NAFSI Keepseagle Fast Track Grants to Support Native Farmer & Rancher Organizations

NAFSI Keepseagle Fast Track Grants to Support Native Farmer & Rancher Organization

Application Deadline:

Monday, December 16, 2019

Apply Now
General Information

For 38 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 year-end 2018, First Nations has successfully managed 1,575 grants totaling more than $32.8 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 entrepreneurially related food ventures.

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is now accepting applications under our Native Agricultural and Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI). First Nations expects to award 18-20 grants averaging $30,000 to organizations in Native communities with the goal of growing and/or expanding programs that serve or directly collaborate with Native American farmers and ranchers.  In sum, the goal of these grants is to provide much-needed grant assistance to grow or expand programmatic and other services to organizations in Native communities that serve Native farmers and ranchers. Organizations that are collaborations of Native Farmers and Ranchers, and/or cohorts of Native farmers and Ranchers that have not been formalized as a nonprofit are encouraged to apply through a fiscal sponsor.

Grant support is made possible through the Native American Agriculture Fast Track Fund (NAAFTF). The Keepseagle settlement was the result of a class-action lawsuit that sought to hold the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) accountable for discrimination against Native American farmers and ranchers in USDA loan servicing, processing, outreach, and technical assistance.  As part of the settlement process, the Native American Agriculture Fast Track Fund (NAAFTF) awarded funds to a select number of organizations to support agricultural, business assistance, or advocacy services to Native Americans. For more information on the Keepseagle Settlement, please visit the following website: https://nativeamericanagriculturefund.org/history/ With support from the Native American Agriculture Fast Track Fund (NAAFTF), First Nations will be awarding grants totaling $647,000.

The grant period for this funding opportunity will commence March 1, 2020 and end February 28, 2021.


Organizations that received direct support from the Native American Agriculture Fast Track Fund (NAAFTF) are not eligible to apply.

Organizations eligible to apply include U.S.-based, Native American-controlled, nonprofit 501(c)(3), tribal organizations, Native §7871 organizations, or Native American community-based groups that further Native American farming and ranching activities, in a manner designed to assist individual Native American farmers and ranchers.  Organizations that are represent farmers and ranchers, but have not been formally organized as a non-profit are encouraged to apply with a fiscal sponsor.

Farming is inclusive of traditional forms of agriculture such as gathering and fishing.  Priority will be given to projects aimed at expanding outreach and needed services to Native farmers, ranchers, and producers leading to increased capacity, revenue and other positive farm outputs that will grow farmer capacity and Native farms and ranch operations. Moreover, this project will give priority to organizations that can assist and contribute to capacity-building, training activities that will grow the human capital and organizational capacity and increase the long-term sustainability and self-sufficiency of Native farmers and ranchers and increase the growth/sustainability of the economy and agricultural sector in Native communities.

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

  • Federal and State Recognized Tribal Governments and Departments (including but not limited to Heritage Departments, Economic Development Entities, Natural Resources, Agricultural Departments, etc.)
  • Native-controlled 501(c)(3) nonprofits
  • Native-controlled community organizations with fiscal sponsorship
  • Native §7871 Organizations
  • Fiscal Sponsor for organizations of Native Farmers and ranchers that have not been formally incorporated

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


Proposal Requirements:

  • A brief history of the organization, its mission and food systems work.
  • A concise description of the project and how it serves Native American farmers and ranchers.
  • At least three specific and measurable objectives to be accomplished during the project year.
  • A summary of project activities and how they will be implemented.
  • A description of the project purpose, descriptions of community and youth involvement, and an explanation of who will be served.
  • Full narrative proposal that describes how goals and objectives will be achieved and how the project activities will help reach intended goals/objectives.
  • Detailed evaluation plan for your project, including identification of data to be collected, method of data collection, who will collect the data and how the data and any analysis will be utilized to improve or guide the project.
  • A budget narrative that describes how the line items in your budget will help meet your project deliverables.
  • Information on additional funding sources your project is utilizing (if any).

The following required 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.
  • Description of Key Leadership Staff. Native-controlled nonprofits and community organizations with fiscal sponsors should submit a list of key staff who will be responsible for overseeing and implementing the proposed project. Tribal programs and governments should submit a list of key staff responsible for overseeing and implementing the proposed project. This document should be uploaded as a PDF file.
  • Budget. (Download Required Budget Form) An estimated budget for the proposed project with a detailed cost breakdown that is reasonable and directly related to proposed grant activities and includes one or several line items addressing costs of at least $2,000 to support required project evaluation activities. This form must be uploaded as an Excel file.
  • Timeline. (Download Required Timeline Form) A detailed project timeline that documents important project activities for each identified objective. Include staff who will be responsible for the implementation of the project activities and when each activity will be completed. The form provided is in Excel format and it must be uploaded as an Excel file or PDF file.

All applicants must complete the First Nations online grant application, including submission of necessary attachments.

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 requested 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 funding opportunity 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.

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.

Please allow yourself enough time to submit a complete application before the deadline, as the system will shut down automatically at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time on December 13, 2018, and no data may be entered thereafter. We do not accept partial, faxed, emailed or mailed applications. Applications that are not received on time due to user error will not be considered.

All applicants must complete a proposal in the First Nations online grant application, including submission of necessary attachments, no later than December 16, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

Selection Criteria

Selected grantees under this opportunity must use funding to support projects in Native communities with the goal of growing and/or expanding services or programs to Native American farmers and ranchers. Examples of allowable activities under this funding opportunity include, but are not limited to:

  • Native farmer and rancher trainings
  • Capacity and skill building services offered to producers
  • Cooperative management programs
  • Projects that focus on multiple producers
  • Intergenerational or youth focused farming and ranching programs
  • Engaging farmers and ranchers in plans for local food system control
  • Program focused on increasing business operations or access to capital
  • Projects connecting farms to market opportunities, technical assistance and more.

Examples of unallowable activities under this funding opportunity include:

  • Capital construction projects (which includes the construction, purchase, renovation, and/or furnishing of facilities)
  • Scholarships or tuition assistance
  • Films, television and/or radio programs
  • Endowments
  • Development campaigns
  • Funding for individuals
  • Purchase of Real Estate
  • Support of lobbying activities or drafting legislation
  • Support of litigation
Grant Requirements

Evaluation & Reporting: NAFSI grantees will be required to submit one final report. This report will enable First Nations to (1) gain further understanding of your program (2) tell grantee stories, including accomplishments, challenges, impact, and programming practices; and (3) measure the impact of funding support on grantee programs.

First Nations L.E.A.D. Conference Attendance: All applicants should include at least $2,000 in their proposed application budgets for travel to send at least one individual to attend the bi-annual L.E.A.D. Conference. More information will be forthcoming regarding the location, time, and dates of the conference. However, the travel funds should be included in the proposed program budgets.


First Nations Development Institute will hold two informational webinars to address any questions on the following dates:

  • Friday, November 22, 2019, 11:00am-12:00pm Mountain Time.

Register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4550532683930044941

  • Monday, November 25, 2019, 1:00pm-2:00pm Mountain Time.

Register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3573173499465087501

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; however, applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in one or both of the calls.

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 call for applications or this specific funding opportunity, please contact Yadira Rivera by email at yrivera@firstnations.org or by phone at 303-774-7836.

Application Deadline: Monday, December 16, 2019, 5 p.m. MT