WHO WE ARE - The Notah Begay III Foundation


About Us

The Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation is a champion of Native children’s health.  We view all children as sacred blessings who hold great potential for all communities. We are dedicated to the active choices we can make so our children live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives.

With an attitude of professionalism, and a platform of evidence-based information, NB3 Foundation is a professional change-maker that supports community partners to actively manage issues surrounding Native children’s health.

NB3 Foundation is an award-winning, national Native American nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing Native American childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. We do this through the development of evidence-based health and physical activity programs, strategic grantmaking, research and advocacy. NB3 Foundation is a respected organization that invests in evidence-based, community-driven, culturally relevant programs that promote healthy weight, physical activity and healthy nutrition. Our approach is about optimism and optimization of cultural strengths and assets.

NB3 Foundation serves 100% Native American populations and tribal nations, each with its own culture, language, history and traditions. NB3 Foundation is designed to provide tribes and Native American communities with the tools, information and inspiration needed to create sustainable change in their own communities that benefit their children’s health.

The two signature programs of NB3 Foundation are 1.) Native Strong: Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures and 2.) NB3FIT

Why Healthy Weight Is Critical?

While obesity has become a crisis in mainstream America, it has become a devastating epidemic among Native American children. According to the Indian Health Service, 81% of Native adults are obese and 45% of 2-5 year olds are obese. In many Native communities, childhood obesity rates exceed 50% (60% in some communities). As a result, Native American children are prime candidates for shortened, unfulfilled lives spent fighting health problems and illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes. While childhood obesity is reportedly beginning to decline in upwards to 18 states, the rates are actually increasing for Native American children.

In fact, obesity is the leading contributing factor to type 2 diabetes, and it is estimated that one out of two Native American children will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Type 2 diabetes may reduce a child’s life expectancy by 27 years. The death rate of Native Americans with diabetes is 3 times higher than the general U.S. population.

Researchers agree that based on current trends, this may be the first generation of Native American children to not outlive their parents. Native American children are destined to live short, unhealthy lives unless present circumstances change.

The costs of obesity are substantial. Obesity accounted for $147 billion in health care costs in 2008, and that number is rising.  Medicare and Medicaid incurred 42 percent of these costs. Costs for American Indians with diabetes consume a significant proportion of IHS budget, currently at $4.4 billion. IHS treatment costs for the 10.9 percent of American Indian adults with diabetes accounted for 37 percent of all adult treatment costs. Persons with diabetes accounted for nearly half of all hospital days (excluding days for obstetrical care). Hospital inpatient service costs for those with diabetes accounted for 32.2 percent of all costs.

Changing the health future for Native American children requires investing in long-term preventative strategies that are driving today’s high rates of diabetes and obesity. If we don’t act now, it is predicted that fifty percent of Native children will develop diabetes in their lifetime. The stakes couldn’t be higher.


The NB3 Foundation was founded by Notah Begay III (Navajo/San Felipe/Isleta Pueblo), a 4-time PGA TOUR winner and the only full-blooded Native American to play on the PGA Tour. He is currently a TV Golf Analyst for NBC Sports and the Golf Channel.

The Beginning
Starting with a golf program headed by Notah’s father, Notah Begay Jr., Native American youth from the greater Albuquerque area were introduced to golf, a sport often out of reach for both rural and urban Native American youth. This program served as an introduction to the positive impact sports can make on a young person’s life: discipline, goal-setting, etiquette, pride and health.

As the Notah Begay III Foundation’s scope and reach expanded, additional programs were created to further address prevention of type 2 diabetes. In 2009 NB3 Foundation launched a comprehensive health prevention program to fight the epidemics of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes among Native American children. Additionally, the foundation initiated an innovative soccer program at the San Felipe Pueblo, which included the first-of-its-kind professional sports field at a Pueblo.

To date, the NB3 Foundation has invested more then $3.2 million in 61 Native communities (25- tribal nations and 36- Native American controlled nonprofits)  to implement data driven, community-led strategies in addressing childhood obesity.  NB3 Foundation has also invested $8 million in direct service programming and support, including: nutrition education programming, food access pilot projects, community garden and traditional foods projects, evidence-based sport programming, physical activity/sports camps and clinics, technical assistance to tribal communities and nonprofits, and research and evaluation work with the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health.  To date, NB3 Foundation has worked with tribes and Native communities in over 30 states.