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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

Rebranding the Nation's Leading Scholarship Provider to Native Students

Finalist in Education


Native Forward Scholars Fund is committed to ensuring that every Native student who wants to pursue higher education has the resources to do so. For over five decades, we have delivered more funding and support services to Native students than any other scholarship provider. On our 50th anniversary, we made the decision to rename and rebrand ourselves. Formerly known as the American Indian Graduate Center, we would become Native Forward Scholars Fund. Our nonprofit organization, which awards $15 million in scholarships annually and has awarded more than $350 million to over 20,000 students, needed a video that announced our new name and showcased our vibrant new brand. 

Strategy and Execution

"Forward" is key to our new name and brand. We wanted the video to demonstrate momentum, to capture the dynamic energy that is propelling us forward as an organization, to multiply our impact. We recruited a professional dancer from the Native community to perform a lively traditional tribal dance. We decided she would kick off the video with her powerful, beautiful performance. By situating her on a college campus, we were able to convey the confluence of two worlds: Native tradition and contemporary education.    

Building on the "forward" theme, we also wanted to communicate how our scholarships and support services help our students move forward in their academic and professional pursuits. In the video, we decided to feature alumni who, thanks in part to our scholarships and wraparound services, have gone on to interesting and impactful careers that have enriched their communities.

With a limited budget, our film crew was not able to visit dozens of alumni across the country. So we invited alumni to send in iPhone videos and we incorporated excerpts from those videos into a mosaic showcasing some of the diverse and dynamic careers that our alumni pursue. 

While we are looking forward, we also wanted to honor the pioneers who paved the way for today's and tomorrow's Native students. The first speaker featured in the video is one of our eldest living alumni, Dr. Henrietta Mann, a trailblazing Native American studies professor and advocate who was recently presented with a National Humanities Medal by President Biden.  

Our video proudly announces our new name and brand, while honoring how far we've come as an organization and as a people. 



The video has been viewed 224,376 times on YouTube since we posted it in February. This far exceeds the number of views that we received for all of our previous videos combined, clearly indicating that we have reached a much wider audience than ever before with this creative product. The video has played a critical role in enabling a smooth transition from our old name and brand to our new one. 

Thanks in part to the video's broad reach and the successful rebrand, we are becoming a national thought leader and go-to source and on Native American issues for the nation's top media outlets. After the U.S. Supreme Court issued its rulings on affirmative action and student debt, USA Today featured commentary from our CEO, Angelique Albert, in its reporting on how these decisions will impact Native students. Angelique was recently honored as one of the NonProfit Times' Power and Influence Top 50, alongside such luminaries as MacKenzie Scott and the heads of the Ford Foundation, GLAAD, United Way Worldwide, and the Gates Foundation. These are just a few examples of the surge in media coverage and recognitions that we've seen following our rebrand. 


Video for Rebranding the Nation's Leading Scholarship Provider to Native Students

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Native Forward Scholars Fund


Entry Credits