Running Strong for American Indian Youth® is cultivating the next generation of Native leaders. We believe in the dreams of young Native Americans to create stronger communities and build a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.
Fifty-eight years ago, Billy Mills achieved his dream of winning an Olympic gold medal, and since then, he has used that victory to help him give back to the Native American community. To celebrate Billy’s dream and his leadership, Running Strong launched the Dreamstarter® Academy Grant program to help the next generation of American Indian youth make their dreams come true through a combination of financial support, hands-on mentorship, networking, and communications training.
How to be a Dreamstarter!
Our Dreamstarter applications are now closed. Please check back for future opportunities.
Since 2015, Running Strong has cultivated a network of 80 Native youth leaders who are part of the Dreamstarter Academy. Each year, Running Strong awards Dreamstarter grants to 10 Native youth and their non-profit Mentor organizations each year to implement a project inspired by a dream they have for their community.
In 2020, we selected five Dreamstarters to receive $50,000 to expand upon their original dreams for Indian Country.
In 2017, we launched Dreamstarter® Teacher, a companion program designed to support educators who work in majority-Native classrooms with unmet needs.
In 2021, we developed Dreamstarter® Creative to invest in Native artists who are upholding generations of culture and tradition through their artwork.
In 2022, we began working with Dreamstarters to develop new Running Strong programs inspired by their dreams through Dreamstarter® Incubator.
keeping up with the dreamstarters
Check here for the most recent updates on your favorite Dreamstarters as they report on their projects, submit photos of their progress, and keep the dream alive.