A family foundation, rooted in catholic social values, Better Way Foundation invests in systemic, holistic and evidence-based approaches that support the positive development of all children. Our vision is that our partners are finding a better way to build a future where child well-being contributes to strong families and communities.
Better Way Foundation and the Rauenhorst family have a long history of partnering with Indian Country. Family members volunteered on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the ‘80s and were inspired by the Lakota people and culture. The first large programmatic grant was made in 2003, and the foundation has continued to support language and culture revitalization programs in schools throughout Indian Country.
In 2016, Better Way’s Board of Directors asked the staff to undertake a major review of our programs. Better Way contracted with Crystal Echo Hawk of Echo Hawk Consulting to conduct a landscape analysis of Early Childhood Development in Native Communities.
The analysis concluded that Better Way should focus future efforts on 1. Building trust with grantees. 2. Developing indigenous evaluation. 3. Working to support Native led, controlled and based institutions. 4. prioritizing models that are holistic and based in Native culture. 5. Invest in emerging models and capacity building for grantees. 6. Developing our own internal systems to document and learn from our partners. 7. Making long-term commitments and engage grantees as partners.