The Chúush Fund: Water for Warm Springs

On May 31, 2019, the Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs approved an emergency disaster declaration due to immediate health threats resulting from a 14” water main line break in the Shitike Creek.

Because of public utilities capital maintenance deferment over the last few decades, today, over a year into rolling water outages and a boil water notice across Oregon’s largest reservation, there is still no relief in sight. 

“This is a worst-case scenario,” said Warm Springs Chief Operating Officer Alyssa Macy. 

Read more here: “Water Crisis Returns To Warm Springs As Virus Cases Rise,” Oregon Public Broadcasting, June 30, 2020

To donate by check, please send a check made out to “Seeding Justice” with “Water for Warm Springs” in the Notes line, to: PO Box 12489, Portland, OR 97212.

Chuúsh Fund Update December 2021

We believe that philanthropy should have trusting, lasting and robust relationships with those who have been here since time immemorial, especially considering the history of how resources and wealth have been accumulated in this country (and specifically, Oregon). At Seeding Justice, we challenge ourselves to do our work in ways that also respect and uphold tribal sovereignty in our everyday work.

Therefore, we intentionally structured the MOU for the Chuush Fund, in full partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS), as trust-based funding. Because CTWS is a sovereign nation–and not a typical non-profit grantee–we do not require reporting. Instead, we put our trust in the elected and appointed leadership of the Tribe to do what they need to do to care for the health and welfare of their community with the investments from the Chuúsh Fund. While either party may end the agreement, we’re committed to it remaining in place until the Tribe tells us they don’t want or need it any longer.

Read more about the latest news from Warm Springs here.

In partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Seeding Justice is proud to present The Chúush Fund, which accepts contributions from foundations and individuals to directly benefit the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs as they work to restore their access and infrastructure for clean water.

Investment Partners:

  • Seeding Justice Staff & Board
  • Ford Family Foundation
  • Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington (GOSW)
  • Pacific Power
  • PGE (Portland General Electric)
  • Spirit Mountain Community Fund

“…as soon as crews replaced one critical stretch of pipe…a different water line broke and a pressure valve blew, prolonging the outages and warnings to boil water. 

The latest round of failures will have to be fixed before water can flow to the central Warm Springs area, where tribal government, a clinic and many businesses are based… Meanwhile, largely unused port-a-potties have lined the streets all month, braced for things to get worse.” 

– “After Long-Awaited Repairs, Even More Water Problems Arise In Warm Springs,” Oregon Public Broadcasting, June 20, 2019

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

The Chúush Fund was established in August of 2019 in response to the need for clean water at the Warm Springs Reservation at that time. It was approved by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council by resolution and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Tribe and Seeding Justice.  Seeding Justice transfers the total amount in the fund to the Tribe each month.

The best way to give is directly through the Seeding Justice portal or directly through Seeding Justice, as donations made through Facebook Fundraisers can take up to two months to reach us—and the Tribe needs financial support now. 

Donate online here. To donate by check, please send a check made out to “Seeding Justice” with “Water for Warm Springs” in the Notes line, to: PO Box 12489, Portland, OR 97212.


The two most important aspects of the MOU that established the Chúush Fund are:

  1. The Chúush Fund may be used by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to respond to and alleviate the crisis for the provision of clean water at the Warm Springs Reservation, including paying for infrastructure improvements as well as paying for interim measures. These funds may not be used for any purposes not allowed by law under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  2. Seeding Justice does not receive any fees for administering the fund.  

The overall current estimates to fully repair are $200 million. While this is a large amount and likely more than the Chúush Fund will raise, every dollar counts so the Tribe so they can take action now. 

Indigenizing Philanthropy is the process of doing our work in the philanthropic sector in ways that respect and uphold Tribal sovereignty and centers Tribal people in solutions to the social and systemic challenges faced by Tribes and Tribal communities. Don’t miss our blog post about the work we are leading across the NW.

We’re not gonna lie—it helps to have Indigenous women leaders with strong organizing experience as a part of your organizational and board leadership. So, rather than treat the Tribe—a sovereign nation—as if it were any other grantee, we decided to approach Tribal leadership about setting up the Chúush Fund. At Seeding Justice we don’t aim to be around in perpetuity, we aim to be around as long as there is still a fight to achieve justice for our communities. To do that, we know we must partner with those who have been here since time immemorial. 

And as long as systemic racism, settler colonization, and oppression continue to harm the health and safety of Tribal citizens at Warm Springs, none of us will enjoy the freedom we deserve. As Emma Lazarus said, “None of us is free until we are all free.”

Since it was established in August 2019 The Chúush Fund has raised more than $937,650 for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (as of May 31, 2021).  This number includes donations made to any Facebook Fundraisers.

Below are some resources to familiarize yourself and learn more about The Chúush Fund and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs:

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