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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

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have followed Running Strong For American Indian Youth for some time now, and have donated to this much worthy cause. Running Strong helps empower todays American Indian youths, teaching honor, respect, self sufficiency and a great many other things to those who need it most. Running Strong gives so much to those who need it most, often and especially in times of dire need. They bring the plight of the native American youth to light, and through diligent work, dedication, determination and donations seek to improve the lives of impoverished native American youth.

Running Strong teaches pride in one's culture, traditions, and history. It teaches one to stand strong, and true in their beliefs, their religion, and their spirituality. Running Strong For American Indian Youth strives to improve the lives, health and education to todays American Indian youth. This is a place of friendship, of helping hands, of love, respect and pride. Running Strong For American Indian Youth is a top notch not for profit organization that works hard, and deserves to be acknowledged for their hard work, dedication and insitefullness. Personally, I wished more people knew of Running Strong. They are really great.

Thank you,
Cliff Cummings

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have a friend who has supported the Running Strong program for some time, but has only recently shared it with me. He is highly supportive of it, and has great things to say about it. He has made me a believer in offering support as well. I am sending a contribution today. As someone with Native American blood (1/16 Cherokee), I am sensitive to the needs and the plight of the American Indian. Though I am happy to say that I have not had to feel the discrimination often associated with the Native American culture, I am not ignorant of it. I applaud those who are willing to make the effort to make a difference. My hope is that the gifts given make a marked difference, in a personal way, to those who receive the benefits of them. I look forward to a long-lasting friendship with this organization.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This non profit organization is one of the most helpful and healing organizations for our people. without the help from people like Billy Mills and other great leaders our people would not have inspired to accomplish their goals. Now I see a change and it takes people like these who run these types of organizations to inspire our people to better themselves and to remind them that there heritage is sacred and that they can accomplish goals and be successful in the 21stcentury and beyond.

2 La D.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Running Strong for American Youth is probably the best Non-Profit organization that exists, and which actually helps our people in the most needed ways. They work for, and serve the people well. More non-profit organizations could learn how to truly help the people from them. They have my support and will always have it.

2 Christine95

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I LOVE Toys for Tribes! Getting names and imagining what the kids would like is my way of getting in touch with the spirit of the season at year's end. Toys for Tribes is a great way to combat any feelings of the holidays being over-commercialized. I think to myself- I am lucky to have many choices for shopping, and price competition, for good prices. One year a little girl wanted a play purse, so I got her that, but then I filled it with make-believe cards I made - driver license, ATM cards, library card, voter registration card, note pad and fancy pen, chocolate coins, key chain with some old keys, lip balm, a change purse with a little "mad money." I hope she liked playing with it. I loved putting it together for her. I think that with Toys for Tribes, Billy Mills and his staff brings many levels of warmth to all of us at the coldest time of the year.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of Running Strong for a few years now, and I think that not only is founder Billy Mills an American hero with an inspiring life story, but what he and the Running Strong organization are doing is even more heroic! What better way to help a forgotten portion of our population than to lend aid to the native Indian children in this country! I have also shopped at their "store" for some wonderful handmade gifts for Christmases and birthdays. The organization has always been open and forthcoming with keeping supporters up-to-date on what's happening with their funds. This is one charity that I have absolutely no hesitation in supporting!

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Billy Mills is a true American hero whose amazing story now includes saving the lives of Native American children! His charitable efforts in organizing Running Strong are truly inspiring. The United States owes a huge debt to the Native Americans. What better way to pay that debt than to be able to help provide basic needs and the chance for education and a good life to the children of our Native American tribes, of whom I'm proud to share some blood (Cherokee).

2

Donor

Rating: 5

We have supported Running Strong for American Youth for nearly 25 years. It is an organization that works WITH the people it serves. It doesn't TELL people what they need, it ASKS them and then Running Strong and the people work together to do what is necessary to meet the need. On one of their Reservation Tours we had the opportunity to visit many of the ongoing projects and the people involved. We came away with an even stronger desire to support their efforts. Their projects are successful and run efficiently. We have never seen an organization do so much with so little. Those who benefit from these projects are most appreciative and do what they can to pass on the good to others. We are so grateful to be able to help support such an excellent organization. We often give extra donations as Christmas gifts.


1 Frank25

Board Member

Rating: 5

Running Strong is an organization with a great reputation among Native American organizations for stepping in to deliver when people are in need. The Organization respects the autonomy of and works closely with many Native American groups. The Organization has a long history of getting the most bang for donor dollars. I am beyond proud to be associated with the Organization.

ottiew.reno

Donor

Rating: 5

I was taught as a child to always help others who were in need if I could. I have not missed donating what I can since 1996. Running Strong is the best program of it's kind that I know of. What could be more important than helping these forgotten children of America's First Citizens. This is truly a beautiful and very well ran program. I would urge anyone who can help to check out Running Strong !
Ottie W. Reno

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been helping Running strong as I can since a couple of years after the program began. I believe strongly that allowing any American citizen especially our very first citizens to live in these conditions is a crime and a sin. Running strong lets you see proof of where your donations are going. I hope to tour the Reservation sometime. I believe that this is one of the finest and most needed as well as most deserved programs of it's kind in America. Billy Mills deserves the highest awards America can give a man for all he has done for our country and for the American Indian People. May God bless this program. Billy and our First Citizens. Look them up at www.indianyouth.org

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a strong supporter of Running Strong for Indian Youth. It is an organization that strives to promote grass roots advancement for those that have not a spokesperson in their lives or who can feel pride in their heritage. I have been a part of this organization as a donor an participant in the Marine Corps Marathon 10K team. It is one of my favorite charities and one that I feel good supporting. I have met Billy Mills and think they have a great spokeman in Billy.

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

Running Strong for American Indian Youth is an outstanding organization. I have been associated with this organization for more than a few years. I had an opportubity the past two years in participating with the Run Strong running team both at the Marine Corps Marathon and the Philadelphia Marathon, raising funds for Indian Youth. The inspirational leader and very active figure Billy Mills is a wonderful conpassionate man. The various programs supported by Running Strong for American Youth, to me, are essential and well received at the locations that are served.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Running Strong for American Indian Youth is a wonderful organization. Not only do they provide food, water wells, clothing and shelter to our American Indians, they also provide hope. The organization will send you monthly newsletters telling you everything that is going on and how they are using the donations. They provide Thanksgiving dinners. They have coat drives and make sure every child has a Christmas present. The American Indians are truly blessed to have Billy Mills and this organization helping them.

1 Neil3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

1. I am Canadian First Nation
2. I volunteer to help First Nation participate in running
3. I am certified coach as well as in long distance running.
Therefore, I can identify with the need for programs for American Indian Youth Running Strong.
I was involved with a similar program and it was rewarding to participate...
I live within the rural community close to urban setting on my First Nation and see our youth lacking recreational programming. These type of programs are inexpensive compared to most sports but still funding is essential for the success of any npo.
Therefore, I support the endeavours of the American Indian Youth Running Strong program...

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Running Strong for close to 25years. I first became aware of this group because of a letter from Billy Mills and I knew that if he was a part of this organization that it would have
credibility. In 1992 I went on my first Running Strong Tour because I wanted to see what the
Organization really did. I met a small group of very hard working staff who were eager to show what
their mission was about. They work with people, asking what is needed; finding leaders among
the tribes, listening to their ideas and needs. Running Strong supports not dictates solutions.
Programs are evaluated and changed if necessary. The first goal was to help provide water, and then
food. They have been able to broaden their programs and reach people inall areas of the country.
So many good things can be said about all of the people involved with this group. Some that stand
out are dedication, determination to do a good job, wise use of resources and respect for all
people . The annual tour is a way to see for yourself just a small portion of what this group is about.

Judy R

Susan173

Donor

Rating: 5

Running Strong seems like it really lives up to its title! It seems to have a really super organized group of people who are there for it and are helping it succeed as a charity to help the impoverished Native Peoples that live on the PIne Ridge Reservation and elsewhere! May its success continue!

Janene G.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of Running Strong for a number of years, but now I live close to the Pine Ridge Rez so I can see the results first hand. The poverty on the Rez is astouding and as the elders say, unless we help the children the cycle will only continue. Running Strong helps to break the cycle and give hope for the future. The gardens and wells are great ideas as the people prefer to help themselves, allowing them to keep their dignity.

Donor

Rating: 5

Running with Team Running Strong was a great experience. Billy Mills and all of the support personnel believe in what they're doing and it really seemed to be a lean, fiscally-responsible charity. Billy wanted to personally meet all the runners and happily shared hours of his time with touching & sometimes humorous stories about his life's challenges, his triumphant turn as an American Olympian in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and his charity work benefitting American Indian communities & youth. What he did not do was waste a lot of money on food, entertainment, a fancy office, etc. TRS brings good things to American Indian communities in immediate, concrete ways and has probably helped at least a generation of youth become happy and fulfilled adults. I felt good about where the money I donated was going.

Donor

Rating: 5

Running Strong is the BEST!!! They do so very much to help and enlighten the Indians of this great country! And ssssoooooo organized. WOW! It's truley unbelievable the many things Running Strong can do for the Youth and for whole families living in and around the rez. The Tour is absolutely fantastic! The Running Strong Staff and the Guides that accompany everyone are spot on with the care they give you, the stories and history they share and always with an open and honest attitude.

Susi C.

Donor

Rating: 4

Great organization bringing much needed empowerment skills to young people. They keep donors really well informed.

Donor

Rating: 5

Running Strong is an amazing organization dedicated to helping our most vulnerable and impoverished children. Without the basic sustenance of life, they have no hope to soar in the future. I commend Billy Mills and all his staff and volunteers for the wonderful work they do. A small donation yields large rewards.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been blessed to be able to go on a Running Strong Tour and was able to see all the wonderful ministries they do. Everyone I have met that is connected to this nonprofit has been a caring and compasionate person and the different projects truly do help people. It is not a about a hand out, but a hand up.

1 Roshie T.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been passionately involved with Running Strong for American Indian Youth since my brother became a TRS member in 2004. I have seen first hand what this organization gives to native communities in need of essential life saving tools. This organization gives back day in and day out to poverish communities by way of drilling water wells for families, building dialysis clinics for areas of communities who are stricken by high diabete rates and poverty, providing food, clothing and school supplies for those in need of it. In addition to all listed, they make time to do a Thanksgiving turkey meal drive and Christmas gift drive to keep the spirit of giving alive. Personally, In the last 3 years that I have raised funds for TRS through the Marine Corps Marathon, the sacrifice I give mind, body and spirit to run 26.2 miles still does not feel like enough effort in helping my fellow natives bridge the gap out of poverty.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have the greatest respect for Running Strong. Wish I was in a position to do more for them.

Elysia

Donor

Rating: 5

I've raised funds and run for Billy Mills' team in the Marine Corps Marathon every year since 2009. Why? Because every single penny goes to help the youth and communities that TRS stands for. This nonprofit is all about helping American Indian Youth, no fringe, no fuss, no putting your money into helping people train or fly out to the races, etc. Plus, Billy Mills really cares about TRS, so much so that he comes every year to support the team and encourage our fundraising, in person! Truly an amazing man and an amazing charity.

Previous Stories
4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is an amazing charity that works hard to provide much needed funds for American Indian Youth. The money they raise goes directly to aiding in the immediate survival needs of young people in this country. If you want something to work, if you want good results, start with the children. This organization does.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Running Strong for American Indian Youth helps of our nation's most impoverished people, with a special focus on the young members of the community. I know the need is great, especially in South Dakota, where Running Strong is on the ground providing direct help.The organization also supports other American Indian relief charities. I have had the opportunity to speak with some of the people who lead Running Strong. They're compassionate, conscientious, passionate and hardworking. Running Strong is a solid, well-run and deserving charity.

1 Rebecca44

Donor

Rating: 5

For the past few years this is the only organization I donate to through my employer. They do an amazing job of helping people meet just their basic needs. By raising the self esteem of entire populations and helping them to live healthier lives it is a benefit to all. I believe strongly in the work being done by Running Strong and continue to give as much as I can to help them achieve their goals.

2 Alis I.

Donor

Rating: 5

I will continue to support Running Strong because I see the results of their work that touches not only my life personally, but the many families and youth it serves to nourish. Running Strong as an organization and the people who guide this organization are role models for me. I am grateful to Running Strong.

3 Joann8

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been giving to this non-profit for the past couple of years or so through the Commonwealth of Virginia's CVC program. Easy to give via payroll deduction to a worthy organization with low overhead. I like knowing that the bulk of my donation ends up in the hands, mouths, or homes of those that benefit the most. Having some knowledge and understanding of the difficulties of those living on reservations, I want my donation to help raise someone up. With the sometimes desperate situations that I have seen, I wish everyone would consider donating. A little can grow into a lot combined - so I hope those that read this will consider donating and helping these kids and families have a fighting chance.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Running Strong For American Indian Youth is a great and effective charity that helps Native Americans. They help with food packages that prevent people from going hungry or starving; they help with water well and gardening projects that provide running water and food for people; they have many other projects including winter clothing and help with fuel bills and most of all they care and that caring provides hope and a future for generations to come. I donate as often as I can to this worthy cause.

Lisa133

Donor

Rating: 5

Running Strong is truly committed to helping the Native Americans improve their lives all the way around. Without the assistance of an organization like this, many people would have to suffer more, live a more wasted life, and have a bleak future. It is sad to think that Americans have shaped the current existence that is seen on reservations right now; but by helping out Running Strong we can make changes to what the future for these people will be. I have read about these changes over the years that I have supported them; and it has improved their lives.

3 losorioles

Donor

Rating: 5

This charity has an annual tour where donors can visit and see for themselves how their donations are being used on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservations. You can't help but be impressed!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am proud to support Running Strong because of the great work they do helping American Indian youth to be healthy both physically and mentally. Such a great charity!

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

From the top of the organization to the bottom, everyone involved in Running Strong is singularly focused on the mission of helping those in need. I'm proud to volunteer what time I do have and to help where and when I can; but even more importantly, I am frequently in awe, and quite humbled, each time I see the actions of this great organization quietly going about doing the right things to do, when no one else is.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Running Strong for American Indian Youth is an incredible non-profit, chartiable organization. Running Strong provides assistance to some of the poorest people in the U.S with providing fresh water wells, food, supplies and shelter. They also provide youth and elder programs for Native Americans. I have been raising funds and promoting Running Strong for 4 years by parfticipating on their running team in the Marine Corps Marathon. It is a great feeling to assist an outsanding organiztion hepling others who are not as fortunate.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

This is such an amazing charity. Through it many, many Native Americans are helped. Education, services, training....all for the youth. Thankfully their true mentor Bily Mills is there to show them the possibilities that can be their futures.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Alway cordial comunications and polite updates on their needs and activites. Much needed for our native youths. Please add to your charity giving too?