Page 1

2012 Annual Report

Working Together to Improve the Future for American Indian Youth

American Indian Youth Running Strong速

Who We Are Mission To help American Indian people meet their immediate survival needs –— food, water, and shelter — while implementing and supporting programs designed to create opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-esteem, especially for Native youth. Programs v Food Distribution and Nutrition v Water Wells v Youth v Culture and Language

v Housing v Women’s and Children’s Health v Seasonal Assistance

Board of Directors Running Strong is governed by a five-member volunteer Board of Directors. James J. O’Brien, Esq., Chairman Ashley Wahiaronkwas Morris (Mohawk of Kahnawake), Founding Partner, O’Brien Law LLC Director Katsi Cook (Akwesasne Mohawk), Secretary Clyde B. Richardson, Director Executive Director, First Environmental Collaborative Emil Her Many Horses (Oglala Lakota), Treasurer Assistant Curator, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Our Advisory Board is composed of a special group of leaders who help ensure that our programs preserve, promote and respect Indian culture and values. Please visit our website for a list of Advisory Board members. Staff Headquarters Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota), National Spokesperson Lauren Haas Finkelstein, Executive Director Audrey Stevens (San Carlos Apache), Administrative Assistant

Dave Frank, Fulfillment Manager Victoria Tamayo, VistaCorps Volunteer

Field Staff Pine Ridge (South Dakota) and Nebraska Tom Kanatakeniate Cook (Akwesasne Mohawk)

Pine Ridge (South Dakota) Dave Lone Elk (Oglala Lakota)

Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota) The only American to have ever won a gold medal in the 10,000 meter race, Billy has dedicated his life to improving and enriching the lives of American Indian youth. Born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Billy understood the serious and detrimental problems American Indians face. In 1986, he teamed up with Gene Krizek, Founder of Christian Relief Services Charities, to form Running Strong. Since then, Billy and Running Strong have strived to provide American Indians with the tools they need to achieve self-sufficiency and happy healthy lives. In 2013, Billy was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian award in the United States, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition of his service to help American Indian Families through Running Strong for American Indian Youth®.

Connect with us and sign-up to receive email updates at Or go to the App Store on your smartphone and download a QR Scanner for free. Then scan this QR Code with your smartphone camera to visit our website and learn more about us!

Running Strong for American Indian Youth® strives to improve life for American Indian youth and their families — one well, one garden, one child at a time. We do so with the commitment of the local communities and the contributed resources from individuals, like you, around the country. Our National Spokesperson, Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota), is an Olympic hero who grew up on an Indian reservation facing many of the challenges Native children still face today. Every day we say loudly “Be proud of who you are! You can do it!” With Billy and the help of caring Americans nationwide, we work to make sure their life stories prove it.

v There are 566

federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) tribes in the U.S. These tribes are distinct sovereign governments,

Indian Country - 1775

possess a nationhood status and retain inherent powers of self government.1 v Native Americans serve at a high rate in the U.S. Armed

Forces and have a higher concentration of female Servicemembers than all other Servicemembers.2 v American Indian children suffer from some of the highest

poverty in the nation: 76.5% of children on the Pine

Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota are at or below the poverty line.3 v Rampant health disparities challenge the Indian Health

Services’ limited resources. Diabetes affects over

half the population of adults over 40, and tuberculosis is eight times higher than the national

Indian Country - Today

average on Pine Ridge.4 v Of

the 245 indigenous languages in the United States, 65 are already extinct and 75 are near extinction. Yet in many Native communities, the language is thriving while in others, community members work diligently to keep their language and culture alive.5

v In many Native communities, close

to 50% of the reservation population is under 18. These children are our future.

Maps courtesy Market Development Group

1 2 Department of Veterans Affairs, Report on American Indian Alaska Native (AIAN) Servicemembers and Veterans, September 2012. 3 “Pine Ridge, South Dakota (SD) Poverty Rate Data - Information about Poor and Low Income Residents.” Pine Ridge, South Dakota (SD) Poverty Rate Data. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2012. < com/poverty/poverty-Pine-Ridge-South-Dakota.html>. 4 Kristof, Nicholas D. “Poverty’s Poster Child.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 May 2012. Web. 25 Sept. 2012. <>. 5 Administration for Children and Families, Press Release, August 16, 2012.

Connect with us on Facebook!

American Indian Youth Running Strong ® v 2012 Annual Report


water is life

“I don’t know what I would have done if your organization did not exist. Your help is greatly needed and very appreciated.” v Charlene

E.E., water well recipient

The Lakota people say mni wiconi or “water is life.” Running Strong began working on Pine Ridge in 1986, when the Tribal President, Joe American Horse, identified water as the greatest single need on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Water Is Life for a Pine Ridge Family Many Oglala families live in relative isolation without running water forcing them to rely on twice weekly water deliveries, share with their relatives or haul water for miles, using whatever containers they can find. Today, Running Strong has completed nearly 400 wells, working with American Indian-owned Wild Goose Well Drilling Company to give the gift of water while putting local Native workers to work. Charlene E.E., a single mother, was finding it hard to get any type of help on the reservation. Then, she found Running Strong’s Water Well program.

v Running Strong and Wild

Goose Well Drilling (a Native run and owned small business) drilled five wells and completed one hookup to the tribal waterline.

Charlene and her family recently took a big step in financing a new mobile home after living in overcrowded conditions in her parents’ home where a total of 13 adults and children were living in a four bedroom home.

v Wells average 200 feet

She decided to buy a mobile home so she could have better living conditions and figured she would try to pay for digging a well and putting in a septic tank, one step at a time. In the meantime, she and her kids hauled water from her parents’ home, which is about 150 yards away, and showered there.

v These new wells gave fresh,

Running Strong stepped in to help dig a well for Charlene and her family. She thanked Tunkashila (God) for an answer to her prayers. She then received a letter stating a septic tank was going to be provided, which made her very happy. Charlene is deeply grateful for the assistance she received from Running Strong made possible by you, our loyal friends and supporters.

Visit the programs you support on the Running Strong Reservations Tour! Visit 2

2012 Program & Services Spotlight

Running Strong for American Indian Youth® v 2012 Annual Report

deep and cost approximately $14,373.80. clean water to 25 people, 12 of whom are children under the age of 18.

“I’m tired of everyone saying that good things can’t happen here. That no one cares. I care. We all care. I like the Rainbow Tree because it gives us young people a chance to show everyone, the doubters, that we do care. That we are making a difference.” S. (age 18), Can Wigmunke (The Rainbow Tree), youth leader

v Helene

planting the seeds

Since 1989, Running Strong has been partnering with community-based gardening programs to help American Indian families grow their own food.

2012 Program & Services Spotlight v Rainbow Tree had over 620

community members assist them, 249 of them whom are children. v Four successful workshops/

Head Start Socials and 76 educators trained on healthy eating habits and gardening. v Sixteen community gardens

have directly aided 128 community members.

Building Community through Organic Gardens Can Wigmunke (The Rainbow Tree) encourages closeness and self-sufficiency within the families, youth and schools of Pine Ridge through community and school gardens. Can Wigmunke helps community members plant an average of 34 varieties of fruit and vegetables. Close to 50 varities are planted in Can Wigmunke’s demonstration garden to test conditions and gardening methods and show what grows best in South Dakota’s weather. Ongoing Running Strong support helps till land and educate about best practices, including extending the season with the use of the 28’ x 48’ Running Strong greenhouse (built in 2011). A weekly farmers’ and gatherers’ market and newly opened store provide opportunities for local gardeners and the program to market their produce. Anthony and Faith B. received a garden, as did their neighbor they had been “feuding” with. Both families received plants, seeds and training, but were required to share a hose and bait bag. Both gardens are doing well (despite grasshoppers) and the families are working together to care for their gardens. Please visit to learn more about the gardening programs including: v the Slim Buttes Agricultural Development Program v the Cheyenne River Youth Project® Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) Children’s Garden v the Brave Heart Society’s Good Heart Garden

Run for the future of Indian country! Join Team Running Strong. Visit American Indian Youth Running Strong® v 2012 Annual Report


building THE FUTURE

“The Tiny Tots Dance Room is used for teaching dance and ballet to the community youth and children. The best part about it was the mirrors. They help the girls practice and they truly enjoy learning how to dance.” v Ginny W., Tiny Tots

dance instructor

Running Strong is working to create a new generation of American leaders who demonstrate healthy lifestyles and pride in who they are. Providing Room to Grow The Cheyenne River Youth Project has two thriving youth centers, “The Main” and Cokata Wiconi (Circle of Life) Teen Center. The Main offers children ages 5–13 a safe and productive environment seven days a week. Cokata Wiconi caters to the 13–18 age groups and provides teens with educational and exciting recreational opportunities. Cheyenne River kids can enjoy art and dance space, library, internet cafe and play indoor basketball. ®

Running Strong offers scholarships to youth-based programs to use the Teen Center’s many creative spaces. This year, Achieve Highpoints, a math tutoring program, successfully applied for space for kids in grades 3–6 to receive tutoring. The program was a success and the students made progress. Now their math scores range from 98%-100%. Please visit to learn more about the youth programs including: v Indian Youth of America v Chickaloon, Ya Ne Dah Ah School v Backpacks filled with new school supplies v New athletic shoes

Watch our videos on YouTube! 4

Running Strong for American Indian Youth® v 2012 Annual Report

2012 Program & Services Spotlight v Over 400 children were

directly served, most on a daily basis, by programs hosted by the Cheyenne River Youth Project®. v Ongoing programs at “The

Main” included basketball practices and summer camps, summer cooking camp, star quilting class, math tutoring, health and development screenings, and family visits for children living in foster care. v Distributed 885 backpacks

(out of a total of 3,000 nationwide) of school supplies to children living on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation through the Cheyenne River Youth Project® and local schools.

“Our people, they were once known for being great orators. Then, our voices were taken. You must find your voice. These are our ways. This is our education. All we must do is walk gently and listen.” v Brook

S.E., Brave Heart Society community member

Keeping Our Ways

Running Strong ensures that future generations know the wisdom of their ancestors by supporting efforts to revitalize traditional ways and share knowledge from elders to the next generation of American Indian youth. 2012 Program & Services Spotlight v Nine girls went through the

Isnati Awicadowanpi (Coming of Age Ceremony), making a total of 90 girls since Brave Heart’s beginning. 76 community members were also involved in the ceremony. v 240 people attend Brave

Heart’s 30 session Language Nest at the Brave Heart Lodge. v Brave Heart also hosted a

Hunting and Gathering camp, a rite of passage for young men. Eight young men, their families, and community members were involved in this traditional ritual.

Living for the Future by Connecting to the Past Located on the Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation, the Brave Heart Society is dedicated to bringing back and preserving traditional knowledge and customs to create resilient families with strong cultural foundations. The Brave Heart Society also teaches their traditional ways and language to aid Dakota girls who have been affected by trauma and abuse. In 1994, the Brave Heart Society revived the Isnati Awicadowanpi, or “Coming of Age” Ceremony for girls. 2012 was the first year the Isnati Awicadowanpi was coordinated by girls who recently completed the ceremony. This proactive effort reflects how this ceremony, as well as the other traditional cultural gatherings Brave Heart Society offers, has helped raised self-esteem, efficacy and appreciation for cultural knowledge in Dakota youth. Please visit to learn all about our culture and language programs including: v Euchee Language Project v First Environment Collaborative v Exhibitions at the National Museum of the American Indian v Little White Buffalo Project

Follow us on Twitter! American Indian Youth Running Strong® v 2012 Annual Report



“Thank you so much for this program. It’s worthwhile and teaches the children about nutritious and healthy food choices.” v Gloria, grandmother

of kindergarten student at a Menominee Indian school

Many children living on Indian Reservations qualify for the Federal Free Lunch Program. Without free school meals on the weekend many children and their families struggle to have enough to eat. One Child at a Time Running Strong supports the Menominee Indian School District in Keshena, Wisconsin with the Smart Sacks Program, which gives students nutritious foods to take home on the weekends and school breaks when they don’t have a free school lunch. A family of seven children attend the Menominee Indian School District (MISD) schools and four of the siblings receive the Smart Sacks. The parent informed Wendell Waukau, the school superintendent of MISD, how much the healthy food items were helping them on the weekends. So the school decided to pack “a few extra items” for their older siblings who were unable to participate in the program. The parent was very appreciative and grateful for Running Strong and the school’s generosity. Five of the seven students are doing well in school and the other two have enrolled in summer school and receive other resources from the school and local community agencies. Thanks to Running Strong’s support, over 300 children receive Smart Sacks each week. Now MISD is looking for resources to expand it to the other 120 kids in the upper grades. Please visit to learn more about our food distribution and nutrition programs including: v Food distribution v Summer Youth Feeding Program v Seasonal food v Fresh fruit and vegetables for kids


Running Strong for American Indian Youth® v 2012 Annual Report

2012 Program & Services Spotlight v 300 pre-K through 3rd grade

children at the Menominnee Indian School District received Smart Sacks each weekend, totaling 9,000 sacks of food for the 2011–2012 academic school year. v The Menominee Indian

School District won Silver in the USDA US Healthier School Challenge for meeting rigorous standards for school meals, physical activity, and nutrition education. They are the first school on an Indian Reservation in the Midwest to place in this challenge.

“You opened up your hearts and what you gave us was incredible. This is a dream come true.” v Cordelia W.E., Homes of Honor recipient

A Place to Call HOME

Homes of Honor is a program that gives tribal members new homes for having dedicated their lives to improving the quality of life for others on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. 2012 Program & Services Spotlight v Running Strong constructed

its third “Homes of Honor” house on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to provide families with a safe and stable living environment. v Each home is highly insulated

to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. v Running Strong completed

17 home repairs for families living on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. These repairs served 88 people including 53 children.

Stabilizing the Framework In April 2012, Running Strong began construction of a new home for Cordelia W.E., an instrumental force in establishing child welfare programs on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Despite dedicating her life to making the lives of families easier on Pine Ridge, she herself lived in a dilapidated trailer. Last January, her pipes froze and her furnace went out. She didn’t have any water in the trailer. Three years ago, Cordelia’s husband Charlie died. Charlie had always taken care of the house. “I had no idea how to do any of those things,” she said, “it all seemed to come down at once. It almost seemed unbearable. I can’t find the words to describe how much this new home means to me and my family.” The need for housing on Pine Ridge is great. Every house or trailer on the reservation, no matter its condition is typically overcrowded because the need for housing is so great. There will be three generations living in Cordelia’s new home, including her daughter and three grandchildren. Additionally, Running Strong helps families on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation repair their homes. This year, repairs ranged from replacing insulation, doors, heaters, bathroom fixtures, water lines, water heaters, windows, drywall, and roofs. Please visit to learn more about our housing programs including: v Home repairs v The Timber project v Oglala Sioux Tribe Partnership for Housing

American Indian Youth Running Strong® v 2012 Annual Report


the season for giving

“We provided new winter coats to five children who are homeless and living in a shelter with their mom. The family recently lost their home and most of their belongings. The children were surprised that they got to keep the coats because they were new and they didn’t have to pay for them.” Pat G., Indian Youth of America

For American Indian children that suffer the effects of poverty everyday, simple items like new toys or clothes are often an unaffordable luxury. Running Strong witnesses these children handle the reality of their lives with grace and humility. Staying Warm for the Winter From a homeless mother and her children, to a 15-year-old girl living in a shelter, to the many children on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation sending letters to Santa, Running Strong is helping to make the holiday season special. The Christmas parties allow parents to see joy in their childrens’ faces. Pat Gordon, from Sioux City Iowa’s Indian Youth of America, witnesses firsthand the joy and happiness on the faces of the children during this annual Christmas event. Along with Christmas comes the harsh Winter season in the Northern Plains. Running Strong helps families survive these harsh winters by providing new coats to American Indian families who often have to face below zero temperatures, continuous snow and countless blizzards. Many families cannot afford new winter coats and try to reuse what they have. A young boy in Sioux City, Iowa was using safety pins to hold his old coat together because his zipper was broken. The youth worker at his after school program told Running Strong that his mother could not afford to buy him a coat. She is a single mom who works two jobs and struggles to make ends meet. She doesn’t own a vehicle and they must rely on public transportation and walking so having a warm winter coat is a necessity for this young boy. Thanks to Running Strong supporters, he has a brand new coat! Please visit to learn more about our seasonal programs including: v Emergency Heat matches v New warm blankets v Toys for Tribes Christmas toy drive


Running Strong for American Indian Youth® v 2012 Annual Report

2012 Program & Services Spotlight v Running Strong provided toys to

and supported holiday parties for eight American Indian communities in South Dakota, Colorado, Iowa, Oklahoma and Montana during the holiday season. v Over 5,000 children received toys

for Christmas. v Running Strong helped fund

eight holiday parties, which gave over 2,000 children and families the chance to celebrate Christmas. v Running Strong provided over

2,200 children and adults with new warm coats with hoods in Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, New Mexico, Washington, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota and South Dakota.

2012 Financial Summary Year ended June 30, 2012 The financial results depicted are derived from the Running Strong for American Indian Youth® June 30, 2012 consolidated financial statements which contain an unqualified audit opinion. Our complete, audited financial statements and 990 can be obtained online at or by calling (703) 317-9881.



*Excludes unrealized and realized gains and losses on investments.


Management, General, Development & Fundraising $95,130


Contributions $874,272


Noncash Contributions $2,099,409

Fiscal Year 2012 Total Income:



Other Income $14,620

Fiscal Year 2012 Total Expenses:



Program Services $3,566,020



Grants from Government Agencies $26,069

Cash Contributions from Affiliates $334,718

97.4% of our expenses go to program services!! Breakdown of Program Expenses

Fiscal Year 2012 Program Services


Healthy Food


$ 1,703,750

Family Services


$ 719,740



$ 699,805



$ 150,564

Mother & Child Health


$ 116,282

Culture & Language








Thank you for your generous support! We couldn’t do it without you. To see a complete list of individuals and organizations that provided sustaining support in 2012 visit honors.html. A big “Thank You” to Federal and military employees who donated through the Combined Federal Campaign and participants in state and corporate campaigns across the country for their generous support. Make American Indian children part of your legacy. Please consider Running Strong in your estate planning. Visit

Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota), National Spokesperson 8301 Richmond Highway Alexandria, Virginia 22309 1-888-491-9859

Running Strong for American Indian Youth FY12 Annual Report  

Read about our programs and accomplishments that you are making possible!

Running Strong for American Indian Youth FY12 Annual Report  

Read about our programs and accomplishments that you are making possible!