Non-profit

NDN Collective

Website:

ndncollective.org/

Location:

Rapid City, SD

Tax ID:

82-3776329

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Formation:

2018

Type:

Native American Advocacy Organization

President:

Nick Tilsen

NDN Collective is a left-of-center Native American advocacy organization based in Rapid City, South Dakota. [1] NDN Collective received one of the inaugural Bezos Earth Fund grants and is active in left-of-center environmentalist activism and protests. [2]

NDN Collective campaigns to close the Mount Rushmore national monument. The group runs a petition alleging that the monument is an “international symbol of white supremacy and racial injustice” built on “stolen land.” [3] [4]

Founding and History

NDN Collective was founded in 2018 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Today, NDN Collective works with more than 50 philanthropic partners and over 200 Native American organizations. [5] NDN Collective frequently engages in left-of-center environmentalist activism. Despite being registered as a charitable organization, NDN Collective president and CEO Nick Tilsen has called the group a “movement infrastructure organization.” [6]

Environmentalist Activism

NDN Collective has gained national attention for its calls to close Mount Rushmore. Tilsen allegedly organized a July 3, 2020 protest, at which 150 demonstrators used vans to block security checkpoints in an effort to prevent ticketholders from attending then-President Donald Trump’s Independence Day speech. The protest resulted in Tilsen’s arrest. [7] The organization continues to run an online petition to close Mount Rushmore as of February 2021, calling the monument an “international symbol of white supremacy and racial injustice” and claiming that it is built on “stolen land.” [8] [9]

NDN Collective was also involved in protests to stop the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, despite the fact that the proposed pipeline route did not run through federally recognized Native American territories. [10] [11] After President Joe Biden cancelled the construction of the pipeline, NDN Collective announced that it would refocus its efforts towards shutting down the Dakota Access and Enbridge Line 3 pipeline projects. [12]

In October of 2020, NDN Collective launched the Landback Campaign, a left-of-center campaign aimed at giving federal lands to tribal organizations. The Landback Campaign was launched using $3 million of funding from a Bezos Earth Fund grant. [13] Aside from demanding federal land grants, the campaign has demanded the dismantling of government organizations that allegedly support “white supremacy,” including the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service (NPS), Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). [14]

In the lead up to the 2020 election, NDN Collective organized several get-out-the-vote efforts, including social media campaigns and voter engagement drives to encourage Native American people to vote in the 2020 presidential election. [15]

Leadership

Nick Tilsen is the founder, president, and CEO of the NDN Collective. Tilsen is a lifelong left-of-center activist who has worked on projects related to environmentalism, entitlement programs, and housing development. [16] Aside from running the NDN Collective, Tilsen was the founding executive director of the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, a Native American community organization in South Dakota. Tilsen previously worked as a local point of contact for the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative under the Obama administration, guiding investments towards low-income communities. [17]

As of late 2020, Tilsen faced charges for his alleged role in a July 3, 2020, protest near Mount Rushmore prior to then-President Donald Trump’s Independence Day remarks. The charges include second-degree robbery and grand theft, after Tilsen allegedly stole a shield from an member of the National Guard. The charges also include two counts of simple assault against law enforcement officers, with officers alleging that Tilsen engaged in physical menacing and made threats against them, in addition to three misdemeanor offenses. [18] [19]

Kim Pate is the vice president of the NDN Collective. Pate is a Nez Perce tribal lawyer who also practices in the state of California. [20] The NDN Collective board features members of a number of left-of-center organizations, including Judith Leblanc of the Native Organizers Alliance, far-left activist Edgar Villanueva of the Schott Foundation, and Princess Daazhraii Johnson of the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition. [21]

Funding

NDN Collective received $2,203,226 million in contributions and grants in 2018, its first year of operations. In 2019, contributions to the NDN Collective reached $11,369,310. [22]

NDN Collective has received several large contributions from left-of-center organizations. In 2018, NDN Collective received grants of $2.5 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation,[23] $810,000 from the Surdna Foundation,[24] and  $400,000 from the Tides Foundation. [25]

NDN Collective also received $300,000 from the Rudolf Steiner Foundation by way of a grant made by the Foundation to the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation with the purpose of supporting NDN Collective. [26] Tilsen left the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation in 2018 to lead NDN Collective. [27]

In 2019, NDN Collective received a $12 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund to support environmentalist activism. [28] From this funding, NDN earmarked $9 million to disburse in separate, $100,000 grants to other Native American organizations as a part of NDN’s Self Determination Grant program. The program was meant to fund other organizations “defending native lands against the fossil fuel industry.” [29] In the same year, NDN Collective received $750,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,[30]  $550,000 from the Tides Foundation,[31] $400,000 from the Ford Foundation,[32] and $100,000 from the Libra Foundation. [33] The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also listed a $750,000 grant approved for future contributions to NDN Collective in its 2019 filings. [34]

In 2020, NDN Collective received a $500,000 grant from the Bush Foundation for its COVID-19 Response Project in 2020. [35] That same year, NDN Collective received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan that was approved on April 16, 2020, with a value between $150,000 and $350,000. [36]

Since its founding, NDN Collective has also reportedly received grants from Novo Foundation, JPB Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation,[37] and the Wend Collective. [38]

Grantmaking Activities

NDN Collective is affiliated with NDN Partners, a for-profit organization. [39] Through NDN Partners, NDN Collective distributed millions of dollars of grants to various organizations as a part of its two-part COVID-19 Response Project. In Phase 1, NDN Collective disbursed $2.5 million to 95 partners, and in Phase 2, the organization distributed $4.5 million to 105 organizations. [40] [41]

Associated Organizations

NDN Collective is associated with the NDN Foundation, a grantmaking and fundraising 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2019. [42] According to the June 2020 NDN Collective newsletter, the Foundation is part of the “NDN Ecosystem,” and the NDN Collective appoints the director of the NDN Foundation. [43] [44]

NDN Collective is also affiliated with the NDN Fund and NDN Action, two 501(c)(3) organizations founded in 2019, and the NDN Action Network, an advocacy organization founded in 2020. [45] [46] [47]

References

  1. Vincent Schilling. “NDN Collective offers millions to tribes, Indigenous nonprofits, artists and entrepreneurs.” Indian Country Today. April 27, 2020. Accessed via Web Archive. Captured February 7, 2021. http://web.archive.org/web/20200508003756/https:/indiancountrytoday.com/news/ndn-collective-offers-millions-to-tribes-indigenous-nonprofits-artists-and-entrepreneurs-DZwVRkJ5b0ChDHSyhYlxig. ^
  2. Steven Mufson, “Bezos makes first donations from $10 billion Earth Fund for fighting climate change.” Washington Post. November 16, 2020. Archived from the original February 7, 2021. Accessed February 7, 2021. http://web.archive.org/web/20210207131336if_/https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2020/11/16/bezos-climate-grants/. ^
  3. Action Network, “Petition to Close Mt. Rushmore and Return All Public Lands in the Black Hills to THE OCETI SAKOWIN.” accessed February 7, 2021, https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/petition-to-close-mt-rushmore-and-return-all-public-lands-in-the-black-hills-to-the-oceti-sakowin. ^
  4. NDN Collective July 2020 Newsletter. NDN Collective. https://ndncollective.org/newsletters/july-2020-newsletter/. ^
  5. Michael Kavate. “Native American Activists Make Gains, but Philanthropy ‘Continues to Scratch the Surface.’” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed via Web Archive. Archived July 7, 2020. http://web.archive.org/web/20200728183601/https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2020/7/28/native-american-activists-make-gains-but-philanthropy-continues-to-scratch-the-surface. ^
  6. KOTA Staff. “NDN Collective gets awarded $12M from Jeff Bezos.” KOTA TV. November 26, 2020. Accessed Febaruary 7, 2021. https://www.kotatv.com/2020/11/26/ndn-collective-gets-awarded-12m-from-jeff-bezos/. ^
  7. Arielle Zionts. “Mount Rushmore protest leader charged with two felonies.” Rapid City Journal. July 6, 2020. https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/mount-rushmore-protest-leader-charged-with-two-felonies/article_363e00b2-3a22-5de9-937f-2c518d3c5b6d.html. ^
  8. Action Network, “Petition to Close Mt. Rushmore and Return All Public Lands in the Black Hills to THE OCETI SAKOWIN.” Accessed February 7, 2021. https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/petition-to-close-mt-rushmore-and-return-all-public-lands-in-the-black-hills-to-the-oceti-sakowin. ^
  9. NDN Collective July 2020 Newsletter. NDN Collective. https://ndncollective.org/newsletters/july-2020-newsletter/. ^
  10. NDN Collective June 2020 Newsletter. https://ndncollective.org/newsletters/june-2020-newsletter/. ^
  11. Nick Tilsen. “Our Voices Won’t Be Silenced.” NDN Collective. April 12, 2019. Accessed via Web Archive. Captured November 28, 2020. http://web.archive.org/web/20201128212155/https://ndncollective.org/our-voices-wont-be-silenced-fighting-the-sd-riot-boosting-act-and-the-keystone-xl-pipeline/. ^
  12. Arielle Zionts. “South Dakotans show mixed reactions to halting oil pipeline.” Rapid City Journal. February 1, 2021. https://www.wral.com/south-dakotans-show-mixed-reactions-to-halting-oil-pipeline/19494470/?version=amp. ^
  13. Stuart Huntington.  “Doubling Down on Native Values.” Indian Country Today. November 25, 2020. Accessed February 7, 2021, https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/doubling-down-on-native-values-45uW-FHqq0GecLZIhH4leg. ^
  14. Landback Campaign Manifesto. Accessed from Web Archive. Febaruary 8, 2020. https://landback.org/manifesto/ ^
  15. “NDN Collective Responds to Inauguration of President Joe Biden.” NDN Collective Press Release. January 21, 2021. https://ndncollective.org/ndn-collective-responds-to-inauguration-of-president-joe-biden/. ^
  16. “Nick Tilsen.” NDN Collective, January 26, 2021. https://ndncollective.org/people/nick-tilsen/. ^
  17. “Nick Tilsen.” Thunder Valley CDC. Accessed February 18, 2021. https://thundervalley.org/learn-more/our-team/nick-tilsen. ^
  18. Arielle Zionts. “Tilsen Case Heading to Trial after Judge Finds Probable Cause.” Rapid City Journal Media Group. last modified October 1, 2020. Accessed February 7, 2021. https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/tilsen-case-heading-to-trial-after-judge-finds-probable-cause/article_df671a98-7c24-5503-8381-9c218e69828b.html. ^
  19. Grant Pritchett. “Tilsen’s defense seeks training, pre-deployment materials in July 3 protest near Mt. Rushmore.” Rapid City Journal. December 18, 2020. Accessed February 7, 2021. https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/tilsens-defense-seeks-training-pre-deployment-materials-in-july-3-protest-near-mt-rushmore/article_0820746b-bfdf-5965-8c11-583b01265bb0.html. ^
  20. “Kim Pate.” NDN Collective, January 26, 2021. https://ndncollective.org/people/kim-pate/. ^
  21. “Board of Directors.” NDN Collective. Accessed February 18, 2021. https://ndncollective.org/groups/board-of-directors/. ^
  22. NDN Collective, Return of an Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2019, Part I, Line 8. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2019/823/776/2019-823776329-17224955-9.pdf. ^
  23. Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Inc., Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2019, Attachment 17, Page 10 of 26. ^
  24. The Surdna Foundation, Inc. Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2018, Part XV. ^
  25. Tides Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  26. Rudolf Steiner Foundation, Return of an Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  27. Mark Trahant. “Nick Tilsen Steps Down as CEO of Thunder Valley Corp to Lead NDN Collective.” Indian Country Today. March 20, 2018. https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/nick-tilsen-steps-down-as-ceo-of-thunder-valley-corp-to-lead-ndn-collective-eHJ8HVHPLEalh0oK5yUqzQ. ^
  28. Steven Mufson. “Bezos makes first donations from $10 billion Earth Fund for fighting climate change.” Washington Post. November 16, 2020. Archived from the original February 7, 2021. Accessed February 7, 2021. http://web.archive.org/web/20210207131336if_/https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2020/11/16/bezos-climate-grants/. ^
  29. Stuart Huntington. “Doubling Down on Native Values.” Indian Country Today. November 25, 2020, accessed February 7, 2021. https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/doubling-down-on-native-values-45uW-FHqq0GecLZIhH4leg. ^
  30. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2019, Part XV. ^
  31. Tides Foundation, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2019, Schedule I, Part II. ^
  32. Ford Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2019, Part XV. ^
  33. The Libra Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2019, Part XV. ^
  34. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2019, Part XV – Contributions Approved for Future Payment. ^
  35. “Grant for NDN Collective.” Bush Foundation. Accessed February 8, 2021. https://www.bushfoundation.org/grantees/2020-ndn-collective. ^
  36. “NDN Collective, Inc.” Coronavirus Bailouts. ProPublica. Accessed February 8, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/coronavirus/bailouts/loans/ndn-collective-inc-0d2b01ebb068c0b3215a64baf1b57b50. ^
  37. Michael Kavate. “Native American Activists Make Gains, but Philanthropy ‘Continues to Scratch the Surface.’” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed via Web Archive. Archived July 7, 2020. http://web.archive.org/web/20200728183601/https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2020/7/28/native-american-activists-make-gains-but-philanthropy-continues-to-scratch-the-surface. ^
  38. Vincent Schilling. “NDN Collective offers millions to tribes, Indigenous nonprofits, artists, and entrepreneurs.” Indian Country Today. April 20, 2020. https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/ndn-collective-offers-millions-to-tribes-indigenous-nonprofits-artists-and-entrepreneurs-DZwVRkJ5b0ChDHSyhYlxig. ^
  39. Request for Information from Qualified Vendors for Support Services. NDN Collective. PDF Document. Accessed February 8, 2020. https://ndncollective-org.nyc3.cdn.digitaloceanspaces.com/app/uploads/2020/04/COVID-RFI-SM.pdf. ^
  40. The NDN COVID-19 Response Project. “Phase I Completed.” NDN Collective. Accessed February 8, 20201. https://ndncollective.org/covid-19/. ^
  41. NDN Press Release. “NDN Collective Awards $4.5 million in grants to 105 Indigenous-led projects for transition & resilience.” NDN Collective. December 16, 2020. Accessed via Web Archive. February 8, 2021. http://web.archive.org/web/20210208164007/https://ndncollective.org/ndn-collective-awards-4-5-million-in-grants-to-105-indigenous-led-projects-for-transition-resilience/. ^
  42. “NDN Foundation.” Cause IQ Organizational Profile. Accessed February 8, 2021. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/ndn-foundation,832724212/. ^
  43. NDN Collective June 2020 Newsletter. NDN Collective. https://ndncollective.org/newsletters/june-2020-newsletter/. ^
  44. NDN Collective November 2020 Newsletter. NDN Collective. https://ndncollective.org/newsletters/november-2020-newsletter/. ^
  45. “NDN Fund.” Cause IQ Organization Profile. Accessed February 8, 2021. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/ndn-fund,832763481/. ^
  46. “NDN Action.” Cause IQ Organizational Profile. Accessed February 8, 2021. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/ndn-fund,832763481/. ^
  47. “NDN Action Network.” Cause IQ Organizational Profile. Accessed February 6, 2021. https://www.causeiq.com/organizations/ndn-fund,832763481/. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 2018

  • Available Filings

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    NDN Collective

    317 MAIN ST STE 1
    Rapid City, SD 57701-2837