The American Indian College Fund (the Fund) raised more than $400,000 to support Native student scholarships at its 18th annual Flame of Hope Gala, held on October 10 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Native artist Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa/Choctaw) created a painting live at the event, which was awarded to the donor pledging the largest gift. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe took the painting for their donation of $50,000. A silent auction included works from some of the most acclaimed American Indian artists, while a cadre of Native musicians, including classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala and the dance and music group Brulé, provided entertainment. Haskell Indian Nations University (Lawrence, KS) alumnus Dominic Clichee spoke during the program.
The Fund honored the Northwest Area Foundation of Minneapolis for funding a $1 million, one-year Tribal College Leaders in Community Innovation Award, which offers financial assistance for tribal college programs impacting local communities at Leech Lake Tribal College (Cass Lake, MN), Sitting Bull College (Fort Yates, ND), Oglala Lakota College (Kyle, SD), Stone Child College (Box Elder, MT), and Northwest Indian College (Bellingham, WA).
USA Funds was the main sponsor of the Flame of Hope Gala at $100,000. Additional sponsors included Aramark, AT&T; the Richard Black Family, Kimberly S. Blanchard, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Coca-Cola Corporation, College of Muscogee Nation, CBS Corporation, Comcast NBC Universal, Ford Motor Company Fund & Community Services, Grotto Foundation, Jenzabar Inc., Lannan Foundation, Leech Lake Tribal College, Mattel, McDonald’s Corporation, Nissan North America, Inc., Peskoff Foundation, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota, Target Corporation, the Tierney Family Foundation, United Health Foundation, UPS Foundation, US Bank, Walmart Foundation, and the Sheryl & Harvey White Foundation.