Suzanne Benally, Executive Director

Suzanne, a member of the Navajo Nation, was hired as the foundation’s Executive Director in 2020. She previously worked in higher education and the nonprofit sector for 40 years. Her extensive professional experience spans positions devoted to education, social justice, diversity, equity, and Indigenous rights. Formerly, Suzanne served as the Executive Director of Cultural Survival, an international Indigenous rights advocacy organization that advocates for Indigenous Peoples’ rights, self-determination, land, language, culture, and political resilience; and prior to that as the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at Naropa University where she was also a core faculty member and chair of the Environmental Studies Department.

Suzanne served as co-chair of the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples and is a Trustee of the Naropa University Board of Trustees. Drawing on her professional experience and cultural background, she advocates for transformative practices in her work and in philanthropy that address issues of racism, equity, justice, and Indigenous rights. Most importantly, she engages in work that draws hope now and for new generations to come.