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GLITC Leads the Way Through Uncertain Times

Submitted by GLITC

Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council

In a year dominated by destabilizing events, the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC) truly embodied its mission to enhance the quality of life for all Native people. Powered in large part by existing state and federal grant funding, and an additional COVID-19 Emergency Management Assistance grant awarded by the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Foundation, GLITC served as a leader, innovator and conduit for local Native communities.

“Our programs have done amazing work during this challenging time. Their accomplishments, adjustments and collaborations are testimony to their commitment to ensuring Tribal communities continue to have access to vital services, supplies and information during the pandemic,” said Bryan Bainbridge, CEO of GLITC.

30 unique programs collaborated internally and with numerous community partners to serve thousands of individuals and families. Program accomplishments include:

  • Helping to provide millions of pounds of food to those in need.

  • Prioritizing and distributing nutrition assistance and education.

  • Adapting curriculum, trainings and services to be available online.

  • Expanding technology resources for Elders and emerging businesses.

  • Measuring the impact of the pandemic while providing economic development strategies.

  • Creating community with drive-thru events including baby showers and diaper drives.

  • Investing in vocational resources to serve those with disabilities.

  • Creating and distributing printed and digital collateral to amplify program messaging.

  • Acquiring highly specialized lab supplies to support research linked to health disparity issues.

Native populations that felt the impact of these accomplishments included Tribal Elders, families, mothers, youth, high school and college students, and at risk-populations.

Future program initiatives include recording an audio book, virtual exercise sessions, cooking demonstrations to support nutritional training, and emergency communications systems implemented online and via direct messaging.

Addressing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic within Native populations was paramount in GLITC’s efforts across programs and collaborations. Organization-wide strategies included investing in mitigation, tracking, contact tracing, monitoring employee symptoms, distribution of personal protective equipment, creating and implementing assessment tools for pandemic impact, and creating opportunities for immunization coordinators to connect. GLITC initiatives related to addressing COVID-19 also received funding from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Adapting to a rapidly changing landscape, GLITC programs pivoted their services swiftly to offer virtual outreach while simultaneously ensuring communities at risk and in need safely received the physical supplies they needed in a timely manner.

In 2020, GLITC created a diverse range of new, essential services while maintaining current program offerings and are looking to the future to explore strategic partnerships to extend their reach.

The full report may be viewed on GLITC’s website at

Through additional funding, GLITC kept Native communities informed, safe and connected during extremely uncertain times.

About GLITC:

The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council's mission is to enhance the quality of life for all Native people. GLITC was incorporated in 1965 with the purpose of providing a mechanism for Tribes to work through the challenges of governance and services to their constituents. Through Inter-Tribal unity, Tribes could better develop and implement programs, seek outside assistance, and gain leverage in dealing with federal, state and local government.

GLITC’s strength lies in the resolve of the Tribes to be independent and self-governing, yet to come together in a unified forum to discuss and resolve those issues that require Inter-Tribal unity and attention. As independent governments, the Tribes operate widely varied government service systems, and address their communities’ needs in numerous ways. GLITC supplements the member Tribes’ own efforts through development and operation of health and human service programs, education programs, and economic development programs in the reservation communities it serves.

Learn more at


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