Breastfeeding and First Foods Grant Opportunity

Application Deadline:

November 30, 2021, no later than 5 pm Mountain Time

General Information

With the support of the Keepseagle endowment, First Nations will establish a Breastfeeding and First Foods Grant that reinforces Native traditional food systems, supports producers/practitioners of traditional food systems, and communicates the value of traditional foods in a Tribal food system. The Breastfeeding and First Foods Grant aims to support communities and programs focused on increasing access to first foods and supporting culturally appropriate lactation practices for Native parents, caretakers and young children. Food preferences begin early, making the diet of both the lactating parent and child important for the future health and dietary habits of the child. This opportunity supports projects that focus on 1) promoting breastfeeding practices, 2) boosting nutrition of lactating parents, 3) increasing traditional food access for infants and young children, and 4) enriching community-led food production with a focus on youth involvement.

Through the first round of the Breastfeeding and First Foods Grant opportunity, First Nations expects to award up to 12 grant awards of approximately $32,000 to support Native American-led breastfeeding and early childhood nutrition work. 

The grant period for this funding opportunity will commence January 1, 2022, and end December 31, 2022.

Grant Award Ceilings

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

Application Deadlines

Applications are due November 30, 2021.

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 a PDF of this RFP here.

Applicant Eligibility

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.

Selected grantees under this opportunity must use funding to support work contributing to empowering breastfeeding practices in Native communities and decreasing reliance on non-traditional, highly processed foods in lactating parents’ diets and early childhood diets. Emerging projects are encouraged to apply.

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

  • Creating and leading workshops on breastfeeding and/or breastfeeding support groups, including salaries and staff time
  • Community services such as in-house breastfeeding support
  • Conducting a community assessment of prenatal exposure to first foods and/or first food consumption during lactation
  • Projects aimed at increasing local food system control, including increasing access to first foods
  • Increasing local traditional food distribution to families with newborns/young children
  • Community trainings for midwives, doulas, or lactation consultants
  • Community efforts to expose young children and their caregivers to traditional food

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

All applicants must complete the First Nations online grant application, including submission of necessary attachments, no later than November 30, 2021.

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:

  • Program Budget. An estimated budget for the proposed project with a detailed cost breakdown that is reasonable and directly related to proposed grant activities. (Download Project Budget Template)
  • Program 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)
  • 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.
  • Board of Directors & 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 who will be responsible for overseeing and implementing the proposed project. 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


Grant Requirements

Evaluation & Reporting: Breastfeeding and First Foods grantees will be required to participate in a group meeting to discuss successes, difficulties, and lessons learned from their project. Additionally, grantees will participate in one research survey.


First Nations will host an optional Question & Answer (Q&A) Session 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:

  • Thursday, November 11, 2021, at 11am MT

Register here.

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.