Honoring traditions, Native American Connections brings healing and opportunity to Phoenix families

In the early 1970s, three men began a grassroots self-help organization for Native American men struggling with addiction and homelessness in Phoenix, Arizona. Their unique approach tackled these issues in a way that offered compassionate care while strengthening the Native American community and honoring its rich cultural traditions. That program, now known as Native American Connections (NAC), has grown into an organization serving approximately 10,000 individuals and families from all backgrounds each year.

Today, NAC provides individuals and families comprehensive services, including affordable housing, behavioral health and recovery programs as well as community development services. NAC owns and manages more than 750 housing units in Phoenix, offering a holistic approach to community development. Residents in NAC housing have access to playgrounds, computer labs, and training and financial literacy programs, which offer new opportunities and helps strengthen families in the community.

“NAC helped me with the first step of getting rehabilitation services, with my Native American heritage. It felt good to get spiritually connected,” said one NAC client. “You can overcome any battle, as long as you believe in yourself.”

In 2007, NAC was named a Bank of America Neighborhood Builders® awardee. As a recipient, the organization received $200,000 in flexible grant funding, and leadership development and training for both its executive director and an emerging leader in the organization.

"Everything good in my life I owe to Native American Connections," said another NAC client. "They loved me when I couldn't love myself. They gave me the power to grow up. They put me back together."

Since 2004, Bank of America's Neighborhood Builders program has helped advance sustainable communities by investing more than $220 million in 49 communities—partnering with more than 1,000 nonprofits and more than 2,000 nonprofit leaders and counting.

Learn more about how the Neighborhood Builders program helps nonprofit partners advance economic mobility and supports skills development for nonprofit leaders, powering nonprofits like NAC to build thriving communities.

Originally published 11/21/2018