IPCB Comments Regarding the Genographic Project's Request for Proposals for the Legacy Fund
February 16, 2006
We are aware that the National Geographic Society has announced the availability of grants to support Indigenous communities (see below) through the Genographic Project's Legacy Fund. We want to make sure you are aware of the sources and purposes of the Legacy Fund, and its relationship to the Genographic Project. As you know, the Genographic Project is widely opposed by Indigenous peoples all around the world. Indigenous individuals and organizations may need to take this information into consideration before deciding whether they want to apply for funding support from the Legacy Fund.
The Genographic Project's Legacy Project funds come from the sale of their public participation DNA kits. The DNA kits were created by the Genographic Project as a means to get the general public to participate by buying a $100 DNA kit so they can take their own sample and send it into the Genographic Project for information on their genetic origins. These kits are part of the Genographic Project's public relations strategy to help raise the public profile of the project, and also generate funds for the Project.
According to an Our World Transcript dated April 16, 2005 (www.voanews.com/english/archive/2005-04/Copy-of-Our-World-Transcript-2005-04-16.cfm) with lead geneticist Spencer Wells, "the public can have their own DNA analyzed for about $100. Part of that money will help fund the collection of DNA from the indigenous peoples, and for cultural preservation."
Essentially, the Legacy Fund is part of a public relations ploy to increase funding support for the Genographic Project. The Genographic Project touts the Legacy Fund as its primary benefit to Indigenous peoples, since the Project itself does not have any direct benefit to Indigenous peoples and instead raises considerable risks (see further information at http://ipcb.org/issues/human_genetics/index.html). In addition, these funds will also help fund the further collection of blood or other biological samples and local knowledge from Indigenous peoples.
Indigenous organizations should consider whether accepting money from the Legacy Fund could reflect negatively on your organization, or conflict with your organizational or personal values. One organization decided to insist any funding support from the National Geographic Society come from the NGS's general funds, and not the Legacy Fund.
While we know funding support for Indigenous peoples is difficult to come by, we do hope this information will shed some light on the not so altruistic motivations behind this particular source.
With best regards,
7) Genographic Legacy Fund Offers Grants to Support Indigenous
Deadline: June 15, 2007
The Genographic Legacy Fund aims to empower indigenous and
traditional peoples on a local level while helping to raise
awareness on a global level of the challenges and pressures
facing these communities. Reflecting the values and missions
of the Genographic Project
( https://www3.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/ ) partners
-- the National Geographic Society, IBM ( http://www.ibm.com/ ),
and the Waitt Family Foundation ( http://www.waittfoundation.org/ )
-- support from the fund will be directed primarily toward
education initiatives, cultural conservation, and linguistic
preservation and revitalization efforts.
Genographic Legacy Fund grants are open to individuals, groups,
and organizations. Applicants must provide a record of current
or prior work in support of indigenous education programs and/or
cultural or linguistic conservation efforts. Applicants should
be seeking to expand their service to indigenous communities and
have a demonstrated commitment to improving general awareness of
indigenous cultures, histories, and heritages. The majority of
the people forming the group responsible for providing project
governance must be members of the indigenous community in which
the project will be implemented.
Projects are divided into two general categories: 1) Micro --
smaller, discrete projects that typically require lower amounts
of funding; funding for these projects will be capped at $25,000
each. 2) Macro -- larger, more complex projects undertaken in
conjunction with other entities such as NGOs, local education
institutions, government agencies, etc. Grant amounts are more
flexible but will not typically exceed $100,000 each.
Applications are accepted on a semi-annual basis. Submissions
for semi-annual review will close on June 15 and December 15 of
each year for the duration of the project.
More information on the fund and the grant application process
as well as an FAQ can be found on the Genographic Legacy Fund