Staff

Rebecca Adamson - Founder and President
Rebecca Adamson, a Cherokee economist, is Founder and President of First Peoples Worldwide. A leader, activist, and ground-breaking Indigenous woman, Rebecca has a distinct perspective on how Indigenous Peoples’ value and economic systems can transform today’s business models. She utilizes the wisdom and paradigms of Indigenous economics, advocacy, and engagement of corporate social responsibility as tools to catalyze change.

Rebecca has worked directly with grassroots tribal communities, and nationally as an advocate of local tribal issues, since 1970. She started First Nations Development Institute in 1980 and First Peoples Worldwide in 1997. Rebecca's work established a new field of culturally appropriate, values-driven development to establish the first reservation-based microenterprise loan fund in the United States, the first tribal investment model, a national movement for reservation land reform, and legislation that established new standards of accountability regarding federal trust responsibility for Native Americans.

Rebecca is active in many non-profit organizations and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for The Bay and Paul Foundations, the Calvert Social Investment Fund (the largest socially responsible mutual fund), the Calvert Group Governance Committee, and Co-chairs the Calvert Social Investment Fund Audit Committee. She served as an advisor to the United Nations on Rural Development and as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations' International Labor Organization for International Indigenous Rights.

Rebecca co-authored The Color of Wealth, published in 2006.She holds a Masters in Science in Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University (formerly New Hampshire College) in Manchester, New Hampshire, where she has also taught a graduate course on Indigenous Economics within the Community Economic Development Program.

Over past two decades, Rebecca has received numerous awards for her work with Indigenous Peoples, including the 2004 Schwab Outstanding Social Entrepreneur and a Doctor in Humane Letters degree from Dartmouth College. She is honored in the National Women’s History Project, and was chosen as one of America’s most influential women as part of the PBS program MAKERS: Women Who Make America. Makers will premiere in early 2013. Rebecca will speak at the Bioneers Conference in the fall of 2012, and deliver a TEDx Manhattan lecture in February 2013.

Above all else, Rebecca loves spending time hanging out with her dogs, Jack and Cajun, and playing with her grandsons.

Jacqueline Tiller - Administrative Manager
Jackie Tiller is Tlingit Indian and Filipino. She was born and raised in Southeast Alaska where she began her professional life working as an assistant for her tribal economic development office. She joined First Peoples Worldwide in 2007 as the office coordinator, helping to bring structure and systems to the organization, with emphasis on the then-nascent Keepers of the Earth Fund. She accepted the Grants and Internship Coordinator position in 2010, and moved into the Administrative Manager position in March 2014. Before joining First Peoples, Jackie worked for over a decade in progressively responsible positions in the grantmaking department of US-based First Nations Development Institute, meeting the financial, training, technical and information needs of Native American tribes and nonprofit groups. As the Associate Director of Training and Technical Assistance, she was actively engaged in grant decision-making, and providing training, technical assistance, and referrals to Native community projects across the US. She is a past board member of Native Americans in Philanthropy and the Community Food Security Coalition, and has participated on several Federal grant review panels advocating for Indigenous community projects. Her educational background is in business management and administration.

Nick Pelosi - Corporate Engagement Associate
Nick began working for First Peoples Worldwide in August of 2012.  He graduated from Hunter College in 2011, where he studied political science and media.  Prior to joining the First Peoples team, he helped manage a renewable energy initiative on an organic farm, interned with an organization that provides consulting services to student food cooperatives, and did volunteer advocacy work for the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia.  He enjoys reading, travel and gardening.

Britnae Purdy - Communications Manager
Britnae is a recent graduate of the University of Mary Washington, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Women's and Gender Studies, with a concentration in Asian Studies. Britnae is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Global Affairs with a specialization in Global Health at George Mason University. Britnae's passions include women's rights and empowerment, writing, photography, travel and exploring different cultures, and she has been thrilled to explore these topics and more through her internships and subsequent employment at First Peoples Worldwide.

Mark Betancourt - Media Consultant
Mark is a freelance writer and filmmaker with a diverse background in print media, television, radio and documentary film. He began working with First Peoples Worldwide in the summer of 2011, writing grantee highlight material, web copy and other press materials. In the spring of 2012 he produced “Now We Are Hungry,” FPW’s short video on climate change and Indigenous communities. Mark continues to serve FPW’s mission to be a powerful and motivating voice of the global Indigenous movement. He lives in Washington, D.C. with the love of his life, with whom he plays in a baroque pop band called The Waltz Brigade.

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