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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

American Indian Youth Running Strong aka Running Strong for American Indian Youth

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Food, Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Our mission is to help American Indian people meet their immediate survival needs - food, water and shelter - while implementing and supporting programs designed to create opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-esteem, particularly for tribal youth. Our goal is to build the capacity of communities, grassroots Indian organizations, and individuals to leverage their strengths to solve problems. Through long-term development programs such as organic gardening, housing, water resource development and healthcare, we strive to foster self-sufficiency on Indian reservations throughout the United States. BILLY MILLS, Olympic Gold Medalist and an Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, serves as Running Strong's national spokesperson. He travels throughout the nation speaking to American Indian children and their families spreading his message of inspiration and opportunity for many Indian youth based on dignity, character and pride.

Target demographics: American Indian youth. We tackle complex challenges that stem from years of oppression and poverty.

Geographic areas served: American Indian communities

Programs: safe housing, basic needs, culture and language preservation, emergency assistance programs, organic gardens and food, schools and youth centers, women’s health, and seasonal programs. We implement our own programs but we also support independent groups who align with our mission, such as nonprofits, community centers, and grassroots projects. Running Strong's program involvement reaches far and wide. With our longstanding partnerships in Indian Country, we work to create sustainable change in Native communities.

Community Stories

75 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I support the purpose of this organization. I remember even as a youngster feeling the injustice done to the American Indian. Every tribe with such noble heritage. So stripped of their lives as the white man came to take the land away. I feel privileged to make any difference in making their lives better.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Over the years I have contributed small amounts of money to the projects you have selected. Thanks for including me as a supporter. The water project providing running water to the homes is a favorite. Congratulations on your work to provide water to families.
The gardening project is important too I know. I am highly concerned that the health care resources at Pine Ridge and other reservations will be undermined by the “reforms’ coming out of the White House. I am an ordinary person with a longstanding interest in Native American cultures. I have written two works of fiction that tie in to what I imagine are everyday issues for your people. Today I start trying to connect on a personal, friendship basis with the many schools and charities concerned with human quality of life on many reservations. I have so much to learn but I am starting with you. I call it a Friendship Brigade—part of a larger Friendship Brigade begun by the Hispanic Council here near Chicago that I helped found in 1996. I look forward to forging strong connections to your organization.

1

Donor

Rating: 3

I have called the # for running strong for indian youth to have my Mother's name taken off their mailing list because she is deceased . It is painful to keep receiving mail addressed to her. They promise someone will answer, but it is just a recording. You can dial an extension and get a beep like your message is going to be recorded, but there is no greeting so you do not know who your message is going to.I think this is a bogus organization or at least is very poorly run. I do not recommend it to anyone.

4 William90

Donor

Rating: 5

If you any compassion and know the true history of the American Indian , how can you not donate to this worthy cause . Where I come from , when I see a need or when I can serve , I don't even think about it . I take action , action that is the purpose of the awakened soul .

6 Joanne54

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I commend your cause I agree that native American people deserve rights and equality. After all the years of oppression it is about time to give them a voice and run strong.

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a great organization. They educate the youth to get along in the real world while keeping the culture of the youth intact

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Running Strong for American Indian Youth is a worthwhile charity doing good work.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

I just made a small donation to your great organization. However, please do not send me more than one appeal per year. Also, please do not send me any sort of gift as I cannot use them and hate to toss them. Please send them to future donors and I will continue to support your very worthwhile organization!

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Billy and Pat have an amazing story and are making a difference in Indian country. Billys words are passionate and inspirational. I last saw him speak at the Nike N7 2015 conference and he moved the 300 attendees. Each person was captivated by his stories and strength in words. Thank you Billy!!

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

As far as I am concerned this organization preys on senior citizens. My Mom constantly gets calls as late as 10pm and is solicited by mail more than once a month. They guilt people into donations.

Review from Guidestar

8

Donor

Rating: 4

My grandparents always supported American Indian Youth Running Strong. Both of them have now passed, I have always donated to this cause when I was able over the years, but since my grandfather passed I now make annual donations in memory of my grandparents every year. When I pass my children will do the same, our family will continue on with this tradition because we strongly believe in the need.

In memory of Harold J. Haley & Myrtle Haley.

Thank you,

Lisa J. McKeen

8

Donor

Rating: 5

This was the first year I was able to go on Running Strongs reservation tour. It was fantastic ! I had gone to Slim Butte working on greenhouses in 2001 and was amazed at the amount of work that volunteers and inhabitants were doing. The tour this year was well organized and everything was forseen and handled beautifully, even when the weather didn't cooperate. The highlight for me was actually meeting "The Man", himself, Billy Mills and participating in his Wacipi !

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Running Strong for American Indian Youth has for been a presence for decades, celebrating the culture and history of Native Americans and finding innovative solutions for the pressing challenges they face today.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Billy has been empowering people and youth for 1/2 century! Winning his Gold has made our people proud, generations have been inspired to achieve their dreams through him lim lemtsh thank you for this beautiful gift you have given back Billy and Pat!

7 Douglas12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first met Billy Mills 25 years ago when I was the Chairman of the Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce. We were all very excited to have him speak at our annual dinner. He didn't disappoint us. It was very inspirational. He has since inspired so many Native Youth with Running Strong. Thank you Billy Mills for all you do. You're still an inspiration to me and so many others.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This was my second year in a row and it just gets better! All the staff and volunteers at Running Strong are amazing people with such incredible integrity and passion that is absolutely overwhelming! Seeing Billy Mills and his wife Pat are just many of the highlights of this trip, I cannot wait until next year. The impact that is being made is something you need to see in person. I's not just one sided its a community effort and the results are obvious.

See you next year!!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was fortunate to hear him speak several years ago. His values and the way he has chosen to serve his people and use his gift to benefit them. His speech I can pretty much repeat today it was that impactful.
wado Billy!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Billy Mills does a wonderful service to all the Native American Youth by promoting the Running Strong Organization. I have a young 14 year old son that runs and had the honor to meet Mr. Mills. We are beginning to run more and we have been inspired by Mr. Mills and his organization!

3 Teri21

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am always amazed and honored to hear and see the positive impact this organization has in tribal communities all across the Nation...(a LOT of non- natives come to hear the wonderful presentation also!)

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Billy Mills is agreat inspirational leader for Children all over the United States.

2 Lynette C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Running Strong has been a wonderful and giving influence on the children on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

2 Crystal54

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm very thankful to have ran for his charity. I will continue to support and donate.

2 Daniel82

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Billy Mills is an inspiration throughout Indian Country and beyond. He and Running Strong provide excellent services and serve as a model for youth involvement.

4 Patricia112

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hello! I have been involved with Running Strong since 1984! This is a fantastic charity with incredible dedicated people working on behalf of Native America! Onward Running Strong!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Running Strong for American Indian Youth is an excellent program to promote healthy and active lifestyle for our youth in urban and tribal communities. The program helps youth with developing self confidence and self-esteem to reach their goals and live up to their full potential. Go Running Strong!

3 Lori116

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Billy Mills continues to serve our Native communities in a positive way. Long after becoming a champion, he continues to a hero. This organization shows his dedication to our youth. Thank you will never be enough to pay back a man who always believes in the good of Natives.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family was one of many in our community who benefited from Running Strong. Plenty of times the food donation they provided for us was all we had to eat.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

It took quite awhile and several visits to a reservation until I found a nonprofit that I really trust. I've met people who work with Running Strong for American Indian Youth on the reservation and am glad I found a nonprofit that has native people doing the work themselves instead of just outsiders who want to 'save the Indians'. It's great how Billy Mills honors his own legacy by passing on hope, optimism, and encouragement to his own people. A true hero, not only because he ran fast. Whenever I can I'll be happy to share what I can. But this is nothing much compared to Billy's and his wife's presence among his people. A true role model in a time when we really need it.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Billy Mills is one of the greatest contemporary heros of the Lakota Oyate. This nonprofit has been essential in providing opportunities for the young people of the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations in South Dakota, as well as other areas across the country. I applaud the organization for all the good work they have done!

1 Joseph28

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Running Strong for American Indian Youth provides support for youth where it is needed most. Billy Mills has built on his Olympic Gold Medal to show youth around the Country and world that they have unlimited opportunities in life and has provided tremendous material support to help them succeed.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Over the years, I've felt that Running Strong for American Indian Youth and Billy and Pat Mills have done a great deal for the Indian youth. I feel it is a worthwhile recipient of my donations.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is one of the best we have to offer youth as an inspirational boost. A great deal of this influence is due to the support given by Billy Mills' winner of the first gold medal given to a Native American Indian in 1964.
Some years ago I received a video and wore it out showing it to youth of all ages.
In the video Billy recalled what gave him the impetus to compete and win.
THIS VIDEO SHOULD BE WIDELY SEEN BY OUR YOUTH OF ALL BACKGROUNDS IN THIS YEAR OF OLYNPIC COMPETITION.
In my opinion, the WORLD would greatly benefit from this as well. Send me a CD of this video and I will take it to our local tv stations to show as an example of what former Olympic champions are presently accomplishing with Olympic spirit! God bless and keep you all! Joyce Mena

1 Leona C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We at Teton Coalition support the Billy Foundation they have helped each year for our Christmas party for about 250 clients through out Rapid City, South Dakota. Many of the children just love the party seeing the elders and visiting with the elders. About 10 volunteers put this party on along with dancers, Santa visits, last year we made turkey, salads, gravy, potatoes, ham, bread, desserts for the meal. Many of the people said this party was their Christmas dinner because they can't afford to buy this stuff. The laughter, the get together, and mostly the children enjoyed this party. If Running Strong didn't help us help these families we couldn't help the families in Rapid City. We was also able to buy small gifts for each child, small candy box for the Elders. I express your kindness during the holidays. Please consider the children they are our future.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This program is the only one that I donate to through the Combined Federal Campaign because of Billy Mills, himself. In 1964 I watched the Olympics and was one of millions who saw Billy Mills win a Gold Medal in the 10,000 meter track event and yet hardly anybody knew who he was. Even the announcers were scrambling to figure out who he was and where he came from. I have never fogotten that nor did I ever forget Mr. Mills. Donating to AIYR is my way to honor Mr. Mills achievements not only as an Olympic champion but for all that he has done over the years. He truly has a giving spirit and attitude. AIYR programs insure that American Indian youth are not ignored nor forgotten. AIYR programs build self-confidence and once a person has that they can take on the world - just like Billy Mills did. I also appreciate the AIYR reminder postcard featuring the CFC number. CathieDavids@yahoo.com, Flint, Michigan

3 jmurray264

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have donated to Running Strong many times over the years. I have taken the tour- visited the Pine Ridge Reservation many times and gotten to know many of the people involved in Running Strong- the good they do can not be measured- they teach as well as help- the HARD work the do year after year is unbelievable
and all is done from the heart- Thank You Running Strong!!

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have seen 1st hand the impact Running Strong has on the reservation (Pine Ridge). The very hard work those involved with Running Strong do. I took the tour many years ago and have continued to be involved with the reservation and people on a personal level. The work re: Running Strong does must be gotten out to as many as possible. It definitely deserves to get on the 2012 Non-profit list.