Minneapolis, MN | TheFalls.org/
The Friends of the Fall has the opportunity to transform the heart of Minneapolis’ Central
Riverfront from a deactivated, concrete lock and largely inaccessible green space into an
iconic destination honoring both Indigenous history and the beauty of Owámniyomni
(meaning “turbulent waters” in the Dakota language), or St. Anthony Falls, itself.
This space, and the entire City of Minneapolis, are located on Dakota homeland. The
Dakota people came to Owámniyomni for ceremony and to Wíta Wanáǧi (Spirit Island) to
give birth. This place of power had spiritual significance long before it was forcefully
claimed by settlers. For more than 60 years, the site has been fenced off with limited
public access. This Falls Initiative is a chance to create a place of healing at Owámniyomni
that acknowledges the past and advances a more equitable and inclusive future.
This ambitious project currently has an estimated cost of $41 million. InnoNative was
retained to help raise the necessary funding and identify a pathway towards financial
sustainability. A fundraising milestone of $5 million was established for fiscal year 2024,
of which $2.5 million has already been secured.
This collaborative, community-building work is transformative. The state of Mni Sota and
the waterways of Wakpá Tháŋka have held and continue to hold cultural significance to
the Dakota people. Returning this land to the original inhabitants and centering the future
of the site through the ownership and cultural lens of the Dakota community exemplifies
InnoNative’s cultural value of authenticity. This continues the circle of healing and growth
that centers on resilience of our Indigenous communities.
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Case Study: American Indigenous Business Leaders
American Indigenous Business Leaders (AIBL) | Missoula, MT | AIBL.org/
Only 11% of Native Americans obtain Bachelor’s degrees, and 6% obtain Graduate level
degrees. AIBL aims to provide Indigenous youth with the resources, support, and work
experience necessary to improve these statistics. As the only American Indigenous
non-profit organization solely dedicated to empowering business students in the United
States, AIBL’s programs are designed to engage students in activities that stimulate,
enhance, and expand educational experiences beyond traditional academic methods.
Much of AIBL’s already limited funding is restricted to programs. Not only does this inhibit
AIBL’s ability to achieve its long-term objectives but it also limits AIBL’s ability to remain
agile in the ever-changing landscape they operate in. Sufficient capital is necessary to
support ongoing operational excellence.
AIBL retained InnoNative to design a robust and diversified resource development
strategy that can not only raise funds but also increase AIBL’s public profile through
hosting a series of conversations and events throughout Indian Country to provide AIBL
with much-needed flexibility and capacity. Through this engagement, InnoNative
developed an inaugural national golf tournament in Las Vegas as a kickoff event to a
national native economic development conference. This repeatable event introduced
AIBL to over two dozen stakeholders in support of the AIBL mission and programming,
and raised over $100,000 in funds.
AIBL used the funds from this event to support their leadership team with a more
intentional engagement strategy with tribes, tribal membership, tribal staff, and tribal
enterprises, which subsequently allowed for a more meaningful partnership for the
betterment of the next generation of Indigenous business leaders.
Chad Potria at AIBL Golf Tournament.
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We respectfully acknowledge that the land on which we live, work, and gather is the traditional territory of the Dakota people. We honor their enduring connection to this land and express our gratitude for their stewardship over generations.