Advancing Tribal Nature-Based Solutions Grant

Application Deadline:

May 22, 2024

General Information

Grant Overview

Tribes and Native communities are on the front lines of climate change, experiencing extreme weather, rising sea levels, extended drought, warming temperatures, and melting permafrost. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report demonstrates that climate change affects Indigenous peoples more severely and earlier than other populations. Many tribes and Native communities are located in remote and coastal locations, which increases their vulnerabilities to flooding and wildfire. Furthermore, subsistence and cultural practices rely on healthy ecosystems that are stewarded by Native peoples. To support climate action that addresses adaptation and disaster preparation First Nations established the second project under its newly created Climate Initiative, Advancing Tribal Nature-Based Solutions. This project is designed to provide tribes and Native nonprofits with resources to support climate action that addresses adaptation and disaster preparation (e.g., wildfires, flooding, drought) through the application of nature-based solutions based on Native knowledge.

Nature-based solutions rely on animals, plants, and the environment to protect ecosystems and support human well-being and local biodiversity. Examples include:

  • Clam bed restoration to address flooding and beach erosion
  • Reintroduction of ecocultural plants to prevent erosion
  • Beaver restoration to promote water retention and carbon sequestration
  • Cultural burning to prevent sustain biodiversity
  • Grass farming to address desertification

First Nations is now accepting applications under our Stewarding Native Lands program for projects that aim to grow tribal capacity and programming to employ and monitor community-, culture-, and nature-based approaches. First Nations expects to award 6 grants up to $200,000 each to eligible tribes and organizations.

Grant support is made possible through funding from the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies and First Nations’ Tribal Lands Conservation Fund.

Grants will support Native knowledge and stewardship and are in no way connected to any carbon crediting methodologies or mechanisms.

Grant Period

The grant period for this funding opportunity is September 1, 2024, to July 1, 2026.

Grant Award Ceiling

Total requested funds in project budgets under this funding opportunity should not exceed $200,000.

Grant Submission Deadline

Applications are due Wednesday, MAY 22, 2024, no later than 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 a 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.

Unfortunately, First Nations cannot make any emergency exceptions to application deadlines. Partial applications, incomplete applications due to user error, or faxed/emailed/mailed applications will not be considered unless they have received prior approval.

Download instructions for First Nations’ Online Application System here. Access First Nations’ Online Application system here.

Application Review & Timeline

First Nations will make final selections and notify all applicants regarding the status of their proposal on or before August 14, 2024. Notifications will be emailed to the project contact listed on the application. If you do not receive an email notification by this date, please contact grantmaking@firstnations.org.

Download a PDF of the RFP here

Type of Eligible Entities

Tribes, Tribal § 7871 entities, Native-controlled nonprofits, and Native-controlled community organizations located in the United States or U.S. territories are eligible to apply. First Nations defines “Native-controlled” as an organization in which a majority of the Board of Directors and leadership team (more than 50%) are Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian.

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

  • Federal- and State-Recognized Tribal Governments and Departments
  • Native-controlled 501(c)(3) nonprofits
  • Native-controlled community organizations with fiscal sponsorship
  • Native §7871 Organizations

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

Allowable Grant Activities

Selected grantees under this opportunity must use funding to support work that is advancing nature-based climate adaptation and climate-related disaster preparedness through the application of Native knowledge.

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

  • Emergency response planning and preparation
  • Climate proofing infrastructure and services
  • Climate risk governance and capacity building
  • Wildlife management and habitat restoration
  • Workforce development initiatives (e.g., community training opportunities, youth conservation programs, paid internships)
  • Capacity building for the organization and staff (e.g, specialized trainings, transportation)
  • Departmental and programmatic development and advancement
  • Updating tribal climate adaptation and resource management plans

Examples of unallowable activities under this funding opportunity include:

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


All applicants must complete the First Nations’ ONLINE grant application, including submission of necessary attachments by Wednesday, May 22, 2024, no later than 5 pm Mountain Time. 

Application Requirements:

  • A brief history of the organization, its mission and primary programmatic work around climate action.
  • A concise description of the project detailing how the project incorporates Native knowledge, which nature-based solution will be advanced, how community members will be engaged, and how climate adaptation and disaster preparedness will be addressed.
  • An overview of how the program or project will benefit people and an ecosystem.
  • An overview of the activities that will be executed during the project and how they will be implemented.
  • At least three specific goals or objectives to be accomplished with the funding.

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

  • Tax-Status Documentation. A copy of the organization 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. This document should be uploaded as a PDF file.
  • Description of Board of Directors. Native-controlled nonprofits should submit a list of their Board of Directors, with tribal affiliation of each director where applicable. Community organizations with fiscal sponsors should submit a list of their leadership team, with tribal affiliation of each team member where applicable. Tribal programs and governments should submit a list of their Tribal Council in lieu of a Board of Directors. This document should be uploaded as a PDF file.
  • (Sample Budget Form) A budget for the proposed project with a detailed cost breakdown that is reasonable and directly related to proposed grant activities. This document must be uploaded as a PDF or Excel file.

If you require a PDF writer, there are many free options available including Cute PDF Writer and BullZip.  Or you may do a web search to find a writer that fits your needs.

Applicants will be notified the week of August 12, 2024, regarding the status of their application. Notifications will be e-mailed to the project contact listed in the application.  If you do not receive an e-mail by then, please contact grantmaking@firstnations.org.

Important Note

Please allow yourself enough time to submit a complete application before the deadline, as the system will shut down automatically at 5 pm Mountain Time on May 22, 2024, and no data may be entered thereafter. Partial, faxed, emailed or mailed applications that are not received on time due to user error will not be considered.


Selection Criteria

Selection Criteria

First Nations seeks projects that:

  • Have the ability to build adaptive capacity and disaster preparation through application of nature-based solutions based on Native knowledge.
  • Provide a clear plan of action with specific, measurable and realistic goals and objectives.
  • Present reasonable program-implementation and budget.
  • Incorporate methods to track, measure, and share impact.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to support climate action.
  • Engage community members to build local workforce capacity.



Grant Requirements

Evaluation and Reporting

Grantees will be required to complete annual narrative reports that include two main items: (1) a narrative section updating on project objectives, successes and challenges and (2) a financial expenditure report. These reports will enable First Nations to: (1) gain a greater understanding of projects building adaptive capacity through nature-based solutions; (2) tell grantee stories, including accomplishments, challenges, impact, and programming practices; and (3) measure the impact of funding support on grantee programs.

Onsite Technical Assistance

Grantees will be required to receive in-person technical assistance from one First Nations staff member and one subject matter expert. In Year 1 technical assistance plans will be collaboratively created. Plans will be tailored based on grantees needs to build capacity to advance climate-focused work. In Year 2, one First Nations staff member and a subject matter expert will provide technical assistance and complete the technical assistance plan. Two site visits will occur throughout the grant period (one in each year).


Application Q&A Webinar

First Nations will host one informational Question & Answer (Q&A) webinar for applicants prior to the application deadline. The Q&A webinar will provide an opportunity for applicants to ask questions about the application, selection criteria, guidelines, or other related questions. Participation in this webinar is NOT mandatory; however, applicants are strongly encouraged to register and attend.

Application Q&A Session will be held on:

Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at 2 pm Mountain Time. Register here.

The informational webinar will be recorded and posted to First Nations website for those unable to attend. The recording can be accessed at: www.firstnations.org/knowledge-center/webinars/.

Grantseeker Resources

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 grantseeker resources.

For additional information or questions, please contact:

Jacque Demko, Associate Director of Stewarding Native Lands, at (813) 244-9781 or jdemko@firstnations.org.