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New York Life Foundation Grants $75,000 to The Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute

February 11, 2013

Grant Given to Support the Study of Bereavement Resources for Native American Youth
-- the Most At-Risk Population in the United States

NEW YORK, NY, February 11, 2013 — The Center for Native American Youth, a policy program within the Aspen Institute headquartered in Washington, D.C., announced today a $75,000 grant from the New York Life Foundation.  The funding will support a convening and a study of resources to determine the current and future needs for bereavement and grief programming for the 2.1 million American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth in the United States.

"American Indian children are too often left behind in this country, with chronically underfunded health care and education systems," commented former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, founder and chairman of the Center for Native American Youth.  "I am excited about the Center's partnership with the New York Life Foundation because it is an example of efforts aimed at improving the lives of youth."

"In our outreach in Indian Country, we hear from youth, parents and teachers that more bereavement programming is needed," said Erin Bailey, director of the Center for Native American Youth at Aspen Institute.  "We want to make this issue a priority on the national level."

"The statistics are powerful.  The AI/AN youth face a disproportionately large number of losses but lack culturally-sensitive bereavement services and resources to meet the demand," said Maria Collins, senior program officer of the New York Life Foundation.  "The New York Life Foundation is pleased to help the Center examine the existing bereavement and grief programming and provide a plan to secure and develop resources to meet the needs of this unique population."

The Center was established with a goal of bringing greater national attention to the issues facing Native American youth and to foster solutions, with special emphasis on youth suicide prevention.  According to the Center, average suicide rates among Native American youth have reached 3.5 times the national average, with some tribal communities having rates up to 10 times the national average.  The grant will support research into the impact suicides have on youth and communities, and help to determine the bereavement resources and services that are needed to address this specific population. 

About The New York Life Foundation

Inspired by New York Life's tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $168 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations.  Through its focus on "Nurturing the Children," the Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement.  The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees, agents, and retirees of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program.  To learn more, please visit

The Center for Native American Youth is dedicated to improving the health, safety and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development and advocacy.  Founded by former U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan in February 2011, the Center is a policy program within the Aspen Institute, headquartered in Washington, D.C.  The Center works to strengthen and create new connections as well as exchange resources and best practices that address the challenges facing Native youth.  Visit the Center's website for a comprehensive list of resources available to young Native Americans, tribes and the general public.  For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.  Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues.  The Institute is based in Washington, D.C.; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners.  For more information, visit



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