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Oneidas Contributions Reach Total of $45 Million in 2007

Since the Oneida Indian Nation’s fledgling enterprises began to turn a profit in 1990, the Nation has shared its success by intentionally giving back to the community. And as business flourished, so did the Nation’s charitable contributions and community infrastructure investment gifts. By the end of fiscal 2007, the Oneidas’ offerings had reached almost $45 million over those 17 years.

The Oneidas’ philosophy of giving back has benefited a host of local charities, towns, and regional initiatives throughout Central New York as well as programs and services in Indian Country and nationwide. Rooted in a long tradition of sharing resources with others, the Oneidas give back to benefit those here today as well as generations yet to come.

Nearly $26 million has been donated to charitable causes. Another $19 million has been invested by the Oneidas in neighboring communities in payments for new infrastructure, municipal and education grants, and other community monetary gifts.

Today, Nation giving is derived from a variety of operational sources and is a common thread throughout all governmental and business efforts. Established in 2000, the Oneida Nation Foundation is the main conduit for charitable giving. In FY 2007, many tens of thousands of dollars in new donations benefited a variety of local and national charities that are dedicated to children, youth and families; American Indians; people with developmental disabilities; veterans groups; education; animal welfare; substance abuse; health and human services; and culture.

In addition, the Nation contributed $1 million toward its $10 million pledge to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

At the local level, the SavOn convenience stores raised thousands during the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual shamrock sale. The Nation-run stores, which have been participating in the campaign for five years, raised more than $13,000 this past year to help children with neuromuscular diseases attend the MDA’s summer camp, where they learn and practice skills that help them year round. Since 2003, SavOn stores have raised more than $48,000 – enough to send nearly 75 children to MDA summer camp.

The arrival of the PGA TOUR® at the Nation’s Atunyote Golf Club in September was the catalyst for new region-wide charitable initiatives by the Oneidas, and raised $241,000 for more than 100 local charities.
The first new initiative, the Upstate New York Empowerment Fund, was spearheaded by the Nation and an influential group of community leaders. It provided area nonprofits with the opportunity to generate funds for their important missions through ticket sales, “birdie” pledges, and donations. A total of 113 charities based in Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Cortland, and Herkimer counties participated in the unique opportunity to earn back 100 percent of their sales efforts.

In November, when Nation Representative and CEO Ray Halbritter distributed earnings to participants, he called the event “a resounding success,” adding, “What a difference positive thinking and positive actions can make in a region, and what can be achieved when we all pull together for the greater good.”

The PGA TOUR® event also served as a fund-raising vehicle for the American Indian Empowerment Fund, an Oneida initiative to assist Indian Country. The Fund’s mission is to provide American Indians with the knowledge, skills and resources needed to improve their quality of life. More than $200,000 was raised and distributed to programs that specifically empower children and families. The event also provided a $50,000 contribution to the World Golf Foundation, which unites the golf industry with those who love the game through the World Golf Hall of Fame, the First Tee program for youth, and GOLF 20/20, a global initiative to address the future of the game.

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