Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Logo

What Happened?

On May 31, 2019 the Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs approved an emergency disaster declaration due to immediate health threats resulting from a 14” water main line break in the Shitike Creek. Because of public utilities capital maintenance deferment over the last few decades, today, over a year into rolling water outages and a boil water notice across Oregon’s largest reservation, there is still no relief in sight. “This is a worst-case scenario,” said Warm Springs Chief Operating Officer Alyssa Macy.  Read more here: “Water Crisis Returns To Warm Springs As Virus Cases Rise“, Oregon Public Broadcasting, June 30, 2020

Donate Now!

To donate by check, please send a check made out to “MRG Foundation” with “Water for Warm Springs” in the Notes line, to: PO Box 12489, Portland, OR 97212.

More About the Water Crisis:

“…as soon as crews replaced one critical stretch of pipe…a different water line broke and a pressure valve blew, prolonging the outages and warnings to boil water. 

The latest round of failures will have to be fixed before water can flow to the central Warm Springs area, where tribal government, a clinic and many businesses are based, according to KWSO, a radio station owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Meanwhile, largely unused port-a-potties have lined the streets all month, braced for things to get worse.” – After Long-Awaited Repairs, Even More Water Problems Arise In Warm Springs“, Oregon Public Broadcasting, June 20, 2019

Now What:

In partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, MRG Foundation is proud to present The Chúush Fund, which accepts contributions from foundations and individuals to directly benefit the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs as they work to restore their access and infrastructure for clean water.

Investment Partners:

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Some Frequently Asked Questions about The Chúush Fund:

How was the The Chúush Fund established? The Chúush Fund was established in August of 2019 in response to the need for clean water at the Warm Springs Reservation at that time. It was approved by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council by resolution and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Tribe and MRG Foundation.  MRG Foundation transfers the total amount in the fund to the Tribe each month.

What is the best way to donate money to Warm Springs? The best way to give is directly through the MRG portal or directly through MRG Foundation, as donations made through Facebook Fundraisers can  take up to two months to reach us—and the Tribe needs financial support now. 

The link to use for direct donations is https://www.mrgfoundation.org/donate-the-chuush-fund-water-for-warm-springs/. To donate by check, please send a check made out to “MRG Foundation” with “Water for Warm Springs” in the Notes line, to: PO Box 12489, Portland, OR 97212.

What’s in the The Chúush Fund Memorandum of Understanding between the Tribe and MRG Foundation? The two most important aspects of the MOU that established the Chúush Fund are:

  1. The Chúush Fund may be used by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to respond to and alleviate the crisis for the provision of clean water at the Warm Springs Reservation, including paying for infrastructure improvements as well as paying for interim measures. These funds may not be used for any purposes not allowed by law under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  2. MRG Foundation does not receive any fees for administering the fund. Furthermore, MRG is covering up to $5,000 in credit card and/or PayPal fees for donations made to the Chúush Fund. 

MRG says they’ll cover the fees up to $5,000. What does that mean? When donors make a donation to the Chúush Fund, they can pay the administrative 3% fee themselves, or can pass the fee to the Fund. For example:

  Donor pays the fee Donor doesn’t pay the fee
Donation $50.00 $50.00
Fee $1.50 (-1.50)
Net donation $51.50 $48.50

If the donor chooses not to pay the fee, MRG will cover it so that Warm Springs receives the full $50. With our commitment to pay up to $5,000 in fees, MRG can cover the fees of $166,000 in donations. 

Are there other ways to give if I want to avoid fees? Yes, if you want to avoid fees you can donate by check – make your check to MRG Foundation and write “The Chúush Fund” in the memo and mail it to: MRG Foundation, P.O. Box 12489 Portland, OR  97212

If you are interested in donating stock gifts please contact Dena Zaldúa, our Development Director at dena@mrgf.org or 503-289-1517.

Who started the Facebook campaign for Water for Warm Springs? A Warm Springs tribal member started the Facebook campaign. Those dollars are collected via Facebook, processed through Network for Good, held for a period of time (usually around two months), and then delivered to the Chúush Fund held at MRG. At that point, MRG will send those funds over to the Tribe. We are not sure what fees (if any) Network for Good will take, but MRG has committed to take $0 fees for hosting the fund.

How much is needed to fix the infrastructure? The overall current estimates to fully repair are $200 million. While this is a large amount and likely more than the Chúush Fund will raise, every dollar counts so the Tribe so they can take action now. 

Tell me more about Indigenizing Philanthropy! What does that even mean? Indigenizing Philanthropy is the process of doing our work in the philanthropic sector in ways that respect and uphold Tribal sovereignty and centers Tribal people in solutions to the social and systemic challenges faced by Tribes and Tribal communities. If you missed our blog about the work we are leading across the NW here it is.

How is The Chúush Fund related to Indigenizing Philanthropy? We’re not gonna lie—it helps to have Indigenous women leaders with strong organizing experience as a part of your organizational and board leadership. So, rather than treat the Tribe—a sovereign nation—as if it were any other grantee, we decided to approach Tribal leadership about setting up the Chúush Fund. At MRG we don’t aim to be around in perpetuity, we aim to be around as long as there is still a fight to achieve justice for our communities. To do that, we know we must partner with those who have been here since time immemorial. 

And as long as systemic racism, settler colonization, and oppression continue to harm the health and safety of Tribal citizens at Warm Springs, none of us will enjoy the freedom we deserve. As Emma Lazarus said, “None of us is free until we are all free.”

How much money has been raised since The Chúush Fund was established? Since it was established in August 2019 The Chúush Fund has raised over $301,000 for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (as of August 31, 2020).  This number includes some donations made to any Facebook Fundraisers. 

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