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Cultural Survival Receives $900,000 Grant from MacArthur Foundation to Advance an Equitable Recovery

For Immediate Release
Contact: Agnes Portalewska, Communications Manager, Cultural Survival 

Kristen Mack, Media Contact, MacArthur Foundation,


Cultural Survival Receives $900,000 Grant from MacArthur Foundation to Advance Racial and Ethnic Justice in an Equitable Recovery


Cambridge, MA (July 27, 2021)-- Today, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced that it will be supporting Cultural Survival with a $900,000 grant to advance our work for a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights and dynamic cultures and to empower Indigenous Peoples to pursue their self-determination and sustain their lands, cultures, and ecosystems. The grant is part of roughly $80 million in awards in support of MacArthur's Equitable Recovery initiative, centered on advancing racial and ethnic justice. The initiative is funded by MacArthur’s social bonds, issued in response to the crises of the pandemic and racial inequity.

“Cultural Survival is deeply grateful to MacArthur Foundation for its leadership in providing support to Indigenous-led COVID-19 relief work across the United States, Mexico, India, and Nigeria. With generous support from the foundation, Cultural Survival will be responding to the self-determined needs of Indigenous communities during the ongoing and evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Through our Keepers of the Earth Fund, we will be resourcing our grassroots Indigenous partners conducting COVID relief work that focuses on both immediate needs as well as long-term solutions, including food sovereignty, access to water and sanitation, revitalization of traditional medicine and plant knowledge, and more. We will also fund infrastructure to support Indigenous community media, including access to broadband,  to ensure Indigenous communities continue to have access to life-saving information and can fully participate in our new digital world. We will continue our production and distribution of key public radio programming related to COVID-19 prevention in Indigenous languages, and, we will establish a new fund to support the crucial work of Indigenous artists who have struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic. All of this has been made possible through the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation,” said Galina Angarova (Buryat), Cultural Survival Executive Director. 

“As we emerge from this moment of crisis, we have an opportunity to improve the critical systems that people and places need to thrive. Our systems and structures must be rebuilt,” said MacArthur President John Palfrey. “We are committed to ensuring that our response to the pandemic is focused on supporting the reimagining of systems that create a more just, equitable, and resilient world.”

Cultural Survival is one of 15 organizations receiving grants totaling $16 million to advance the Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples focus area of the Foundation’s initiative. MacArthur, through the Equitable Recovery grants, is partnering with Cultural Survival in promoting the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples by uplifting Indigenous communities to enable their autonomous pursuit of a recovery guided by their priorities, cultures, and practices. 

This is the second COVID-19 recovery grant Cultural Survival has received from MacArthur. In the fall of 2020, MacArthur established a $125 million Equitable Recovery Initiative. Initial grants focused on strengthening voter mobilization and election protection, addressing anti-Black racism, and supporting Indigenous Peoples impacted by COVID-19. In 2020, Cultural Survival was awarded $250,000 for COVID-19 relief to Indigenous communities through urgent, community-centered projects that help Indigenous partners respond to the crisis in their local communities, using Indigenous, place-based solutions.

Cultural Survival is honored to be part of this group of awardees working to advance racial and ethnic justice. Two-thirds of the awards represent new grantee relationships for MacArthur, and most of the organizations are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led or -serving.



Photo: Keepers of the Earth Fund Grant Partner ARHI Social & Educational Institution - Karbi (India)
Northern India is home to multiple Indigenous communities that have been affected by the pandemic, both through actual cases of COVID-19 and through economic hardships. The community has already seen a large migration of people moving from the cities towards the rural areas. With a Keepers of the Earth Fund grant, ARHI is implementing a project that includes making face masks to prevent the spread of the virus, creating audio material production and public service announcements in Indigenous languages, purchasing and distributing sanitizing products, and publishing pamphlets with information on traditional ancestral medicine.