San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Donates $13.5 Million to Tribal, Local and National Non-Profits in Education, Cultural Preservation, Community and Healthcare | smbmi
Hero News Inner Hero Mask

Tribal News

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Donates $13.5 Million to Tribal, Local and National Non-Profits in Education, Cultural Preservation, Community and Healthcare

title arrow
September 28, 2023

HIGHLAND, CALIF. (September 14, 2023) - The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians recently completed its 2023 grant cycle, donating a total of $13.5 million to Native, local and national non-profits.

A total of 161 grants were awarded, with the majority given to eligible nonprofit groups within the Inland Empire region and Indian Country. Of note, $1.2 million was granted to the Dodgers Foundation to build three new baseball Dodgers Dreamfields in San Bernardino, including at Blair Park, to revitalize recreation and inspire the next generation of athletes in an underserved community. The National Indian Child Welfare Association was granted $450,000 to advocate for the preservation of native families, and $450,000 was given to the Boys and Girls Club of America to fund 14 clubs that will support Native American populations with after-school programs. Additionally, funding was granted to housing organizations, such as U.S. Vets and Mercy House, that serve vulnerable populations.

The Tribe continues to invest in organizations and projects that commit to their mission, and addresses social and economic challenges to improve communities. San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena says philanthropy is critical to their Call of Yawa’: to act on one’s beliefs.

“Often times, we find hardworking people dedicated to improving lives and communities, yet may have limited resources to complete their calling. Without these altruistic individuals, many of the tools used to support mental health, family housing, cultural preservation, and even to pursue higher education, would not exist,” Valbuena says. “As a Tribe, we understand the importance in providing a hand up so that non-profits and community leaders can make the impacts that change the world around us.”

Over the last 20 years, San Manuel has granted over $350 million to non-profits residing in Serrano ancestral territory and around the country. Grants range from $5,000 to $3 million. 
The Tribe’s commitment to the Call of Yawa’ form their four philanthropy pillars: Inspiring our future through education, empowering lives, reinforcing healthy and resilient communities, and preserving cultural traditions and empowering Indian Country. All grant projects must align with those four pillars to be considered for funding.

To learn more, visit

About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians  
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally-recognized Indian tribe located on the San Manuel Indian Reservation near Highland, California.  San Manuel exercises its inherent sovereign right of self-governance and provides essential services for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services, and promoting social, economic and cultural development.  As the Indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys, mountains and high deserts, the Serrano people of San Manuel have called this area home since time immemorial and are committed to remaining a productive partner in the San Bernardino region. For more information, visit