• News & Press

  • March 29, 2021


    Development Director Job Posting


    We are looking to hire an enthusiastic Director of Development to secure financial support for our organization. The Director of Development will set and achieve fundraising goals, maintain knowledge of fundraisers' interests, and cultivate relationships with fellow employees and volunteers. You will be an active participant in fundraising events, undertake vision trips, and maintain a social media presence.


    Organization Overview: The Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) is a non-profit community development intermediary organization working within the urban American Indian community focused on community development, community organizing, community engagement, and Indigenous arts. With an annual operating budget of $1 million dollars, NACDI works in an asset-based way to support Native people in creating the future we envision for ourselves. Through projects like All My Relations Arts, Four Sisters Farmers Market and Urban Farm, and Make Voting a Tradition, NACDI innovates while honoring and strengthening relationships between contemporary American Indians and the living influence of preceding generations and promotes the community vision of the American Indian Cultural Corridor in South Minneapolis.


    NACDI/AMRA work takes place in a dynamic, community-focused environment where teamwork and flexibility is highly valued and supported. Support for the Director includes Gallery staff and volunteers.


    REPORTING PROTOCOL: Chief Operating Officer

    CLASSIFICATION: Exempt/ Full Time


    The Development Director will be responsible, but not limited to the following:


    Works closely with the Chief Operating Officer to develop a comprehensive fundraising strategy to expand philanthropic support for the organization. Directs and manages all aspects of the fundraising plans including but not limited to: annual giving planned giving, corporate and foundation grants, major individual and corporate gifts, and special fundraising events. Manages all aspects of data collection and reporting requirements.


    The successful applicant will build lasting relationships with donors, and keep them informed on how their financial input is making the world a better place. Preferred candidates will be self-motivated, deadline-driven multitaskers.


    Director of Development Responsibilities:

    • Collaborating with NACDI leadership and staff to create and implement a fundraising plan.
    • Collaborating with the communications team to develop a digital fundraising strategy.
    • Furnishing NACDI Board with regular progress reports.
    • Collaborating with a network to identify and build relationships with new donors.
    • Maintaining relationships with existing sponsors.
    • Obtaining financial support from individuals and organizations.
    • Managing fundraising and special events.
    • Generating development materials such as grants and case statements, interim and final reports.
    • Managing the implementation of development software.
    • Managing staff responsible for data entry and gift processing.

    Director of Development Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in business, non-profit management, or related field.
    • 4+ years of sales or business development experience.
    • Proficient with sponsorship solicitation.
    • Proficient knowledge of the American Indian Urban and Tribal communities, in Minnesota, the region, and nationally.
    • Excellent understanding of fundraising best practices.
    • Outstanding communication skills, both verbal and written.
    • Ability to work independently.
    • Proven ability to work well as a team member and to coordinate/assist diverse groups of people.
    • Experience writing, including grants, proposals, descriptions, narratives, and reports.
    • Computer literacy with strong proficiency in database management, CRMS, MS Word, Excel,  PowerPoint, and the Google Suite.
    • Detail-oriented, highly organized, self-motivated, ability to multi-task and respond quickly to requests and communications and meet deadlines.
    • Strong verbal skills.
    • Creative and critical thinking skills.


    Salary range $80,000 plus benefits package.


    Send cover letter, resume, and contact information for two references from successful fundraising efforts to Ed Minnema, NACDI Chief Operating Officer at eminnema@nacdi.org.


    For further information contact Ed Minnema, Chief Operations Officer, at eminnema@nacdi.org.


    First review of submissions on April 9, 2021.






    Alexandra Buffalohead


    Arts & Cultural Engagement Manager

    (612) 455-9537 (612) 235-4976



    Dale B. Stark

    Hennepin Theatre Trust

    Public Relations Manager

    (612) 455-9537



    “The Return,” a digital illustration/animation by Jonathan Thunder,
    represents sovereignty, strength and hope.


    NACDI and Hennepin Theatre Trust collaborate to launch We Are Still Here, an initiative to uplift Native voices in the Hennepin Theatre District With support from the McKnight Foundation, organizers will create an ongoing framework for ongoing public art and placemaking projects


    MINNEAPOLIS (Dec. 8, 2020) — Hennepin Theatre Trust today announced a collaboration with the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) to launch We Are Still Here, a multi-year initiative to uplift Native voices and stories in Minneapolis. With grant funding through the McKnight Foundation, We Are Still Here will bring large-scale, high profile public art by emerging Native artists to both downtown Minneapolis and the American Indian Corridor. The art highlights contemporary Native culture while dispelling stereotypes. The initiative will also establish a sustainable framework for ongoing engagement among Minnesota’s First People, the Trust and other downtown Minneapolis stakeholders.


    The 18 to 24 month initiative will be a learning cohort featuring three Indigenous artists. They will work with project mentor Jonathan Thunder to create digital designs, full motion animation, projections and a possible large-scale mural. We Are Still Here will promote Dakota storytelling for the built environment along Hennepin Avenue through pilots and prototypes. The initiative will culminate with a final project as a central feature for the reopening of Hennepin Avenue following a four-year reconstruction project and the Hennepin Theatre District centennial celebration in 2022. Organizers with NACDI and the Trust are looking to build social capital among participating artists and stakeholders to ensure that future collaborations continue to unfold and generate a deeper presence for Native culture in downtown beyond the life of the project.


    Engaging with Native artists and community has been the mission of NACDI since its founding in 2007 and the early creation of the “American Indian Community Blueprint” in 2010. Angela Two Stars, NACDI’s All My Relations Arts director shares, “By interweaving contemporary and traditional storytelling, and the allyship of Indigenous communities here in the Twin Cities, we are able to connect the Dakota history of the land and continued connections to our past using the powerful visuals of our contemporary artists.” NACDI’s long-standing commitment to public engagement has enabled them to be a source of leadership and guidance among its network of Native artists and community. “We at NACDI are excited to uplift the creative voices of the selected cohort members alongside their esteemed mentor to continue to highlight the visibility of Indigenous presence through art,” said Two Stars.


    NACDI promotes economic improvement by emphasizing capacity building at the community, organizational and individual levels to support Native people to build a future they envision for themselves. As a community leader, NACDI guides the community's vision of establishing a Native-led economic engine called the American Indian Cultural Corridor on East Franklin Avenue in South Minneapolis with Native arts and culture being key strategies. They also own and operate All My Relations Arts Gallery, one of the region’s premiere contemporary galleries that has launched careers for many Native artists and arts professionals. NACDI is Native-run and led with over 80% of its staff and board of directors having Tribal affiliations.


    In the Hennepin Theatre District, the Trust transforms the spaces along Hennepin Avenue to a more vibrant and inclusive environment through its public art projects and programming. “We are looking forward to collaborating with NACDI to broaden the awareness of Native truth-telling and working together to create a system enabling continued public art and placemaking efforts,” said Mark Nerenhausen, president and CEO for the Trust. Nerenhausen said that We Are Still Here will be a catalyst to weave Native culture back into Hennepin Avenue, connecting the District’s community to arts and cultural experiences in unexpected places.


    As the Trust prepares to celebrate the District’s centennial in 2022, Joan Vorderbruggen, director of Hennepin Theatre District engagement, envisions a future that recognizes the significance of Hennepin Avenue as a Dakota foot trail that predates the city from the river to the chain of lakes. She said, “Ushering in the next 100 years provides a meaningful opportunity to celebrate the history of Hennepin Avenue, not just as a theatre district, but also its origins on Dakota land so that a more inclusive history can be shared.” We Are Still Here enables a collaborative energy to spark creativity and reflection among local artists to share their voices, cultures and life experiences.


    NACDI and Hennepin Theatre Trust selected local Native artist Jonathan Thunder as the cohort mentor for We Are Still Here through an open call for artists. “As a culture-bearer, working in contemporary media, Jonathan is the ideal mentor for this group as he brings a wide range of skills from large-scale painting to digital animation and installations,” said Angela Two Stars, All My relations Art Director. Thunder (Red Lake Ojibwe) is a multi-disciplinary artist known for the surreal imagery he uses to address the subjects of loss and recovery of Indigenous sovereignty, environmental welfare and humorous social commentary through his paintings, animated and experimental films, installations and illustration work. He has attended the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and studied visual effects and motion graphics in the Art Institute International in Minneapolis.


    His work has been featured in state, regional and national exhibitions, as well as in local and international publications since 2003. He is also a 2020 Pollock-Krasner Foundation grantee. "Working with NACDI and Hennepin Theatre Trust is an exciting opportunity in itself, given their roles in the Twin Cities,” said Thunder. “And what is even more exciting to me is the chance to work with like-minded artists with the goal of discussing and developing themes, imagery and intent, implemented through digital processes of design and animation.”


    All My Relations staff, along with Thunder, reviewed artist submissions and selected three Native artists to complete the cohort. The artists are Ray Janis, Sheldon Starr and Missy Whiteman.


    Raymond Janis (Oglala Lakota Tribe) goes by the artist name of Ray Rock Boy. Rock Boy is an enrolled citizen of the Oglala Lakota Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He grew up in the Medicine Root District also known as Kyle, South Dakota. Rock Boy is influenced by his Lakota heritage and western society blending the two cultures and letting his art develop and move where it wants. Rock Boy is a student of the Graphic Design major program at Oglala Lakota College. He is studying from two masters in their respective fields Keith Brave Heart and Marty Two Bulls Jr.


    Sheldon Starr (Oglala Sioux Tribe) is a painter, graphic designer, comedian and guitarist. Graduating from Oglala Lakota College with a degree in Graphic Arts, Starr continues to utilize his graphic design experience in the freelance and commission-based fields, creating custom graphics, logos, and text for clients. Sheldon sows his creative freedom through abstract paintings based on geometric subjects and the female form, paying homage to the traditional Lakota geometric designs and the aesthetics of the 1980s. Sheldon's home center was the He Sapa Center in Rapid City, SD.


    Missy Whiteman (Northern Arapaho and Kickapoo), an Emmy-nominated writer, director, producer and multi-media artist. Whiteman understands her work to be a voice for her ancestors, their stories and ancestral wisdom. Her late father, Ernest Whiteman, influenced her work, with the gift of artistic vision and practice of art as ceremony.


    While based in part Indigenous traditional practices and perspectives, her work also addresses themes of historical genocide, loss of culture, and land in relation to colonization. Whiteman questions the connection of life, death spirit world and the rebirth process of revitalizing DNA memory, spirit healing and redefinition of cultural identity. Many of Missy’s films have screened on international national and local venues.


    For the launch, the cohort assists their mentor on several digital billboard designs and learns about the

    field of public art. Artists will learn skills to translate artwork from analog to digital media and the various

    platforms and venues that the Trust offers (outdoor events, mobile stage, digital billboards, storefront

    installations, murals, gallery exhibits and more). While the details of activities will evolve with the interests of the artists and in line with public health regulations, the timelines will include milestone touchpoints building to a final project that will be featured as part of the Hennepin Theatre District’s centennial celebration in the fall of 2022.


    Throughout this process, Thunder will provide the project artists continued mentorship on creating public art for digital media, determining joint projects for public spaces along Hennepin Avenue and providing feedback and evaluations. Ultimately, the cohort will design and implement solo art designs, a gallery installation and the creation of a crown jewel project built on their successes. That project will be unveiled in the District when Hennepin Avenue reopens in 2022 after four years of reconstruction. Aside from the technical aspects of developing public art, We Are Still Here is meant to equip the artists to create opportunities for community engagement beyond the artists themselves.


    This activity is made possible by the voters of

    Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board

    Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative

    Appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.



    Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) Our work is founded on the belief that all American Indian people have a place, purpose and a future strengthened by sustainable community development. NACDI initiates projects that benefit the Native community, often in partnership with other Indigenous-led organizations. Our future is bright due to the resilience and vision of our ancestors. Founded in 2007, NACDI is approaching its second decade with a renewed commitment to the Indigenous values that helped our people persevere despite centuries of hardship.


    Hennepin Theatre Trust drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — and event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.




    To access press materials and photos, please visit:


  • Read the MUID Statement Regarding the

    Police Killing of George Floyd

    May 27th, 2020

    To All Our Relations -


    This letter has been written on behalf of the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors Group (MUID) – a collaborative of some thirty American Indian organizations operating within the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minnesota (please see the attached organizational listing). The purpose of this communication is to state our collective response to the tragic death of George Floyd on Monday, May 25th, 2020.


    In no uncertain terms, the membership of this collaborative strongly condemns the murder of one of our fellow citizens, at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. Furthermore, MUID condemns the ongoing and systemic racist ideologies that continue to run strongly through the department like a virulent and lethal pathogen. This disease of spirit is actively polluting the minds of some of the rank and file to the point where they are no longer able to perform their taxpayer-funded jobs with any degree of professionalism, or with any legitimate capacity to restrain themselves from brutalizing and murdering fellow human beings. To this, we collectively and loudly proclaim NO MORE.


    The murder of George Floyd was an unmitigated and horrific tragedy that has brought shame to our community. Without question, it was a complete failure of any form of moral decency or the most basic expressions of humanity by officers who have taken an oath to “serve and protect”. The eyes of the world are now upon us. How we come together to permanently rectify this situation and prevent it from happening again is now paramount. However, we must first acknowledge that this unspeakable act of evil is not new, that in fact, it is a recurring problem suggestive of a deeper systemic sickness.


    The MPD has a long history of violence against indigenous people and people of color. The American Indian Movement was founded in Minneapolis in 1968 as a direct response to unchecked brutality being perpetrated by the Minneapolis Police Department upon our community members. In 1992, two members of our community were forcibly constrained into the trunk of a Minneapolis Police Cruiser. In 2008, the officer who killed George Floyd, Officer Chauvin shot and wounded an individual during a domestic violence call, and then again in 2011, Officer Chauvin shot and injured a man at Little Earth. In 2015 Jamar Clark was murdered at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. Sadly these are just some examples of many such incidents.


    Still, in 2020, the MPD are openly murdering black and brown people in broad daylight without hesitation, and without any concern from the open shouts of local bystanders who pleaded for the life of Mr. Floyd – who were in essence pleading for the lost humanity that had apparently vacated the four responding officers. And these are only the most high profile symptoms of the spirit of hate and racism in our police department. There have been so many more instances that while not making the papers, left undeniable scars on our people. No more. We demand action and improvement, nothing less.


    Read the rest of the letter on the MUID website.



  • A Message from NACDI & All My Relations Arts Regarding COVID-19

    We hope that you and your families are well during this time of the pandemic. It is time for our community to support each other, even when that means being apart. For us, that means putting the health of our relatives first.


    Since March 12th, NACDI/AMRA staff has been working remotely. We have canceled all in-person events and gatherings. We are working to support essential responders, and to shift as much programming as possible to online platforms. We are prioritizing redirecting funds to support Native artists and entrepreneurs while planning for our collective brighter future post-pandemic.


    Please follow us on social media and visit our websites to stay up to date on our activities. Please feel free to reach out.


    Pidamaya and Miigwech,

    The NACDI and AMRA Staff


    If you would like to reach us, please contact:


    Robert Lilligren, rlilligren@nacdi.org

    Ed Minnema, eminnema@nacdi.org

    Angela Two Stars, atwostars@nacdi.org

    Alex Buffalohead, abuffalohead@nacdi.org

    Elizabeth Day, eday@nacdi.org

  • For Immediate Release

    March 7, 2019

    Alex Buffalohead




    Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) CEO

    Joins Metropolitan Policymaking Body



    Minneapolis, Minnesota — On Wednesday, March 6, NACDI President & CEO Robert Lilligren (White Earth Ojibwe) took the oath of office along with 15 others from around the region as a member of the Metropolitan Council. Lilligren will represent Met Council District 7 which comprised of North and South-Central Minneapolis and the City of Robbinsdale.


    The Metropolitan Council is the regional policy-making body, planning agency, and provider of essential services for the Twin Cities metropolitan region.

    The Council's mission is to foster efficient and economic growth for a prosperous region. The appointments were made by Governor Walz with the support of Lt. Governor Flanagan, from of over 200 applicants. Lilligren is the first enrolled Tribal citizen to serve on Met Council in its 50-year history.


    After being sworn into office, Lilligren was affirmed by a unanimous vote of his colleagues to the position of Chair of the Met Council’s Community Development Committee. The Council's Community Development Committee addresses issues involving development and implementation of the regional comprehensive plan (Thrive MSP 2040), Metro HRA operations, Livable Communities Act grants, and regional park plans and grants.


    “I am honored to be appointed by Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan to this position, where I will be able to serve the region, my district, and my community,” says Lilligren, who continues as NACDI’s CEO while assuming the part-time Met Council role. “I am committed to bringing Native values of respect for place, land, water, and people to regional policy-making.”


    Lilligren, who served for 12 years on the Minneapolis City Council and currently serves as Chair of the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors (MUID), sees direct connection between his work at NACDI, at MUID, and on the Met Council. “My goal is to bring greater equity of opportunity, especially economic opportunities – through our regional investments,” says Lilligren.


    The Chair of NACDI’s Board of Directors, Sam Olbekson expresses his support for Lilligren’s new leadership role. “We are excited to see Robert broaden his public service with this appointment to the Met Council. As Chair of the Community Development Committee he will be well positioned to advance the American Indian Cultural Corridor project, as well as other regional place-based community development,” says Olbekson, We are proud to see the first Native member on the Met Council."


    The newly inaugurated Met Council is the most diverse in its history. The appointees include seven people of color or indigenous people (POCI), seven women, two incumbents, and two immigrants. This bipartisan group includes former and current local elected officials, business owners, community organizers, arts and education professionals, and more.


    Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) is an American Indian community development intermediary organization – the first of its kind in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. NACDI believes all American Indian people have a place, purpose, and a future strengthened by sustainable community development. NACDI’s key projects include the development of the American Indian Cultural Corridor, management of All My Relations Gallery, and catalyzing the implementation of the American Indian Community Blueprint.



  • For Immediate Release


    February, 2019




    Native American Community Development Institute Will Lead and Develop Community-Led Strategies to Address Homelessness in the Minneapolis Native American Communities



    Minneapolis, Minnesota - The Bush Foundation granted Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) an Innovation grant for the WiiDooKoDaaDiiWag “They Help Each Other” (THEO) project in response to the Franklin Hiawatha Encampment.


    “Due to NACDI’s history and depth of relationships, we found it to be well-positioned to lead a problem-solving process and begin to identify solutions to conditions of homelessness in the Native community,” said Rudy Guglielmo, who serves as a Community Innovation Program Manager for the Bush Foundation.


    In the summer of 2018, a small cluster of tents appeared near Franklin and Hiawatha

    Avenues in Minneapolis and grew rapidly. By September 2018, 300 to 400 people, primarily Native, lived there in over 150 tents. The Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors (MUID) came together with the community to identify immediate needs and redirect their resources in response. Community allies mobilized to direct outreach and support for the encampment.


    NACDI and MUID are recognized by community and the City of Minneapolis as intermediaries to engage the public and private sectors and other organizational and community partners. Community allies quickly mobilized direct outreach and support at the camp. Collectively we will seek and create long term strategies to the homeless and issues contributing to the creation of the encampment, and innovative ways to address the historic, systemic challenges in the Native community.


    “At the Bush Foundation, we believe NACDI’s ability to collaborate and engage the community can result in shared ownership of solutions to conditions causing homelessness in the Native community,” said Guglielmo.


    THEO was created to support NACDI, MUID and Allies to continue to aid Native people to achieve their self-determined goals successfully, through broad community organizing and engagement process. This led to the closing systematic gaps in access, policy, practice, and programing to improve the condition for homeless Native people.



    Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) is an American Indian

    community development intermediary organization - the first of its kind in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. NACDI believes all American Indian people have a place, purpose, and a

    future strengthened by sustainable community development. NACDI’s key projects include the development of the American Indian Cultural Corridor, management of All My Relations Gallery, and catalyzing the implementation of the American Indian Community Blueprint.


    For more information: Info@nacdi.org;  https://www.theyhelpeachother.org/


    At the Bush Foundation we invest in great ideas and the people who power them. We encourage individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area.


    The Foundation was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth. Inspired by the Bushes’ desire to build their community and encourage innovation, the Foundation has invested more than one billion dollars in grants to thousands of organizations and individuals.


    For more information: Bushfoundation.org