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 - Grants and Internship Coordinator
Jacqueline 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. Before joining First Peoples, Jackie worked in progressively responsible positions in the grantmaking department of the US-based First Nations Development Institute to meet the needs of Native American tribes and nonprofit groups. As the Associate Director of Training and Technical Assistance, she provided 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 - Grants and Communications Intern
Britnae joined FPW in June 2012 working closely with both the grants and communications departments. Britnae is a rising senior at the University of Mary Washington, where she is pursuing a double-major in International Affairs and Women’s and Gender Studies, with a concentration in Asian Studies. She hopes to continue on to graduate school and eventually a career in peace-building, community development, and women’s empowerment.

Prarthana Gurung - Intern
Prarthana is a recent graduate from the University of Mary Washington, and with her degree in International Affairs and Spanish, she set out to the big city. Now in Queens, New York, Prarthana is working as an executive assistant at a non-profit, Adhikaar, working with the newly settled Nepali-speaking immigrant community. As an intern at First Peoples Worldwide her last semester in school, she was able to further her interests in working with marginalized peoples' rights, a common stream she has discovered in her professional life thus far.

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.

E-mail Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Twitter

Apply for a Grant

To request funding for your Indigenous-led community project, apply for a Keepers of the Earth grant now.

Start Application

Fund a Project

Donate funds to get one of our grantee projects off the ground.

Fund a Project

From Our Blog

  • P2BI Kicks Off at UMW Multicultural Fair!

          On Saturday, April 12th, First Peoples was thrilled to officially kick off the 2014 Proud to Be Indigenous campaign at the University of Mary Washington‘s Multicultural Fair. We had a ton of telling people about our work, interviewing possible interns, planting bean seeds with our younger visitors, and most of all, getting people involved [...]

    Read More
  • Call for Responses: Indigenous Peoples Major Group Draft Position Paper

    Call for responses by June 30th, 2014: Indigenous Peoples Major Group Draft Position Paper and Matrix for the UN Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals Exigen respuestas por 30 de junio de 2014: Proyecto de Documento de posición y Matriz de Los Pueblos Indígenas para las Metas de Desarrollo Sostenible post-2015 de la ONU For more information [...]

    Read More
  • Join Us At the 2014 Color of Wealth Conference!

    Everyone talks about income inequality, but lost in the discussion is the much bigger #racialwealthgap. On the evening of April 30th, join us to celebrate distinguished guests who have dedicated their careers to helping minorities build wealth. Don’t miss out! Register to attend the 2014 Color of Wealth Summit at the Capitol Visitor Center on [...]

    Read More
Visit Our Blog