FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 21, 2021
Native American Agriculture Fund
Toni Stanger-McLaughlin Named New CEO of Native American Agriculture Fund
Fayetteville, AR: Toni Stanger-McLaughlin J.D. (Colville), has taken the helm at the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF), the Nation’s largest philanthropic organization dedicated to serving Native American farmers, ranchers and food change makers. NAAF was established in 2018 as a result of the Keepseagle v. Vilsack class action settlement and is focused on providing grant resources and key support to Native agriculture. NAAF works through eligible entity recipients to tackle actions at the community, regional and national level. NAAF’s first year of grant making began in late 2019. Mrs. Stanger-McLaughlin’s prior work in agriculture law and policy, including providing key insights to the team that ultimately settled the Keepseagle claims, made Mrs. Stanger-McLaughlin uniquely qualified to serve as the new CEO.
Mrs. Stanger-McLaughlin has lived experiences in agriculture within her own rural Tribal community and years of experience working directly with the nation’s Native farmers and ranchers. The founding CEO, Janie Simms Hipp J.D., L.L.M, awaits Senate confirmation on her nomination to become the first Native American woman to serve as General Counsel for the United States Department of Agriculture.
“While we will forever be grateful for the tremendous effort our first and former CEO Janie Simms Hipp provided us in establishing NAAF, we look forward to the work she will accomplish in her next endeavor. With Janie’s departure we couldn’t think of anyone else with the breadth and depth of knowledge Toni possesses regarding the Keepsealge v. Vilsack case and the needs of Native farmers and ranchers. Toni has been with us since day one and has done an excellent job standing up many of the key functions of NAAF. We look forward to working with her in our continued effort to serve the NAAF mission,” said Jim Laducer, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, NAAF Board of Trustees.
On what Mrs. Stanger-McLaughlin’s experience can bring to the future of NAAF, Board of Trustee member and Choctaw citizen, Porter Holder said her “…experience with the Keepseagle v. Vilsack class action lawsuit exceeded all others, and her passion and vision to keep claimants at the forefront is the top priority.” Prior to joining NAAF, Mrs. Stanger-McLaughlin was able to work within the USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations and within the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative as a lawyer specializing in the intersection of agriculture law and policy and the needs of Native agriculture. Her work is deeply grounded in the business of agriculture and the traditions and cultural underpinnings of Native agriculture.
“I’ve grown up seeing firsthand the disparities that many Keepseagle claimants faced throughout their agricultural pursuits. After graduating from law school, I intentionally pursued working for the USDA because I wanted to make a difference from the inside,” said Stanger-McLaughlin. “I also believe this work is my calling, to support Indian Country Agriculture and traditional food ways. I look forward to working across the federal government, private sector, nonprofit organizations, Native CDFIs, educational institutions and Tribal and State governments to improve and advance Tribal agricultural and food system improvements for our future generations.”
The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) is a private, charitable trust serving Native farmers and ranchers through strategic grantmaking in the areas of business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy services. The charitable trust was created by the settlement of the landmark Keepseagle v. Vilsack class-action lawsuit. NAAF is the largest philanthropic organization devoted solely to serving the Native American farming and ranching community. For more information visit https://nativeamericanagriculturefund.org/