Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign

Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign Grant Opportunity

Application Deadline:

April 9, 2019

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General Information

Grant Overview

With the generous support of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and the American Heart Association (AHA), First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has launched the Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign that will provide grants to promote policy activity and development. The grants will support Native-led advocacy efforts to advance new policies and innovative policymaking approaches that will benefit Native American nutrition and health by improving access to healthy foods, reducing consumption of sugary beverages and foods, and strengthening food sovereignty work that is rooted in tradition, culture and Indigenous knowledge. Through the Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign, First Nations expects to award up to five grants of $75,000 to $100,000 each to support Native American-led advocacy efforts. This campaign falls under First Nations’ Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative, or NAFSI.

The Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign is made possible by the Policy Innovation Fund, which was developed by SMSC and AHA and its Voices for Healthy Kids initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Policy Innovation Fund aims to directly support grantmaking for Native nutrition and health policy work. Other elements of the campaign include leadership development, technical assistance and movement-building activities to support the growing nutrition and health movement in Indian Country.

To support the success of Native grantees and advocates, the American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF), a Native-governed nonprofit organization, will provide technical assistance as a part of this grant. This will include regular consultations with grantees, trainings, onsite visits and support for grantee convening and planning activities.

Grant Period

The grant period for this funding opportunity will commence May 1, 2019, and end April 30, 2020.

Grant Award Ceiling

Total requests for project budgets within this funding opportunity should not exceed $100,000.

Application Deadline

Applications are due Tuesday, April 9, 2019, no later than 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

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.


About First Nations Development Institute

For more than 38 years and through a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore control and stewardship of tribal assets to Native communities — be they land, human, cultural, economic, or natural resources. First Nations serves American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities throughout the United States. 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 entrepreneurially related food ventures.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. They team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.

About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a federally recognized, sovereign Native American tribe located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Following a Dakota tradition of generosity, the SMSC is one of the top philanthropists in Minnesota and is the largest contributor to Native American tribes and causes across the country. It is a strong community partner and a leader in protecting and restoring natural resources. The SMSC’s government, Gaming Enterprise, and various other enterprises are collectively the largest employer in Scott County.

About the American Indian Cancer Foundation

The American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF) is a national, Native-governed, 501(c)3 nonprofit health organization dedicated to improving access to prevention, early detection, treatment and survivor support to eliminate the cancer burdens experienced by American Indian and Alaska Native people. AICAF partners with tribal and urban organizations to co-create effective and sustainable cancer solutions that are culturally appropriate. AICAF believes Native communities possess the wisdom to find innovative solutions that are community-centered to address cancer inequities. AICAF provides capacity building through training, technical assistance and resources to tribal and urban partners to achieve these shared objectives. For more information, visit AmericanIndianCancer.org.

Download a PDF version of this RFP

Applicant Eligibility

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

  • Federal- and State-Recognized Tribal Governments (Tribal Government Programs such as Food and Agriculture Programs, Economic Development Entities, etc.).
  • 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.


Application Deadline

Applications are due Tuesday, April 9, 2019, no later than 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

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.

Online Application Process & Required Attachments

All applicants must complete the First Nations online grant application, including submission of necessary attachments, no later than Tuesday, April 9, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. 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 the 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 here.

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

Attachment A: Budget. 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: Implementation Schedule Template. 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 Implementation Schedule Template)

Attachment C: 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.

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 using a fiscal sponsor 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

Selection Criteria

First Nations seeks projects that promote the development and passage of policies and policy systems change. These could include such things as “ground-softening” efforts and campaigns focused on increasing access to healthy, affordable and Native-produced food, or improving nutrition and health outcomes for Native peoples. Selection will favor activities that demonstrate:

  • Innovative changes to existing policies or new policies in Indian Country and/or affecting Native people regarding improving nutrition and health outcomes.
  • That they can help strengthen Native American, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian communities.
  • A clear focus of advocacy campaigns that advance a specific public policy or policy systems change.
  • Proper alignment with stated funding priorities and eligibility guidelines.
  • The ability and/or experience necessary to successfully promote and pass the proposed policy.
  • 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 budget.
  • Periodic assessment, documentation and dissemination of progress and final results.
  • Feasibility, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of proposed project.
  • Sufficient organizational capacity to successfully implement the proposed project or programs.
  • Projects involving community organizing around access to healthy foods, nutrition and other health outcomes.
  • Direct engagement of target audiences within the planning, implementation and evaluation process.

Allowable & Unallowable Grant Activities

Selected grantees under this opportunity must use funding to advance Native American nutritional and health-related policies, policymaking approaches, community power, and change at the tribal, local, state and national levels. Projects should work to improve nutrition and health outcomes, including but not limited to leading community organizing, increasing Native access to healthy foods, nutrition and health outcomes. Youth-led projects are encouraged, as are projects that include engagement of youth advocates

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

  • Policy advocacy
  • Policy drafting
  • Policy implementation
  • Policy Research
  • “Ground-softening” directly leading to policy work
  • Policy meeting

Examples of unallowable activities under this funding opportunity include:

  • Lobbying
  • Entertainment
  • Construction
  • Other non-advocacy expenses
Grant Requirements

Grant Expectations

Evaluation & Reporting: Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign grantees will be required to submit progress and final reports. These reports will enable First Nations, AHA and SMSC 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.


Application Q&A Sessions

First Nations will host two optional Question & Answer (Q&A) Webinars Sessions for interested applicants prior to the application deadline. These Q&A sessions will provide an opportunity for applicants to ask questions about the application, selection criteria, guidelines or other related questions. Participation is NOT mandatory, but applicants are strongly encouraged to participate.

The Application Q&A Webinars will be held on:

  • Friday, March 15, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time
  • Thursday, March 21, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. Mountain Time

Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/442756137492571915
The Webinar ID is: 833-383-995

Grantseeker Resources

First Nations has compiled a number of free resources related to the grantwriting 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 grantwriting 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.