International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security

Cultural Survival, Inc.

Cambridge, MA

Mission

Cultural Survival advocates for Indigenous Peoples rights and supports Indigenous communities' self-determination, cultures and political resilience.
For more information go to www.cs.org

Ruling Year

1972

Executive Director

Suzanne Benally

Main Address

PO Box 381569

Cambridge, MA 02238 USA

Keywords

cultural survival, Indigenous Peoples, empowerment, publications, advocacy, culture, environment, human rights

EIN

23-7182593

 Number

4317234522

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

International Human Rights (Q70)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (Q01)

Cultural, Ethnic Awareness (A23)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2016, 2016 and 2015.
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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Cultural Survival empowers and supports Indigenous Peoples to advocate for their rights — human rights, the right to participate and have a voice, the right to practice their cultures and speak their languages, the right to access the same opportunities as others, and the right to control and sustainably manage their assets and resources — so that they may determine for themselves the future they will lead.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Bazaars Program

Community Media Program

Advocacy Program

Communications

Indigenous Rights Radio Program

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of Facebook followers

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified,

Indigenous people

Related program

Communications

Total number of grants awarded

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Indigenous people

Related program

Community Media Program

Context notes

Grants awarded for the Community Media Grants Project and the Keepers of the Earth Fund in 2017.

Total dollar amount of grants awarded

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Indigenous people

Related program

Community Media Program

Context notes

Grants awarded for the Community Media Grants Project and the Keepers of the Earth Fund in 2017.

Number of individuals attending community events or trainings

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Females,

Indigenous people

Related program

Community Media Program

Context notes

Indigenous women were trained in radio production and journalism in 2017.

Number of unique website visitors

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified,

Indigenous people

Related program

Communications

Number of radio programs produced

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Indigenous people

Related program

Indigenous Rights Radio Program

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Cultural Survival's current goals are to:

1) Increase our opportunities to act as an intermediary to fund grassroots projects around the Indigenous world;

2) Grow and scale our Community Media Radio Grants Project to provide resources to Indigenous communities as they further their communication efforts to support advocacy and grassroots movements while ensuring robust and dynamic Indigenously controlled media;

3) Develop and deploy our competitive request for proposal (RFP) process that will enable Cultural Survival to engage a wide spectrum of Indigenous community media institutions into the future;

4) Execute an environmental convening to bring together Indigenous knowledge holders working towards environmental conservation through the promotion of Indigenous culture that develops environmental literacy, through the dialogues between traditional ecological knowledge and western science in Indigenous communities;

5) Support and expand our network of over 1,600 Indigenous-run community radio stations and ensure they have the legal and community resources to ensure their success;

6) Expand our Indigenous Rights Radio program to include more topical content and coverage of important issues in Indigenous communities and make new partnerships with Indigenous media institutions in new regions so that as many community members as possible will be more informed;

7) Document, publish and widely disseminate at least two internationally-significant reports that link community-level information and perspective to national and international policies and decisions;

8) Continue to press for reform of Guatemala's repressive telecommunications law and ensuring Indigenous Peoples' right to freedom of expression;

9) Host multiple Bazaar events in the United States that will provide a marketing conduit between dozens of Indigenous artists and United States consumers, promoting global understanding of diverse cultures and providing income to at least 400 artists' families and their communities;

10) Continue seeking initial funding for our Indigenous Fellows Program that will train six young Indigenous community leaders (at least 50% women) in international advocacy systems and techniques, with the goal of using those skills to benefit their communities; and

11) Continue to advocate for funding opportunities for Indigenous communities to engage in international policy reform and participate at important international forums.

Community Media Program

The Community Media Program advocates for Indigenous communities' right to establish and run their own broadcast media and partners with local radio stations to build their capacity through training, grants, improved infrastructure, and networks. The program also promotes policy changes that favor Indigenous community media and provides legal defense for radio stations when necessary. The Community Media Program is growing rapidly as our work expanded from Guatemala to all of Central America with the formation of the Central American Network of Indigenous Community Radios, and expanded from Central America to the international level through our Community Media Grants Project.


Indigenous Rights Radio

The Indigenous Rights Radio program continues to produce a diverse range of radio programs promoting the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by informing Indigenous listeners of their specific rights and of strategies used by other Indigenous communities to implement those rights. We produce scripted series and programs based on community visits, and we have recently learned that our timely, current events-based programs are well received. This has led us to regularly produce programming on news related to Indigenous Peoples' issues and on internationally recognized days, such as International Women's Day, International Indigenous Peoples' Day, International Radio Day, “Columbus" Day (in many parts of the US), and others.


Advocacy

Cultural Survival's Advocacy program is an umbrella program covering various aspects of our advocacy work. The goal of the program is to support grassroots Indigenous movements as they put pressure on governments and corporations to protect, respect, and fulfill the rights of their communities to their lands and resources.

A major piece of our advocacy work has been campaigns. At the request of communities, we have carried out comprehensive campaigns that catalyze action to urge decision makers to respect Indigenous Peoples' rights to their lands as they contest destructive mining projects, mega-dams, or land-grabs. Our campaigns employ activities to target one issue from several angles.


Bazaars

Cultural Survival Bazaars are annual celebrations of Indigenous arts, music, and cultures from around the world. Our Bazaars generate revenue for Indigenous artisans and their communities, with new procedures implemented this year leading to dramatic increases in sales.
Cultural Survival implemented the major recommendations that resulted from our consultation with ByHand Consulting, which included a jury process to select our vendors and charging a booth fee instead of a percentage of each vendor's sales. As expected, booth fees made the Bazaars more attractive to a significantly larger number of vendors.

Community Media Grants Project

The Community Media Program launched the Community Media Grants Project in August 2016, impacting different Indigenous Nations in different regions of the world. This initiative provides opportunities for local Indigenous radio stations around the world to strengthen their broadcast infrastructure and provides specific training opportunities in community journalism, broadcasting, audio editing, and technical skills. Cultural Survival supported 18 projects in 7 countries in our first year of small grants. The first round of grantees were selected from Central America, Kenya, Peru, and Nepal with strong support from staff members located in these countries.

Advocacy

In April 2017, the Advocacy program incorporated a new small grants project, the Keepers of the Earth Fund (KOEF), formerly of First Peoples Worldwide (FPW). As we work towards merging the KOEF work as it was designed under FPW with Cultural Survival's advocacy work, we believe the small grants project can be an effective way to strengthen campaign work by channeling funds directly to partners to carry out their work in defense of their lands. In our current Free, Prior, and Informed Consent grants cycle, two finalists are doing work related to existing advocacy campaigns: the Maya Leaders Alliance in Belize and the Federación Tawahka, on the Patuca River in Honduras.

Bazaars

In our experience, there has been a positive feedback loop between the number of vendors at a given event and sales, and as we improve our average sales per vendor, we will be able to recruit more vendors. Currently, many potential vendors find it difficult to commit to the investment of travel funds without a guarantee of a certain amount in return. Some other shows offer scholarships and we would be able to recruit many more vendors with a source of funding. This disproportionately impacts the vendors who would most benefit from access to the markets that Cultural Survival Bazaars provide.

One way we began addressing this was through a pilot run of the Cultural Survival Indigenous Artisan Institute, for which we secured a $6,000 first-time grant. During the week between the two July Bazaars we held workshops on booth display, sales, and marketing; visits with local fair trade import businesses; and cultural exchange opportunities with local Native groups. We provided lodging, local transportation, and a food stipend to four artists and one interpreter, allowing one artist to participate in the Plymouth Bazaar who would not have otherwise and increased the benefits to participating for all four of them. We hope to expand on this program, both continuing to make artists' trips to the Bazaars more valuable by filling their off-time with professional development trainings and cultural exchange opportunities and by making the Bazaars more accessible to vendors without financial support.

Cultural Survival remains committed to developing culturally relevant assessments that use and promote Indigenous methodologies. We combine this approach with quantitative and conventional assessment methodologies to monitor our programs.

Since our programmatic impact goes deeper than numbers, we also assess our programs by gathering feedback from the Indigenous groups we serve, documenting their comments and stories on our website and in Cultural Survival Quarterly. We track the outcomes of individual advocacy cases in which Indigenous communities advocated for their rights and how Cultural Survival was able to help through media coverage, response reports and judicial rulings, and international and in-country responses to our research reports and ongoing litigation.

This year our Indigenous Rights Radio program has undertaken several forms of evaluation projects to assess the impact of our work:

1) Cape Town, South Africa: In early 2017, we produced a documentary program on the challenges facing small-scale, Indigenous fisherfolk in Cape Town, South Africa, incorporating information on rights enshrined in international agreements, interviews with experts, and suggestions for strategies to fight for rights. In March 2017, staff member Shaldon Ferris carried out two forms of evaluation of this targeted, regionally-relevant program. The program was aired three times over the course of three days on a community station popular with local fisherfolk. Shaldon conducted pre- and post-listening surveys with 26 community members; and he held a focus group with 13 additional community members for discussion-based assessment.

2) Surveying radios in database: During phone calls and emails with radio stations, program staff have asked radio stations to share their estimated audience size with us to better gauge our global reach. So far, we know that our programs have reached an audience of at least 11.5 million listeners within 11 countries, and estimate many more as we hear back from stations around the world.

3) UNPFII 2017: Cultural Survival's radio production team conducts dozens of interviews each year with attendees of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. This year, our radio producers spent their first 2 days asking Indigenous leaders, experts, and other attendees what their top priorities were for the forum this year and what coverage they would value. The responses to these questions helped to shape the radio content we produced this year.

Evaluation of the lasting impact of our radio programs remains challenging to measure. Nevertheless, having a staff person or a consultant on the ground improves our ability to assess the value and challenges of our radio production in small, select regions or communities. With newly introduced staff members in Nepal, South Africa, and Nicaragua, in addition to our multiple staff members in Guatemala, we are taking steps to build our base of data and inform our future programming.

At Cultural Survival, every day we work towards a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance.

In 2017, Cultural Survival was able to:

•Fund 18 media projects in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Nepal, and Kenya totaling over $166,000 through our Community Media Grants Project, providing opportunities for Indigenous radio stations to strengthen their broadcast infrastructure, and provide training in journalism, broadcasting, audio editing, technical skills to community radio journalists around the world.

•Fund 13 grants totaling $63,113 as part of the The Keepers of the Earth Fund's Self-Governance/ Free, Prior and Informed Consent Initiative.

•Submit 17 reports focusing on Indigenous Peoples' rights violations to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and Treaty Bodies including Argentina, Peru, Gabon, Pakistan, Ukraine, Japan, Guatemala, Mali, Botswana, Bangladesh, Russia, and Cameroon.

•Promote women's leadership by training 167 Indigenous women in radio production and radio journalism.

•Release over 155 Indigenous Rights Radio programs on repatriation of sacred objects and human remains; Indigenous science and traditional knowledge in the fight against climate change; decolonizing justice systems; Indigenous women's rights, and more.

•Host artists from 27 countries at the Cultural Survival Bazaars and raise over $393,000 for Indigenous communities.

Plans for 2018 include :

•Providing more grants to more Indigenous communities around the world.

•Continuing the production of Indigenous Rights Radio programs on the UN bodies dedicated to Indigenous rights in English, Spanish, and many Indigenous languages.

•Growing our Advocacy Program to include a focus on supporting traditional knowledge and meaningful Indigenous participation in addressing climate change.

• Strengthening the participation of youth and Indigenous women in community radio stations globally.

External Reviews

Photos

Financials

Cultural Survival, Inc.

Fiscal year: Sep 01 - Aug 31

Need more info on this nonprofit?

Need more info on this nonprofit?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to view a Sample Report.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

No

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

No

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

No