Our Values

Our Mission

Our mission is to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities. We invest in and create innovative institutions and models that strengthen asset control and support economic development for American Indian people and their communities.

With the support of individuals, foundations, corporate and tribal donors, First Nations Development Institute improves economic conditions for Native Americans through technical assistance & training, advocacy & policy, and direct financial grants in six key areas:

  • Achieving Native Financial Empowerment
  • Investing in Native Youth
  • Strengthening Tribal & Community Institutions
  • Advancing Household & Community Asset-Building Strategies
  • Nourishing Native Foods & Health
  • Stewarding Native Lands

First Nations is the most highly-rated American Indian nonprofit in the nation. Indeed, for the 10th year in a row, First Nations has received the top 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator — only 3% of the nonprofits it rates achieve this highest distinction for 10 consecutive years. Learn more financial information about First Nations.

Founded in 1980, First Nations began its national grantmaking program in 1993. Through mid-year 2021, we have successfully managed 2,276 grants totaling $46 million to Native American projects and organizations in 42 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territory American Samoa.

  • See our Core Values and Guiding Principles here.
  • Read about the first 35 years of First Nations’ history here.
  • Follow a timeline of our evolution here.

See our Core Values and Guiding Principles

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Read about the first 35 years of First Nations' history

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Follow a timeline of our evolution

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Research Policy & Protocols

Read Our Research Policy & Protocols here.
Our research is aimed at preserving, protecting and strengthening Native American assets.

Financial Information

Learn more about First Nations’ charity rankings and financial position here.