Current Projects

Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign / Policy Innovation Fund

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.

2019 Grantees

California Indian Museum & Cultural Center (Santa Rosa, California): $81,667

The Ma Pʰidin: Protecting Our Ground project serves Native people of all ages from 24 Pomo and Miwok tribes in Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties in Northern California. These tribes have limited access to traditional food resources, so the project will focus on removing barriers to access, such as updating county park codes, which currently prohibit gathering food. The project also includes conducting a community assessment, engaging stakeholders and developing recommendations to ensure tribal and county leaders can address barriers and improve nutrition and health.

Karuk Tribe (Happy Camp, California): $81,667

The Yav Pananu’avaha: Karuk Tribe’s Our Good Food project supports developing, advocating and implementing policies that promote tribal food sovereignty. Our Good Food will improve access to Native foods for community members and food-service programs; promote healthy choices for K-12 students through Native health lessons and a youth-led food sovereignty campaign; and encourage comprehensive implementation of the Karuk Tribe Food Policy in all tribal events. The project also will advocate for changes to school, summer, community and elder food-service programs and finalizing the tribe’s food sovereignty policy through research and community engagement.

Port Gamble S'Klallam Foundation (Kingston, Washington): $80,000

The Port Gamble S’Klallam Shellfish Grow-Out Expansion Project will focus on ways to sustain and expand natural shellfish resources for a healthy traditional diet of the S’Klallam tribal community. The project will develop shellfish aquaculture policy, conduct community outreach focused on sustaining shellfish populations for community subsistence and later expand the shellfish population for commercial production.