Edgar Villanueva

Villanueva will help advocate for more than 110,000 youth on Native lands

Boys & Girls Clubs of America Names Edgar Villanueva Native Services Ambassador

Press Release

ATLANTA, NOV. 5, 2019 – Boys & Girls Clubs of America has announced Edgar Villanueva, globally-recognized philanthropy expert and best-selling author of Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom To Heal Divides and Restore Balances, as a Native Services Ambassador. With this role, Villanueva will serve as a spokesperson for the more than 110,000 Native youth at 200 Boys & Girls Clubs on Native lands.

As the nation’s largest service provider to Native youth and part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s commitment to Indian Country and the advancement of Native youth, the Native Services Unit provides customized services to Native organizations and sites. Native Services is committed to strengthening Native Youth’s cultural identity through programing that explicitly promotes positive youth growth and development along critical cultural, social, emotional, intellectual, and physical dimensions through viable and sustainable organizations.

“Native youth need places where they can feel safe and supported outside of school,” said Edgar Villanueva. “Boys & Girls Clubs of America has a long history of providing high-quality programming and support and is a vital part of the communities they serve. This is especially true for the 110,000 Native youth who attend one of the 200 Boys & Girls Clubs on Native lands, and I am honored to join other Native activists who speak for our community. With culturally appropriate programs that address the history of colonization that permeates all institutions in the U.S., we can heal the inherited and ongoing trauma that Native youth experience as a result of the racism and poverty they face.”

Boys & Girls Clubs of America recognizes it is critical to have ambassadors with expertise and knowledge like Villanueva’s, advocating for Native youth and the unique challenges they face, including personal/historical trauma, hopelessness, and substance abuse and misuse. Villanueva will help elevate these issues to key stakeholders and build brand awareness for Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Native Services Unit. Moreover, Villanueva will develop and foster new relationships while strengthening existing partnerships.

“It’s a very exciting time to be Native. There are so many more resources available for Native youth today than when I was growing up,” said Carla Knapp, Vice President, Native Services Unit, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “We are so honored to have Edgar join our Native Services Ambassador program and help us bring high-quality programs to more Native youth. We are looking forward to learning from his wealth of knowledge and expertise.”

Villanueva has been working in philanthropy for many years, consulting with numerous nonprofit organizations and national and global philanthropies on advancing racial equity inside their institutions and through their investment strategies. His best-selling book, Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom To Heal Divides and Restore Balances, offers hopeful and compelling alternatives to the dynamics of colonization in the philanthropic and social finance sector. Villanueva currently serves as chair of the board of directors of Native Americans in Philanthropy and a board member of the Andrus Family Fund, a national foundation that works to improve outcomes for vulnerable youth. He is also Vice President of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education where he oversees grant investment and capacity building support for education justice campaigns across the United States.

Villanueva joins a prominent list of Native influencers, executives and philanthropists including: Sam McCracken, general manager, Nike N7; Curt Mohl, vice president, Dougherty & Company, LLC; Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, executive director, Social Venture Circle; George Rivera, former governor, Pueblo of Pojoaque; Andra Rush, award-winning founder, chair and CEO, Rush Group; Martin Sensmeier, Native American Actor; Ernie Stevens, Jr., Native American activist and chairman, National Indian Gaming Association; and Maj. Gen. Alfred A. Valenzuela, U.S. Army.

To view Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Native Services Ambassadors, click here.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,600 Clubs serve over 4.7 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at on Facebook and Twitter.  


Media Contacts

Ashley Keyes
Boys & Girls Clubs of America





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