Adopt A Native Elder

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Date Founded: 1984

Contact Name: CJ Robb


9dc Give Amount: $750

October 29, 2022

The non profit Adopt-A-Native-Elder ( has served traditional Navajo Elders for the last thirty-eight years with a single goal: to allow the Elders to age with dignity in their traditional way on their homelands. Today they serve more then 1000 traditional Navajo Elders over the age of 75 on the Navajo Reservation.

The present day Navajo reservation is located in the Four Corners region (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado) in an area that spans 20,000 square miles—approximately the size of the state of West Virginia. The Navajo tribe is the largest in the nation with over 250,000 members living on the reservation. They are well known for their artistry, jewelry, and contributions to the military. During World War II, the Navajo Code Talkers were used to send secret Allied communications using their native language which couldn’t be deciphered by the Germans and Japanese.

The Elders in their 80’s and 90’s are the last generation of traditional indigenous people in the United States. These Elders never entered modern society, they still wear traditional dress, practice traditional ceremonies, and only speak their Navajo language. Many of the Elders have never left the Navajo reservation and the only life they know is one of self-reliance in the desert of the South West. Off the reservation, language barriers and other obstacles make it difficult to adapt for those living a traditional Navajo lifestyle. It isn't easy for an elder to leave their life behind and move into an assisted living facility, and Adopt-a-Native-Elder steps in to help elders age in place in order to preserve tradition. 

Over 1,000 elders are supported by Adopt-A-Native-Elder, which has more than doubled in the last four years. In the spring and fall, trips are made with items such as food certificates, nonperishable items, medical supplies, and firewood to keep houses warm. The organization works year-round in mailing items and preparing for the visits, which are perhaps the most exciting part of the program for everyone involved. Many elders are able to come together during April and September, when Adopt-a-Native-Elder makes their food-run trips, reuniting with family they haven't seen in a while on top of receiving important goods. 

While the primary goal is providing tangible items to help elders live comfortably without having to leave the Reservation, goals exist beneath to continue building Navajo traditions and passing culture down to younger generations through staying stationary. Adopt-a-Native-Elder works directly with Navajo weavers who support their families through art. They bring materials for the weavers to create beautiful pieces and provide an online market for pieces to be listed and purchased. 100% of proceeds go back to the elders as earned income, helping not only to sustain their lifestyle but pass along cultural practices and storytelling methods. If interested in buying any of their artwork, you can check it out online here

What is the 9dollarclub doing to help?

The Elder’s have simple needs, but meeting their needs is vital to their survival. Living on the reservation enables the Native Americans to continue with their way of life, culture and history but living conditions are often compared to that of a third-world country. Housing and healthcare are often below standard, and many people are stuck in a cycle of poverty. 50% of people on the Reservation have no running water or electricity in their homes, and are working to sustain large family units. 

We had the opportunity to talk to Director CJ Robb, who started with Adopt-a-Native-Elder as a food-run volunteer 11 years ago. We talked about what we could do to help as the winter months are right around the corner. He expressed the importance of delivering firewood to the elders during the winter months, as it acts as a source of heat and method of cooking for homes on the Reservation without electricity. 

We were humbled to listen to the story and selfless service Adopt A Native Elder provides year round and while they have many needs, we were able to identify firewood as being a timely item that the organization is in need of.

As part of our October give this year, our $750 monthly donation is purchasing firewood that will take care of heating and cooking needs for 8 elder families for two of the coldest months of the winter season. He shared how the Elders show their appreciation through a shy smile and sometimes returning a small handmade necklaces in return.

Thank you members for your contribution! 

"9dollarclub" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered in Virginia, United States