GATHER Food Sovereignty Grant

GATHER Food Sovereignty Grant

Application Deadline:

Thursday, January 14, 2021, no later than 5 pm Mountain Time

General Information

For 40 years, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), a Native-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has worked to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities by investing in and creating innovative institutions and models that strengthen asset control and support economic development for American Indian people and their communities. First Nations began its national grantmaking program in 1993. Through mid-year 2020, First Nations has successfully managed 1,928 grants totaling more than $40.2 million to tribal and community institutions across Indian Country. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.

First Nations recognizes that Native food systems are important assets to Native communities. As a result, First Nations has long supported Native communities as they fortify traditional food systems, seek to increase access healthy and fresh foods, increase awareness of and involvement with where food comes from, and expand knowledge of the linkages between foods, Native cultures and/or contribute to tribal economic growth and development of entrepreneurial-related food ventures.

With the generous support of the Indigenous Peoples Fund at Tides Foundation, First Nations will establish a Gather Food Sovereignty Grant that will support work contributing to building a national movement that will fulfill a vision of Native communities and food systems that are self-directed, well-resourced and supported by community policies and systems. This opportunity is targeting emerging projects that focus on developing Tribal Food Sovereignty.  Through the first round of the Gather Food Sovereignty Grant, First Nations expects to award up to 13 grant awards of approximately $32,000 to support Native American-led food sovereignty work.

The grant period for this funding opportunity will commence March 1, 2021, and end February 28, 2022.

Total requests for project budgets within this funding opportunity should not exceed $32,000.

Download a PDF of the complete application here.

Types of eligible applicants include, but are not limited to:

  • Federal- and State-Recognized Tribal Governments (Tribal Government Programs, such as Tribal Arts Programs, Heritage Departments, Economic Development Entities, etc.)
  • Native-controlled 501(c)(3) nonprofits
  • Native-controlled community organizations with fiscal sponsorship
  • Native 7871 Organizations

Please refer to the Grantmaking FAQ section for further insight regarding applicant eligibility.


All applicants must complete the First Nations online grant application, including submission of necessary attachments, no later than Thursday, January 14, 2021, at 5 pm Mountain Time.

First Nations recognizes that some of our most rural and remote applicants may have limited access to high-speed Internet. Any exceptions to use of the online system must be made at least two weeks in advance of the application deadline by submitting an email request to grantmaking@firstnations.org. Please include your name, organization, contact information, and the name of the RFP for which you are applying. If you do not have access to email you can call our office at (303) 774-7836 and ask to speak with a member of the Grantmaking Department.

Download instructions for First Nations’ Online Application System here.

Access First Nations’ Online Application system to begin a new application here.

The following attachments must be uploaded during the online submission process:

  • Attachment A: An estimated budget for the proposed project with a detailed cost breakdown that is reasonable and directly related to proposed grant activities.

(Download Budget Template)

  • Attachment B: Timeline. A detailed project timeline that documents important project goals, milestones, and benchmarks. Include who will be responsible for the steps and when they will be completed.

(Download Project Timeline Template)

  • Attachment C: Tax-Status Documentation. A copy of the organization’s or fiscal sponsor’s IRS Determination Letter if the applicant is a 501(c)(3) organization or a community organization using a fiscal sponsor. Tribal programs and governments may submit proof that they are a federal- or state-recognized tribe.
  • Attachment D: Leadership & Staff List. Native-controlled nonprofits should submit a list of their Board of Directors, with tribal affiliation (if applicable), and Key Staff.  Community organizations with fiscal sponsors should submit a list of their own leadership team (not the fiscal sponsor’s), with tribal affiliation (if applicable), and Key Staff. Tribal programs and governments should submit a list of their Tribal Council in lieu of a Board of Directors.
Selection Criteria

First Nations seeks projects that demonstrate:

  • That they can help strengthen Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian communities
  • A clear focus within projects and programs connected to the organization’s stated mission
  • Proper alignment with stated funding priorities and eligibility guidelines
  • A new or innovative idea or an ongoing effort that substantially builds upon past success
  • The ability and/or experience necessary to successfully accomplish the proposed project
  • Strong leadership that reflects the community served
  • A clear plan of action with specific, measurable, and realistic goals and objectives
  • Logical and sequential development of project or program-implementation timelines
  • Accurate, reasonable, and consistent project or program budget
  • Periodic assessment, documentation, and dissemination of progress and final results
  • Feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of proposed projects or programs
  • Sufficient organizational capacity to successfully implement the proposed project or programs
  • Strategic plans for collaborating and forming partnerships
  • Direct engagement of target audiences within the planning, implementation, and evaluation process

Evaluation & Reporting: Gather Food Sovereignty grantees will be required to submit progress and final reports. These reports will enable First Nations and Indigenous Peoples Fund at Tides Foundation to: (1) gain a further understanding of projects serving the field of Native health policy and advocacy; (2) tell grantee stories, including accomplishments, challenges, impact, and programming practices; and (3) measure the impact of funding support on grantee programs.

Grant Requirements

Selected grantees under this opportunity must use funding to support work contributing to building a national movement that will fulfill a vision of Native communities and food systems that are self-directed, well-resourced and supported by community policies and systems. Emerging projects are encouraged to apply.

Examples of allowable activities under this funding opportunity include, but are not limited to:

  • Conducting a community food assessment to examine the economic impact of food system assets and plan next steps,
  • Projects aimed at increasing local food system control, including increasing access to fresh and healthy foods,
  • Increasing local food distribution and marketing to end-use institutions (eg: schools or local and tribal businesses) and larger markets, and/or
  • Strategic Community planning around food sovereignty projects
  • Increasing the capacity of food producers to manage environmental, community, and social/political impacts of policy on their food system

Examples of unallowable activities under this funding opportunity include:

  • Lobbying
  • Entertainment
  • Capital construction projects (including the construction, purchase, renovation, and/or furnishing of facilities)
  • Funding of individuals
  • Development campaigns
  • Endowments
  • Scholarships or tuition assistance

First Nations will host 2 optional Question & Answer (Q&A) Sessions for interested applicants prior to the application deadline. This Q&A session will provide an opportunity for applicants to ask questions about the application, selection criteria, guidelines, or other related questions. Participation is NOT mandatory; however, applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in the call.

The Application Q&A Session will be held on:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

First Nations has compiled a number of free resources related to the grant writing process. Whether you are a small organization new to grants or an organization with extensive experience, these resources will help with development of your application to First Nations.

Please click here to access First Nations’ free grant-writing resources.

Should you have any additional questions about the RFP or this specific funding opportunity, please contact Rana LaPine by email at rlapine@firstnations.org or by phone at (303) 774-7836.