I-LEAD Celebration

History of I-LEAD

I- LEAD was a special initiative established under the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS) program. It began in 2016 with a cohort of five cooperative agreement recipients (Alaska Native Heritage Center, Choctaw Nation, Intersections, Inc.; Native Prevention, Research, Intervention, Development, Education (PRIDE); and Salish School of Spokane), each funded for five years. As the initiative grew and the call to strengthen youth intensified, 19 additional projects were awarded for three years, bringing the total to 24 I-LEAD recipients.

I-LEAD provided support for community-based projects that empowered Native youth to address priorities identified by such youth and include youth-focused leadership. Projects were funded to develop models, approaches, and strategies to foster resiliency and build upon Native youth's inherent capacities to thrive. 

The I-LEAD program ensured project funding was provided to support youth-driven and youth-focused services and activities related to social and economic development, to promote the self-sufficiency of tomorrow’s leaders in Native American communities. Youth were defined as young people 14-24 years old for purposes of the I-LEAD program.


I-LEAD Projects funded under I-LEAD had to align to at least one of the following four domains:

  • Native Youth Leading: 
    • Empowering Native youth, and fostering leadership tied to governance.
  • Native Youth Connecting: 
    • Building positive identity, community connection, and social-emotional health, tied to strengthening families and social development.
  • Native Youth Learning:
    • Supporting educational success tied to social development; that foster and promote Native youth engagement in school and learning and investments in their success. 
  • Native Youth Working: 
    • Supporting workforce readiness tied to economic development. Projects that provide opportunities for the Native youth to self-select and explore career and work options to develop positive work habits, support working effectively in groups, and encourage youth to engage in
Current as of: