Executive Director

Courtney Chavis

(Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina)

email: [email protected]


Courtney Chavis, a Lumbee Tribal member from North Carolina, has been appointed as the first Executive Director at Sovereign Equity Fund (SEF) with a background in philanthropy, community development, and grant management. This appointment comes following her impactful tenure as Grants Manager at the National Congress of American Indians, where she played a pivotal role in advancing the organization’s mission to enhance the well-being of Native communities.

Chavis brings over a decade of experience in philanthropic leadership and nonprofit management to her new role. Her expertise is leveraging data-driven insights, fostering external partnerships, and streamlining operational procedures to deliver sustainable results. With a profound commitment to addressing poverty, education, and affordable housing issues, Chavis has consistently championed initiatives that empower marginalized populations and foster community resilience.

Early on

During her tenure at the National Congress of American Indians, Chavis spearheaded efforts to streamline internal grant management processes, significantly enhancing the organization’s capacity to support Native communities nationwide. Her contributions were instrumental in securing critical funding and driving impactful programs to improve Indigenous peoples’ quality of life.

Prior to her role at the National Congress of American Indians, Chavis served her Tribe as a Grants/Public Affairs Specialist, where she successfully secured the Tribe’s first HUD-VASH grant. This groundbreaking initiative combines HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance with Veteran Affairs’ case management and clinical services, providing crucial support to homeless Veterans and underserved populations.

Chavis holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications and a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Management from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Additionally, she holds a certificate in Grants Management, underscoring her commitment to excellence in grant administration and stewardship.

In her new capacity as Executive Director of SEF, Chavis is poised to lead the organization in its mission to drive positive change and sustainable development in underserved communities. Her visionary leadership and dedication to equity and inclusion make her a formidable force in the philanthropic sector.