Native Forward Scholars Fund is the first Native organization to receive the honor in the award’s 24-year history.

Native Forward Scholars Fund has been awarded the SXSW 2024 Community Service Award under the leadership of CEO Angelique Albert. The SXSW Community Service Award uplifts the belief that “grassroots community activism is the most essential building block for progressive change on a much larger societal level.” 

Selected among all other featured speakers at SXSW EDU, CEO Angelique Albert is the first Native woman to receive this honor. Native Forward Scholars Fund is the first Native organization to be recognized since the award first launched in 2000. 

Albert shared, “Our work at Native Forward Scholars Fund seeks to foster Native excellence while inspiring allies to amplify opportunities for Native communities. The 2024 Community Service Award recognizes our impact in breaking down systemic barriers to higher education.”

Native Forward seeks to empower the next generation of Native leaders across all sectors by meeting the unmet need of every Native student. As the largest direct provider of scholarships to Native American students, Native Forward has increased the graduation rates of undergraduate students to 69%, compared to the national average of 41% for Native students, and has boosted the rate for graduate students to 95%. The organization’s alumni are among the most influential Native leaders in the U.S., including Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland; National Humanities Medal recipient Dr. Henrietta Mann; Pulitzer Prize finalist Tommy Orange; and Dr. Cynthia Chavez Lamar, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.  

SXSW Co-President and Chief Programming Officer Hugh Forrest remarked, “We are incredibly excited to recognize Angelique Albert and Native Forward as one of our five SXSW Community Service Award honorees for 2024. This is the first Native organization to be recognized in the 20+ years of the SXSW Community Service Award program. And this recognition is long overdue, as Native Forward has provided more than $400 million in scholarships to Native students nationwide since 1969. Their dedication to community service is making a real difference, and SXSW is so thrilled to be able to shine a spotlight on their many impactful contributions.”

This week at SXSW EDU, Albert will lead the session “How To Stand Up for Students Post-SCOTUS Affirmative Action,” detailing the history of Tribal education, the impact of the SCOTUS decision reversing affirmative action, and strategies for allies to effectively support Native communities. Native Forward Scholars Fund will additionally host a panel at SXSW on March 9 highlighting the visibility of Native women, featuring Presidential Humanities Medal recipient Dr. Henrietta Mann, Cherokee Nation Congressional Delegate Kimberly Teehee, and CEO of the American Indian Science And Engineering Society Sarah EchoHawk.

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