February 21, 2024

Five Fab Questions for Foundation Staff: Jackie Blackbird

Jackie Blackbird is Newman’s Own Foundation’s first-ever Indigenous Communities Officer. A member of the Aaniiih tribe of Montana’s Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, she has a history of impactful roles. She spent nearly two decades at Nike, eventually becoming the athletic apparel giant’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager, where she built their Native American giving arm, the N7 Fund.

Jackie Blackbird headshot

Question 1: What is your role at the Foundation?

My role is to oversee all grant making and partnership building for our Indigenous food justice priority program area.

Question 2: What sparked your interest in social impact and working for Newman’s Own Foundation?

It goes back to being brought up in a tribal community (Aaniiih, or White Clay, people). I was mostly raised up by my grandmother, as my parents both worked, and the teachings she shared with me made me want to make a positive impact, even at a young age, on our tribal community. Throughout college and my career, I looked for opportunities to improve the lives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. I mentored young Indigenous girls and coached basketball. I volunteered with organizations that work on positive Indian parenting and healthcare, as well as emergency services.

I looked at the Newman’s Own Foundation mission of using the power of Paul Newman’s vision to nourish children who have had adverse experiences. Then when I saw they have a specific portfolio to serve Indigenous communities, I thought, “I’m all in.”

Question 3: What are your priorities for 2024?

One personal goal is to continue to get to know the Foundation and its history better, as well as how Newman’s Own, Inc., operates. 

Specifically, I plan to assist our team (three of us) launching the next grant initiatives for nutrition with school age children and Indigenous food justice portfolios. I want to get to know all 33 Indigenous food justice grantees and build connections with them. Additionally, I want to build a network for our grantees for learning and development. It’s helpful for organizations to understand what others are doing in this space. 

Question 4: What dish can you make from scratch without having to look at a recipe?

My husband is the cook in the family, but I can make macaroni and cheese! It’s something my grandmother taught me. In tribal communities, we would get government cheese. We chop that up into chunks and when the noodles are done, add the cheese, milk, and butter until it’s as creamy as you like. 

Question 5: What’s your favorite Paul Newman film or role?

The Hudsucker Proxy, because I’ve worked in corporate America! I liked Paul’s ruthless, smart, and funny role and his chemistry with Tim Robbins and the comedy they bring out in each other. 

Newman's Own team standing outside
Skip to content