Our Work

Our Mission NiiJii (pronounced nee-jee) means "friends" in Ojibwe.

NiiJii's mission is to build sustainable communities by empowering citizens to foster partnerships and mobilize resources for the elimination of poverty for future generations.

NiiJii: Helping People Help Themselves

Many families in the NiiJii Enterprise Community lack access to the things most people take for granted-a place to live, warm clothing, heat in the winter, a safe environment. Even worse, many have lost hope of ever living a better life.

Over the last nine years, NiiJii programs have directly served more than 5,600 people-over 85% of the total population on our three Reservations. In addition to directly benefiting those in need, NiiJii's efforts help strengthen neighboring communities as well.

In our first nine years of operation, NiiJii has met many of the basic infrastructure needs of our communities, including building eight water and sewer systems, 46 miles of roads and 20 buildings-schools and judicial facilities as well as offices, retail and industrial park facilities. We've also begun to address broader social and economic needs by:

  • NiiJii is coordinating mortgage programs with the Menominee Tribal Housing Department to provide down payment assistance and increase access to affordable housing.
  • Creating youth leadership, tutoring and afterschool programs and establishing parks and recreational facilities
  • Meeting basic needs including increasing access to affordable housing, creating community gardens and training volunteer firefighters
  • Helping to start 93 new businesses, including providing technical assistance and loans
  • Creating and/or retaining 2,388 jobs
  • Developing language and cultural preservation programs
  • Launching environmental education, recycling and solid waste programs
  • Responding to the needs of seniors, including establishing health and wellness centers
  • Providing capacity-building training to increase local leadership and community participation