Sarah Dewees

Senior Director of Research, Policy and Asset-Building Programs


As the senior director of research, policy, and asset-building programs, Sarah Dewees is responsible for the coordination of all research, policy, and evaluation activities at First Nations to further our understanding of asset-based community development in Native American communities. She manages a range of programs related to financial empowerment in Indian Country.

Sarah joined First Nations in 2002 after serving as a research project manager at the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Sarah has worked in both applied and academic research settings, and has conducted research on a range of issues related to rural community economic development. Her publications have appeared in the Journal of the Community Development Society, Rural Sociology, and Sociological Practice, and she has taught at the University of Kentucky and Towson University. She currently serves on the Leadership Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ Center for Indian Country Development and on the editorial board for the Journal of Rural Sociology. She is a member of the National Advisory Board for the Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative sponsored by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, and serves on the advisory committee for the Native Financial Education Coalition.

Sarah received her Ph.D. in rural sociology from the University of Kentucky in 1998, an M.A. in sociology from Ohio University in 1992, and a B.A. in government from Oberlin College in 1990. She lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with her husband and son.

First Nations is a Native-run nonprofit that strengthens Native American communities and economies.
Our board consists of a diverse representation of Indian Country.
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