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Nonprofit focused on Native elders lands $4M gift

 Courtesy of the National Indian Council on Aging
Jarrette Werk Photography/Jarrette Werk Photography
Courtesy of the National Indian Council on Aging

The National Indian Council on Aging, headquartered in Albuquerque, announced a gift of $4 million this week from the philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, who is the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Scott has given to hundreds of organizations recently with donations adding up to nearly $4 billion.

But this one could transform the New Mexico nonprofit, which serves Native American elders around the country. Executive director Larry Curley, of the Navajo Nation, called the gift astounding.

"I'm excited, the staff are excited," he said. "And it's, quite frankly, it's the largest donation that the organization has ever received in its 40 years of existence."

Curley says the group is brainstorming how best to spend the money to further his organization's work of supporting elders from Indian and Alaska Native communities. He says one priority is communication in places where internet-based support isn't an option.

"We're looking at the possibility of creating a 24/7 crisis call center for our tribal elders," he said.

Curley says the gift opens up horizons for the organization, which strives to help a group with high levels of poverty and stark healthcare disparities compared with the wider population of the US.

Copyright 2022 KUNM. To see more, visit KUNM.

Alice Fordham is an NPR International Correspondent based in Beirut, Lebanon.
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