Healthier Environments, Stronger Economies: New First Nations Project Bolsters Forest Programs in Native Communities

LONGMONT, Colorado (October 27, 2020) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced a project to help tribal governments and entities establish and strengthen their forest programs for the benefit of their economy, environment, educational opportunities and access to recreation.

The project is part of First Nations’ umbrella program of Stewarding Native Lands and is made possible through a grant from the USDA Forest Service and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. Through the Community Forest Tribal Outreach Project, First Nations will provide support and resources to tribal entities in the Northern Great Plains and Southwest regions that are seeking to acquire or establish community forest programs.

Informational webinars and other resources will be developed to help tribal entities interested in applying for funding through the USDA Forest Service’s annual Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (Community Forest Program) grant opportunity. In addition, at least three selected federally recognized tribes and qualified nonprofits will receive targeted technical assistance in developing project proposals for this funding opportunity.

Jackie Francke, First Nations Vice President of Programs and Administration, said the project will expand awareness and understanding of the USDA Forest Service’s Community Forest Program among tribal governments, and build capacity for tribal entities to develop competitive proposals for funding through this federal program. “Indigenous people know the value of forestry when it comes to the health of communities and the environment, and they are rooted in culture and traditions of stewardship, conservation, and protection,” she said. “With this information, they can better convey that knowledge in successful proposals to further strengthen their forest programs.”

The Community Forest Program is designed to help communities acquire and conserve forests that provide public access and recreational opportunities, protect vital water supplies and wildlife habitat, serve as demonstration sites for private forest landowners, and provide economic benefits from timber and non-timber products.

The First Nations project will run through June 2022, with the first informational webinar scheduled for the fall of 2020. Resources and additional information about the project will be updated here.

About First Nations Development Institute
For 40 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit

Emilie Ellis, First Nations Senior Program Officer or (303) 774-7836

Amy Jakober, First Nations Senior Communications Officer or (303) 774-7836