Core Services (backup)

PWNA supports Animal Welfare groups that rescue, rehabilitate and place injured or stray animals in foster care or forever homes, ensuring well-being of animals and healthy, safe communities.

Animal welfare and the problems created from overpopulated and stray animals are immense for some reservation communities, leading to human health risk such as animal bites, rabies and the spread of disease. The Navajo Nation alone has estimates reaching as high as 6,000 stray dogs and cats, depending on the community.

Annually, PWNA helps animal welfare partners rescue thousands of hungry or injured animals:

  • spay, neuter and vaccinate animals of the reservation
  • educate communities on proper care of animals
  • enable animal groups to care for more animals

(Related programs: Reservation Animal Rescue (RAR))


Education is a key challenge experienced by many Native communities. PWNA supports the educational development of students in both K-12 and higher education through our American Indian Education Fund® (AIEF) program.



Education is one of the most important cornerstones of self-sufficiency and quality of life. It is also a crucial factor in addressing the long-term challenges on the reservations Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) serves. Our education services assist Native American students from pre-kindergarten to high school. (See Higher Education for college services.)

By addressing both immediate and long-term educational needs, PWNA helps our partner schools and colleges motivate students and retention.

PWNA supports K-12 education partners through:

  • essential school supplies for about 25,000 students on 25+ reservations
  • literacy supplies and incentives to motivate reading and encourage adult-child reading time
  • incentive products used by Head Start partners focused on early childhood education

(Related programs: American Indian Education Fund (AIEF))



Education is a key to the many challenges facing Indian Country, and PWNA supports education from Headstart and K-12 to college and career. Annually, PWNA reviews about 1,000 scholarship applications, focusing on applicants who are most often in the middle range of the academic ranking but who have serious drive and a demonstrated ability to overcome obstacles.

Many Native students believe college is not an option for them and, contrary to public perception, college is not free for Native Americans. PWNA’s Higher Education Services increase college access and retention for Native American students.

Our Higher Education services assist Native American students by:
  • Awarding scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students, paid directly to the college they will attend
  • Providing through college partners laptops or grants for pre-requisite tools that students need but often cannot afford
  • Granting emergency funds to universities, tribal colleges, and other schools committed to American Indian education, retention and funding for Native American students

(Related programs: American Indian Education Fund)

Our Emergency Services provide disaster relief for tribes and seasonal weatherization assistance for Native American Elders. When disaster assistance is needed, Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) is quick to respond to the tribes in and beyond our normal service area. In addition, PWNA rotates winter readiness and seasonal services to different communities in the Plains and Southwest. Due to the expense and logistics, we are unable to offer these services to all reservations. We also assist homeless shelters and other residential facilities on the reservations we serve.

The physical environment on the reservations we support is often harsh, giving rise to a wide range of environmental disasters such as floods, forest fires, blizzards, ice storms, tornados and hurricanes. Some communities also experience acute or chronic contaminated-water emergencies. In addition, 90,000 Native Americans are homeless and 40% of Native Americans live in sub-standard, overcrowded housing. The typical wait time for tribal housing assistance is three years or more.

PWNA’s Emergency Services benefit thousands of tribal citizens a year.

PWNA’s variety of emergency services assist our reservations partners with:

  • disaster relief during environmental emergencies on the reservations
  • firewood and winter fuel vouchers for Native American Elders
  • winter and summer emergency kits containing blankets, batteries, candles, water, nonperishable food and other items
  • home repairs, window replacements, ramps for wheelchair access and weatherization of homes for the winter when there is significant risk for vulnerable Elders
  • supplies for residential shelters housing the homeless, aged, disabled and domestic abuse victims

Related programs: Northern Plains Reservation Aid (NPRA), Southwest Reservation Aid (SWRA), Native American Aid (NAA), Navajo Relief Fund (NRF), Sioux Nation Relief Fund (SNRF) and Southwest Indian Relief Council (SWIRC)


Our Food & Water services bring immediate relief from food insecurity for Native American Elders, children and families. Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) assists food bank partners across dozens of reservations.

Because low food security is an everyday issue on the reservations PWNA serves, nutrition-related disease rates are high. Contaminated drinking water is also an issue in many of the communities we serve. Although many food banks operate within our service area, a study by America's Second Harvest shows that the majority of food banks lack an adequate supply of food to meet demand.

PWNA helps meet immediate nutritional needs for thousands of people annually, especially Native American Elders.

We support our reservation food partners by:

  • supplying food boxes to food pantries
  • providing staple foods for Elderly Nutrition Programs and soup kitchens preparing hot meals for Elders
  • providing breakfast foods for Native Elders
  • distributing emergency food boxes to individual families and community-wide meals during major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter
  • supporting gardening through tilling and training for Elders, families and community groups

(Related programs: Northern Plains Reservation Aid (NPRA) - formerly American Indian Relief Council (AIRC), Southwest Reservation Aid (SWRA) - formerly Council of Indian Nations (CIN), Native American Aid (NAA), Navajo Relief Fund (NRF), Sioux Nation Relief Fund (SNRF) and Southwest Indian Relief Council (SWIRC))

Partnership With Native Americans' (PWNA) health services support hundreds of reservation programs that address preventative care, home health visits and health education initiatives for tribal members. We also support reservation partners who motivate healthy involvement in community service.

Native Americans endure a legacy of healthcare disparities, leading to disproportionate disease rates. People living on the remote reservations PWNA serves rely on Indian Health Service (IHS) clinics for medical care. Severely underfunded and understaffed for the size and location of the populations it serves, IHS focuses on healthcare crises rather than preventive care. Transportation too is an impediment to healthcare because of the long distances to clinics and the lack of transportation.

The healthy lifestyle programs offered by our reservation partners and supported by PWNA serves 250,000 Native Americans each year.

PWNA supports reservations partners offering:

  • health screenings for diabetes, high blood pressure, tuberculosis and cancer
  • education classes on healthy nutrition and diabetes prevention
  • immunizations, pre- and post-natal care, and parenting classes
  • health visits with those who are homebound or otherwise unable to access services

(Related programs: Northern Plains Reservation Aid (NPRA) - formerly American Indian Relief Council (AIRC), Southwest Reservation Aid (SWRA) - formerly Council of Indian Nations (CIN), Native American Aid (NAA), Navajo Relief Fund (NRF), Sioux Nation Relief Fund (SNRF) and Southwest Indian Relief Council (SWIRC))

Partnership With Native Americans' (PWNA) Holiday services help our reservation partners spread holiday cheer, impact and participation at times when many families are experiencing more stress and disenfranchisement.

Our stockings are filled with practical items to meet immediate needs. In addition, children and families receive incentives and prizes when they come together to participate in spring, Easter and other community gatherings. These types of holiday events also help partners and local volunteers develop skills for future event planning and community service.

PWNA provides gift bags or stockings for children and Elders during the holiday season.

PWNA addresses partner concerns about the impact of the holiday season on their communities by providing:

  • Gift bags for every Elder their program serves
  • Holiday stockings for every child their school or program serves
  • Personal care items for every teen their program serves
  • Incentives for youth at spring break/Easter holiday events
  • Thanksgiving and Christmas meals are also provided as a holiday food service

(Related programs: Northern Plains Reservation Aid (NPRA), Southwest Reservation Aid (SWRA), Native American Aid (NAA), Navajo Relief Fund (NRF), Sioux Nation Relief Fund (SNRF) and Southwest Indian Relief Council (SWIRC))

Partnering for Disaster Relief and Emergency Preparedness

PWNA is a member of National VOAD — National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) — a nationwide forum “where organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle” to support community readiness and navigation of disasters, ranging from disaster preparation to disaster relief/response, recovery and mitigation. The National VOAD coalition includes 50 of America’s most reputable organizations, 55 state/territory VOADS representing local and regional interests, and other members. PWNA is an active member in three state VOAD groups, including South Dakota, Montana and Arizona, and an honorary member of the Mountain West VOAD serving Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico — states that are home to many of the reservations we serve.

With the support of numerous funders and Emergency Management officials, PWNA is facilitating emergency preparedness planning and training projects in remote tribal communities and also providing public education on how disaster aid is different for the reservations. The norm is that tribal communities experience slow mainstream news coverage or response from outside sources during blizzards, floods, hurricanes and other conditions. This only increases the need for a community-based response, so PWNA is investing in tribal readiness before disaster strikes. Waiting until after a disaster is too little too late.

A First Responder for the Reservations
For PWNA, disaster preparedness includes having critical supplies in stock for a rapid response when unexpected emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic arise. The pandemic came on quickly and left tribal communities facing shortages of food, water, sanitizer, toilet paper and other essentials to weather the lockdowns. Communities facing a shortage of stores and a high rate of impoverishment are most affected by disasters like these yet often overlooked for disaster aid. When COVID first took hold in the U.S., Oscar-winning actor Wes Studi put together a PSA asking for donations because we had so many requests for food and water that we needed help to replenish our warehouses. Watch the video:

Besides a leading resource for disaster preparedness on the reservations, PWNA is a first responder for the reservations in 9 priority states, PWNA often coordinates its emergency response in concert with the American Red Cross, Feeding America and other nonprofits. PWNA evaluates requests from tribes outside its service area on a case-by-case basis.