Spirit of the Sun is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to work in partnership with Native American communities in urban areas and on reservations to boost the resilience of Native people, especially youth and young adults.
Our vision is that the Native youth of today become the next generation of Native leaders, entrepreneurs, and skilled professionals who will help guide their communities toward wellness, prosperity, and cultural revitalization.
Spirit of the Sun was founded in 2002 on the belief that effective and sustainable community development work recognizes the intersections of culture, community, economy, and health. In their previous work with Native communities, our founders saw that attempts at economic development were often unsuccessful, as they did not take into account the cultural needs of the community. After its founding, SOTS worked primarily on reservations, assisting various communities with economic development. In 2010, our strategic focus shifted to include programming in the Denver area, as we saw a need to empower the growing number of Native youth and young adults moving to urban areas.
Our programs are designed to boost the resilience of Native youth, and help them to become leaders in both the business world and their communities. Currently, our programs include financial literacy and entrepreneurship trainings, a youth-led leadership conference, and a partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to operate the Native American Community Development Program. Please check out our programs page for more information!
"The [Entrepreneurial Training] workshop was an inspiration. Being with people with the same goals was very enlightening. I've been at my job for 3 years, but I spent 5 years planning my business. The workshop just inspired me to continue to dream my dream." -Mia Richards, Business Administrator
"I thought the workshop was so helpful. Our Indian population is such a small percentage of the community. It helps, and gives hope, to be around like minded folks. I really enjoyed being there. CONTINUE THE PROGRAM!" -Anonymous, Entrepreneurial Training Participant
"The Urban Indian Entrepreneurial Training was very helpful. It started with the foundation of why you want to start a business. Which was great because you need a solid foundation for the challenges ahead of owning a business. And the training built from there. From the writing a business plan to find start up money to start your business. This allowed me to have insight into owning my own business. I personally want to thank you for all your time and effort Spirit of the Sun employees have put in to make this training a successful." -Leah Gill, Entrepreneurial Training Participant
"Attending this conference has helped me become more confident, and taught me to take a stand for my Native community." -Anonymous, Empowering Native Youth in Metro Denver Conference Participant
"Everyday I'm learning more and more . This program [AmeriCorps VISTA] has been extremely beneficial to me. My favorite [activity] would have to be gardening and going out with Adult Care." -Jonathan Reino, Tohono O'odham Nation
"It's been great working with you and Spirit of the Sun- the work you do in Indian Country is so important and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it!" -Julia Anderson, Denver Indian Center
"It's nice to see the elders get involved and want to participate in the wellness challenge. It makes me feel good to see them enjoying theirselves and gaining from this and the activities with it." -Stephanie Hammer, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians