Current Projects

First Americans’ Cultural Treasures

Native cultures, represented through art and the process of making art, are community assets that must be valued, preserved, and perpetuated.

As part of First Nations’ Strengthening Tribal & Community Institutions program, the First Americans’ Cultural Treasures project is built on the recognition of these assets in Native communities that connect the past to the present and the future, and ultimately preserve Native knowledge systems, identities, and lifeways.

The project is made possible through the Ford Foundation America’s Cultural Treasures Regional Challenge Initiative, in a funding partnership with Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.

The Ford Foundation initiative is designed to help steward and strengthen the cultural assets of Native communities and ensure that Native communities continue to be culturally vibrant places where traditional artistic practices are proliferating for the benefit of future generations.


Through the project, First Nations will make large, three-year general operating grants to a cohort of 10 to 16 Native nonprofits and tribal programs that are current or previous Community Partners of First Nations operating in three regions of focus: Northwest (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana), Upper Midwest (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin), and Southwest (Southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico).

Selected Community Partners are positioned as arts and cultural anchors in their communities, and each has a track record of commitment to sustaining and strengthening:

  • Intergenerational transfer of artistic skill and cultural knowledge
  • Traditional art forms grounded in culture, language and land
  • Leaders who champion arts and cultural assets

Check back for updates on selected Community Partners.

Learn more about projects under the Strengthening Tribal & Community Institutions program.