Founded in 1980, First Nations Development Institute (FNDI) works to strengthen Native American economies to support healthy Native communities. With the support of individuals, foundations, and corporate and tribal donors, FNDI improves economic conditions for Native Americans through technical assistance and training, advocacy and policy, and direct financial grants in key areas, including the Native Language Immersion Initiative.
There are currently about 150 Indigenous languages spoken in the United States, many of which are spoken by only a small number of elders. Without intervention, many of these languages are expected to become extinct within the next 50 to 100 years, which would mean a significant loss of cultural heritage. Through the Native Language Immersion Initiative, FNDI seeks to stem the loss of Indigenous languages and cultures by supporting new generations of Indigenous language speakers and establishing infrastructure and models for Indigenous language immersion programs that may inspire other communities.