Exciting Changes Coming to the Rebuilders Program

The Native Nation Rebuilders program is a two-year, cohort-based program that equips Native changemakers with tools they can use to help strengthen their communities. Native Governance Center has led the program (originally established by the Bush Foundation back in 2009) since 2016. 176 Native changemakers from 22 Native nations have completed the program and gone on to serve as leaders in their communities. 

Changes to program content and structure

Over the last four years, our organization has surveyed Rebuilders on their experiences in the program and the changes they’d like to see to the program’s structure and content. We’ve seen two important trends in the data. First, our Rebuilders indicated that they’d like to see more case studies focused directly on Tribes that share geography with Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We are working in partnership with the University of Minnesota Duluth’s American Indian Studies Department to create these case studies and expect to launch this new curriculum in fall 2020. 

In addition to more locally-focused content, Rebuilders have signaled that they’d like Native Governance Center to provide more guidance and engagement during their second year of the program. During year one of the current format, Rebuilders attend four in-person sessions to learn program fundamentals and build relationships with members of their cohort. After this first year, program participants carry out an action plan project to strengthen their community. Rebuilders have told us that they’d feel more confident and successful carrying out their action plans if they received intentional, customized support during their second year. 

To that end, we’re rolling out another change to the program: we’re enhancing the year two experience to include elements such as one-on-one coaching, full cohort check-ins, and additional training on topics such as virtual facilitation, fundraising, etc. 

What does this mean for prospective program applicants?

Because we’re significantly increasing our year two engagement with Rebuilders, we’re moving application rounds for the program to an every-other-year schedule. This means that applications for our next cohort (Cohort 12) will open in July 2021.

Due to COVID-19, we’ve also moved all of our content to a virtual format for the foreseeable future. (We hope to see our Rebuilders in person again soon!) Making the transition to an every-other-year application round will allow us to pilot new ways to deliver engaging and meaningful virtual content over the next year and measure how our current Rebuilders are retaining this information. 

Please stay tuned for more information on the Cohort 12 application round. If you have questions about the Rebuilders program, please reach out to us at rebuilders@nativegov.org