Christine Hendler supports a variety of worthy causes that benefit both people and animals. She actively serves in groups that campaign for Native American rights and work to better the lives of these people. The American Indian College Fund is one of the organizations Christine Hendler is proud to support, as it works to educate Native Americans so that they can fight poverty and create socioeconomic change in their communities.
Colleges for Native Americans didn’t exist until 1968, when the Navajo Nation created an institution on the reservation that was to provide higher education to tribe members. Today more than 30 tribal colleges exist in 13 states. These colleges educate 30,000 students from more than 250 tribes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. These colleges employ the same academic standards as other colleges and enjoy full accreditation.
Tribal colleges provide a setting in which Native Americans can preserve their culture and language by choosing a curriculum that includes those subjects. For example, biology students learn both the Indian-language name and the Latin name of a plant or other living organism. Tribal colleges not only educate Native Americans; they also boost students’ cultural identity and self-esteem. Students from American Indian Nations attend tribal colleges to attain the necessary education, experience, and skills to transform their lives.
Local and state taxes often don’t include monies for tribal colleges, so donations are crucial to their survival, and the American Indian College Fund serves as an organization that raises private-sector monies for this cause. Established in New York in 1989 and moved to Denver, Colorado, in 2002, the Fund works alongside the American Indian Higher Education Consortium to ensure all Native Americans who want to attend a tribal college can do so. These organizations give scholarships to students and support the colleges themselves. In addition, The Fund supports capital construction, cultural preservation projects, and many other tribal college programs.
The work of the American Indian College Fund staff extends outside of the workplace. These people give back to their community and volunteer their time for civic duties and to those who are in need.