Health-Food Business Taps Into its Native American Roots A PGA player tees off to improve Native American health.
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As the only full-blooded Native American on the Professional Golfers Association of America Tour, Notah Begay III is keenly aware that thousands of young people on U.S. reservations suffer from obesity and Type 2 diabetes. "This could be one of the first generations to not outlive their parents," Begay says. "It's an epidemic that tribal leadership is not talking about enough."
So when Begay branched out as an entrepreneur, he did so with a philanthropic bent, promoting physical fitness and healthful food choices for Native American children. In 2010 he founded KivaSun Foods, which sells healthful bison steaks as well as bison, salmon and turkey burgers. In December KivaSun will begin donating 1 percent of its annual global sales to the Notah Begay III Foundation (NB3), which supports Native American health through education and sports initiatives.
The foundation--which this year organized soccer, golf and wellness programs for 8,000 Native American children, mostly in New Mexico--has also raised more than $4 million over the past five years from annual golf outings on Oneida Nation property in upstate New York. In September the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation presented NB3 with its annual Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy.