Washington’s tribal governments are making investments to improve people’s lives, especially in health care and education. Tribes also make substantial charitable contributions and provide support to neighboring local governments.
Caring for all members of the community, young and old, sick and well, is a high priority for Washington tribes. Tribes are building health clinics and supporting wellness activities.
Tribes place the highest priority on education. Tribal governments are building and operating early learning centers, schools, libraries and youth activity facilities throughout Washington. Most tribes provide substantial financial support to college students. The investment is paying off – high school graduation rates are climbing and the number of tribal members attending college is increasing.
Under an agreement with the State of Washington, tribal governments that operate Class III gaming facilities make contributions to support charitable organizations, local governments, smoking cessation and problem gambling programs.
In 2012, according to the latest report from the state Gambling Commission which verifies the data, the total given to charitable organizations in Washington State totaled $11.8 million. Thousands of organizations throughout the state – from school districts to food banks to youth groups to religious organizations to performing arts – received financial aid from the tribes. Local governments received $6.5 million in 2012 to offset the impacts of tribal gaming facilities. Most of the money goes to first responder agencies including police, fire and emergency medical aid agencies. Another $2.25 million was given to smoking cessation programs and $2.56 million to problem gambling programs.