The “Helping Our Relatives” Project is a unique internal organization effort to engage all staff in direct giving and supporting those in need. A modest amount was given to each staff member to use as they see fit to support youth, elders and families. The manner and method staff choose, the people they choose and what they choose to purchase or support is completely up to them.


Here is one story from staff member Renee Goldtooth-Halwood and her use of funds:

“Helping Our Relatives” funding was shared via groceries to Whippoorwill community elders on Navajo Nation. The area is in a rural part of the Nation and homesteads are quite distant from paved road. Some families may have vehicles but are not reliable and other community members are fiercely protecting their families. The process to strategically plan how to share essentials was quite involved: standing in line at Bashas (local grocery store), getting my temperature checked by security, having to stand to the side until my temperature cooled, filling my cart, purchasing, loading, unloading, disinfecting each item, washing produce, repacking in clean sanitized bags, then driving rough roads to deliver.

Renee Goldtooth-Halwood delivers groceries and supplies to elders in the Whippoorwill, Ariz.

I traveled with my mother who was adamant to join me and said, “I’ll stay in the car.” She was a wonderful companion, sitting in the front seat, with her mask and gloves on. Between the car where she sat, me standing to the side and relative’s eastern facing doorways, we shared tears full of love for each other and also for the unknown future. We wanted to communicate with action that we are thinking of them through prayer, through song that takes us from sunrise, sunset, twilight, darkness then back again. Taking the pandemic one day at a time.

In addition to the groceries, the Helping Our Relatives funding fed the people by contributing to a lunch for the team’s at the Apache County and Navajo Community Health Representative (CHR) for assisting NB3 Foundation with unloading and storing 300 boxes of food, thousands of gallons of water, and then keeping them safe until the CHR’s can deliver. In addition to all these wonderful points of light, I was quite impressed with the collaborative efforts of the Navajo Area Indian Health Service Chinle Service Unit, NAIHS CSU (federal), Navajo CHR Program (tribal), Apache County (county) and Notah Begay III Foundation (native-led non-profit). This NAIHS CSU Division of Public Health team was so organized they created and printed recipes using ingredients in the NB3 Foundation boxes. In unloading boxes at Apache County, I learned more about how the CHR’s are delivering firewood and coal to community and how local young people making care packages for community. Many stories to tell but I’ll end with saying that we were honored to hear the Navajo sun song after unloading boxes, a reminder about the reciprocity that reverberates through all of our collective work whether it’s funding, food, water, masks, and time.

The generosity of donors helped us move with urgency to protect our people, thank you for that.



Media Contact
Sacha Smith
(505) 867-0775

SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M. (May 7, 2020) – Today, the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation announced a generous donation of $50,000 from Delta Dental of New Mexico to support the NB3 Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund: a direct action fund providing food, water and educational resources to tribes, pueblos and Native American communities of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation.

“We are grateful for the financial support from Delta Dental and for stepping up and helping Native American families and communities during this uncertain time,” said Justin Kii Huenemann, president and CEO of the NB3 Foundation. “We remain committed to our direct-action approach, including purchasing, boxing and distributing food, water and supplies directly to households living in hard-hit areas. These funds will directly support people in need.”

This contribution comes in response to the tremendous need that has been identified for Native populations in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

“The President of the Navajo Nation issued the first press release on January 26, 2020 to make his tribal members aware of the Corona-19 virus and shared information about the public health risk that was associated. The immediate and proactive leadership and communication acknowledged genuine concern and offered early guidance. Preparation and caution were exercised, shortly after followed by a declaration of a state of emergency, but the virus as we have all seen, has had a disproportionately high rate of infection throughout the Nation. The frontline direct outreach and utilization of the CHR teams in the NB3 Foundation COVID-19 Response initiative has effectively been able to reach many tribal members to provide greatly needed supplies and services. Delta Dental of New Mexico is grateful for the many selfless acts of compassion and community that this Response Fund has provided,” said Lou Volk III, president and CEO of Delta Dental of New Mexico.

To date, the NB3 Foundation Fund has raised over $300,000, distributed food and water to the Navajo Nation, provided financial support to Native-led organizations working directly in their communities and provided educational technology supplies to Native students. The NB3 Foundation looks forward to continuing to be on the front lines of support and action over the coming months.



About Notah Begay III Foundation

The Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation is a national, award-winning Native-led nonprofit dedicated to improving Native American children’s health. Each day, thousands of Native youth wake up facing significant health challenges and barriers to living full lives. The good news is that most are preventable and together we are changing this reality.

NB3 Foundation is changing the lives of Native American children by supporting and funding Native-driven, culturally centered programs and by providing direct opportunities for Native youth to live healthy, active lives. We believe that success must be driven at the local level and focus on holistic prevention, including child, family and community. To learn more about the NB3 Foundation, please visit at:

About Delta Dental of New Mexico

Delta Dental of New Mexico is a not-for-profit corporation that has been providing dental benefit plans for New Mexico residents since 1971. Our core values include responsibility in utilizing our success to create healthy, smart and vibrant communities.

Delta Dental of New Mexico and its affiliates in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee make up one of the largest dental plan administrators in the nation.

The Delta Dental plans are members of the Delta Dental Plans Association, a nationwide system of independently operated dental health service plans. Together, the plans provide coverage to more than 78 million Americans and operate two of the nation’s largest networks of participating dentists.






Andrea Thomas, Diné educator and Navajo Nation Board of Education member, and her 3rd-5th grade students at Mesa Elementary in Shiprock, N.M. have been struggling to continue their lessons remotely amid the closure of schools on the Navajo Nation, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Motivation has not been a barrier for her, her students and their families – all are committed to continuing education during these difficult times. Rather, the lack of technology has been the biggest hurdle facing her students and many more on the Navajo Nation hoping to continue school from home. 

Andrea Thomas delivers a laptop to a student’s home last week.

A majority of Mesa Elementary students come from low income households and do not have access to a computer at home.

Thomas’ students have been completing
their lessons on family member cell phones, or taking screenshots of homework to finish later on paper. Thomas knew that doing full lessons on a cellphone wasn’t an ideal form of learning and would likely overwhelm her students and families quickly. For her students to effectively learn remotely she knew they would need laptops.

Thomas stepped into action and started a fundraiser to purchase 26 laptops for her students.

“There’s something really unique about my group of students,” Thomas said. “I knew that I had to do the best I could to support them.”

Her fundraiser received donations from community members, parents and families but was still a ways from reaching her fundraising goal.

In April, NB3 Foundation President and CEO, Justin Kii Huenemann came across her fundraiser which directly aligns with one of the goals of the NB3 Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund: to provide access to education opportunities and youth development.

The connection was made and through the generosity of the donors to the NB3 Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund, laptops were purchased for all the students in Thomas’ classroom.

When it comes to her students and their futures, Thomas said that when her students reflect on these times she hopes it’s a positive memory of their resilience and perseverance, like their Diné culture.

“On behalf of myself and my students I would like to express our sincere and immense gratitude to the NB3 Foundation for their inspiring generosity. As so many doors seem to be closing, this donation has kept open an invaluable access to continued learning and growth and, just as importantly to one another, to community, and to continuity that will keep our spirits strong, our minds engaged, and our sense of determination unswayed in this time of great challenge. Ahéhee”- Andrea Thomas