attending to our value of collaboration. At the center of this value is our responsibility to convene, to listen and learn, and to center the positive social change that local leaders deem necessary. Indeed, focusing on our value of collaboration has been

Paint splashed banner with word "together" across the center.

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

our antidote during this time of living within intersecting crises and amidst a divisive political climate. While we continue to learn and reflect, we also know that our responsibility must involve taking action. One concrete step we have made recently is to seed a fund of the NAACP Boulder Chapter to catalyze a coordinator role; this has led to a collaboration related to our organizations’ work on economic justice. Another recent action includes serving as a strategic partner and sponsor of Boulder County’s Covid19 Task Force. The purpose of this initiative is to engage community members who are most impacted by the pandemic in order to understand how the crisis is affecting them and incorporate their input and advice to existing and future strategies and actions.

In this edition of PhilanthroStories, you’ll read about another collaborative effort that we are immersed in, the Cultural Brokers Resilience Program. One of the focal points of this program is a training course for Cultural Brokers in our community. A participant in our recent course, Nina Christensen, noted, “Even with it being really new, this is a training that seems so needed, especially where we are as a country and in the world, with everything that is going on. It is a good reminder for us in the community that we really need to take the time to help each other in a way that is meaningful.” In other words: coming together and benefiting all. Something to be learned, remembered, and acted upon from Hopi elders.

Katie Doyle Myers is Philanthropiece’s Executive Director. To recognize the message shared by Hopi elders via Monica Nuvamsa, Philanthropiece has made a contribution to the Hopi Foundation.