Denver—The Board of Directors of Denver Indian Family Resource Center has named Tara McLain Manthey as its next Executive Director. Manthey, a Coloradan and citizen of the Osage Nation, joined the staff in September.
DIRFC is a non-profit organization supporting American Indian and Alaska Native families in the seven-county Denver Metro area who are involved in, or at risk of involvement in, the child welfare system. The center offers culturally responsive and trauma-informed services to assist children and families in strengthening relationships and re-establishing balance.
The center also provides extensive resource and referral support for Indigenous families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, DIFRC has increased support to families affected by job loss with gift cards, utility assistance, housing stability, baby items, and connections to other critical resources in the community.
Manthey joins the organization after serving as Senior Vice President of Advocacy, Communications and Development for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. In that position she led campaigns to improve public policies affecting the health, education and well-being of Colorado families.
“I’m thrilled to join DIFRC in its 20th year of protecting American Indian and Alaska Native children and strengthening their families,” Manthey said. “Native families face unique barriers to well-being that are caused by past and present policies designed to break up Indigenous communities by removing children. Preserving native families requires the efforts of an entire community and DIFRC brings together people and resources to encircle families in love and support.”
Manthey succeeds Lucille Echohawk, a citizen of the Pawnee Nation, who is DIFRC’s founding board chair and has twice served as Executive Director. Lucille will continue to support DIFRC in a voluntary capacity as Senior Advisor. Manthey is chair of the board of directors for a Denver charter public school, vice chair of the editorial board of the Osage News, co-founder and co-chair of the Colorado Osage Association, and past chair of the national KIDS COUNT Steering Committee. She is completing her master’s in Indigenous Peoples Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law this year and holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and music from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She lives in Denver with her family.