In early 2019, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and American Heart Association (AHA) announced a $1.6 million funding initiative to support Native American nutrition and health advocacy. The Policy Innovation Fund is a continuation of the SMSC and AHA’s partnership to promote Native-led dietary health advocacy, which first began in 2015. First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and the American Indian Cancer Foundation are partners with the SMSC and AHA. First Nations administers grants and the American Indian Cancer Foundation provides technical assistance.
The Policy Innovation Fund was developed to directly support grantmaking for Native nutrition and health policy work. First Nations administers the Policy Innovation Fund’s grantmaking through the Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign. As such, First Nations conducted the first of two national solicitations for grant proposals in 2019. The grants are awarded through a competitive process to tribes and Native-led organizations to support innovative projects designed to improve nutrition and health policy systems at the tribal, local, state and national levels.