Who We Are
NB3 Foundation is an award-winning, national Native American nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing Native American childhood obesity and type-2 diabetes. NB3 Foundation invests in evidence-based, community-driven and culturally rooted programs that promote healthy weight, active living and healthy nutrition, ensuring healthy futures for Native American children and their families.
Since its launch in 2005, NB3 Foundation has earned a national reputation and track record in the areas of grant making, research, evaluation, direct programming and advocacy. NB3 Foundation invests in and works closely with grass-roots, Native-led organizations and tribes across the country that are exploring promising practices, expanding proven methods, conducting community-based research, and evaluating impact.
NB3 Foundation is funded by foundations, tribes, businesses and individuals. We achieve change through our network of partners and individuals across Indian Country dedicated to improving Native child health.
Why This Work?
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.
The social determinants of health* in Native American communities – set in food deserts, suffering a dearth of physical activity opportunities, and often experiencing crushing poverty – means that most Native communities are particularly in need of infrastructure, technical and financial support to bolster their community’s culturally appropriate solutions and prevention programs.
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 social determinants of health (SDH) are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies and political systems.
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.
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.
Our dedicated team draws on decades of experience supporting Native youth health and nutrition.
Clint Begay, Diné/San Felipe & Isleta Pueblos
Program Director, NB3FIT
“I enjoy seeing all the smiling faces of the kids we serve because I know that the time we spend with them is making a difference in their lives. I do this work because sports has given my family and I so much that I just want to try give those same opportunities to other kids.”Clint Begay
Corey Douma, Laguna Pueblo
NB3FIT Junior Golf Coordinator
For me its simple, giving back to native youth is my passion and what drives me to be successful in life. Native youth are the seeds of our mother we are blessed with, deserving of a long and healthy life. Whether through sports or education, the ultimate goal is for the youth to succeed and grow into our leaders of tomorrow.Corey Douma
Simone Duran, San Felipe Pueblo
“I am passionate about the work we do for Native youth because I see potential in each one to create healthier lifestyles and engage others in their community as youth leaders.”Simone Duran
Renee Goldtooth, Diné
Associate Director, Native Strong: Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures
“Communities are often stretching their commitments to obtain holistic wellness for their youth so I envision my work to contribute to that collective goal.”Renee Goldtooth
Michelle Gutierrez, Latina
Program Officer, Native Strong: Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures
“I do this work because I believe ALL families and communities-not just some- have the right to be healthy and well.”Michelle Gutierrez
Patrick Herrera, Cochiti Pueblo
NB3FIT Junior Golf Coach
I enjoy being able to teach golf to kids who are willing to learn.Patrick Herrera
Justin Huenemann, Diné /German
President and CEO
“If we do not fundamentally address and prevent childhood obesity, we are directly contributing to a lower quality and shorter life for our children. I refuse to be a part of this legacy!”Justin Huenemann
Dakotah Jim, Diné
Research Program Officer, Native Strong: Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures
“Being a part of the NB3F team has allowed me to share my wisdom and gifts to many people who advocate for Native American Health & Wellness and this always makes my heart beat with joy.”Dakotah Jim
Cyanne Lujan, Pueblo of Sandia
“The opportunity to impact a child and a community positively is what motivates my work at NB3F. Working with a team that is passionate about improving the lives of our Native children inspires and motivates me to learn how to make a bigger impact as well as setting a positive example and providing for my own children.”Cyanne Lujan
Autumn Quiver, San Felipe Pueblo/Lakota/Diné
“I do this work to be the helping hand that will guide Native Americans into becoming a more stronger, healthier, powerful individual through nutrition education and physical activity.”Autumn Quiver
Olivia Roanhorse, Diné
Program Director of Native Strong
“We have the incredible opportunity to support Native-led research and highlight promising practices to not only inform the lack of information in the public health field, but to show how effective and successful Native-led strategies are at improving the health of children in their communities.”Olivia Roanhorse
Monica Stapleton, Hispanic
Chief Financial Officer
“What drives me to do this work is the impact we have every day in the communities we serve. I love seeing the kids beautiful smiles and the hope of the future in their eyes because of what is being taught to them about their health, nutrition and staying physically active.”Monica Stapelton
Lyle Tso, Diné
NB3FIT Junior Golf Coach
“The fact that I have a positive impact and get to be a role model for the youth we serve.”Lyle Tso
Board of Directors
Our dedicated team draws on decades of experience supporting Native youth health and wellness.
Notah Begay III, Diné /San Felipe & Isleta Pueblos
Alvina Begay, Diné
Jodi Archambault Gillette, Hunkpapa and Oglala Lakota
John Greendeer, Ho-Chunk Nation
Audrey Martinez, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
Sean McCabe, Diné
James Meggesto, Onondaga Nation
Katie Morgan-Brossy, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
Cathy Newby, Diné