Pendleton Woolen Mills Launches New Philanthropic Initiatives in Support of Native American Language Preservation and Community Healthcare Professionals

Philanthropic partnerships to benefit First Nations Development Institute’s Native Language Immersion Initiative and the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence at OHSU

PORTLAND, Ore., May 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — For more than a century, Pendleton Woolen Mills has had a deep connection with the Native American community. Pendleton Woolen Mills is expanding on this connection with a new philanthropic initiative to support key community needs. Pendleton has committed to provide yearly grants to nonprofits that support Native American language preservation and help strengthen Native Americans in their journey to serve the community as healthcare professionals. These philanthropic partnerships will be supported by a portion of sales from products that incorporate the Chief Joseph pattern, with a commitment of at least $100,000 annually. The initial organizations that will be recipients of the donations are First Nations Development Institute’s Native Language Immersion Initiative and the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence at Oregon Health & Science University. 

“Pendleton has had a relationship with the Native American community since our company’s founding over 100 years ago. We are committed to connecting with the Native American community and supporting them to strengthen education, preservation and wellness,” said John Bishop, Pendleton Woolen Mills president and chief executive officer. “First Nations Development Institute’s Native Language Immersion Initiative and the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence at OHSU are both doing wonderful work in the community, and we are pleased to support their efforts.”

First Nations Development Institute’s Native Language Immersion Initiative supports programs for Native language retention and revitalization efforts that provide multiple cultural, social and economic benefits that can be life changing to Native American communities. 

Michael E. Roberts, President and CEO of First Nations Development Institute, said the partnership will raise valuable support and awareness surrounding Native language retention. “Pendleton Woolen Mills has stepped forward where the private philanthropic community has repeatedly failed to invest – in the important work of Native language preservation and revitalization. Keeping Native languages alive is imperative to the passing down of Native ways. The commitment by Pendleton is an investment in the future, health, and strength of Native communities.”

The OHSU Northwest Native American Center of Excellence (NNACoE) works to sustainably address the healthcare needs of all people by increasing the number of American Indian and Alaska Natives in the health professions workforce through recruitment, training and retention efforts. 

Dr. Erik Brodt, NNACoE Director and Assistant Dean of Native American Health at OHSU, is hopeful for the positive impact of the initiative on health workforce needs. “We are optimistic about the budding partnership with Pendleton to support training the future health leaders of tomorrow at OHSU NNACoE. This has the potential to be a profound step forward in the right direction to make certain that rural and Tribal communities across the country have access to high quality, safe, affordable, and culturally-congruent health care in their communities. We thank Pendleton for their vision and partnership.”

These are two of the many philanthropic partnerships with the Native American community that Pendleton contributes to, others include:

  • The American Indian College Fund: Supporting education
  • Center of Southwest Studies: Preserving Native American arts and funding Native American art education
  • Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA): Culturally informed Health care for Native women
  • DigDeep: Supporting the Navajo Water Project
  • National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC): Dedicated to restoring sovereignty and safeguarding Native women and children
  • Missing and Murdered Dine Relatives (MMDR): Protecting generations and raising awareness

Pendleton Woolen Mills is a heritage lifestyle brand and the leader in wool blankets, apparel and accessories. Weaving in Oregon since 1863 and located in Portland, Oregon, Pendleton weaves iconic designs in two of America’s remaining woolen mills located in Pendleton, Oregon and Washougal, Washington. With six generations of family ownership, Pendleton is focused on their “Warranted to Be a Pendleton” legacy, creating quality lifestyle products with timeless classic styling. Inspiring individuals from the Pacific Northwest and beyond for over 150 years, Pendleton products are available at Pendleton stores across the US, select retailers worldwide, and on

Language is a vital asset for Native people and communities. It defines who we are, where we come from, and the value systems that in many ways cannot be translated into English. To stem the loss of Indigenous languages and cultures, the Native Language Immersion Initiative supports new generations of Native American language speakers, and helps Native communities establish infrastructure and models for Native language immersion programs. The initiative was launched in 2017 by First Nations Development Institute, which for 42 years has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. For more information, visit

The Northwest Native American Center of Excellence (NNACoE) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) works to sustainably address the health care needs of all people by increasing the number of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) in the health professions workforce. We accomplish this through a continuum of health professions initiatives from high school through early faculty level. NNACoE is Native-led, and grounded in Indigenous values that strengthen our programmatic approaches to recruit, train, and retain future AI/AN healthcare leaders. NNACoE was established in 2017. Since then, the number of AI/AN medical students at OHSU has tripled, and AI/AN people now make up nearly 10% of the two most recent matriculating classes at OHSU School of Medicine. Building on this success, NNACoE is currently collaborating with a variety of partners to establish nursing and dentistry health professions pathways as well as medical pathway programs in present-day Washington and California. We envision Indigenous leadership and education that extends wider into the community, transforming medicine to better serve all people. For more of our story, visit 

April Rodgers, Pendleton Woolen Mills
503-754-3597, [email protected]

SOURCE Pendleton Woolen Mills

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