Native Youth and Culture Fund Grant Opportunity

Application Deadline:

Monday, November 14, 2022, 1 pm Mountain Time

General Information

For more than 42 years, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), a Native American-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 Native people and their communities. First Nations began its national grantmaking program in 1993. Through mid-year 2022, we have successfully managed 2,702 grants totaling $54.7 million to Native American projects and organizations in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territory American Samoa. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.

Grant Overview

First Nations began investing in Native youth by launching the Native Youth and Culture Fund (NYCF) in 2002 to partner with tribes, Native nonprofit organizations, and Native community groups working in rural and reservation-based communities and seeking ways to preserve, strengthen and/or renew Native cultures and traditions among youth.

First Nations believes that Native youth represent the future of Native communities, and that their health and well-being determine the future health and well-being of a community overall. By investing in youth and giving them a sense of place and tradition in the community, a community ensures that it will have bright and capable future leaders.

We are pleased to announce this 2022 Request for Proposals (RFP) from Native-led nonprofits and organizations that are focused on providing youth opportunities that support the perpetuation of traditional knowledge, spirituality and the intergenerational transfer of knowledge systems. Specifically, we are seeking programs that focus on one or more of these four priority areas:

  • Preserving, strengthening or renewing cultural and/or spiritual practices, beliefs and values.
  • Engaging both youth and elders in activities that demonstrate methods for documenting traditional knowledge systems, practices and/or beliefs.
  • Increasing youth leadership and their capacity to lead through integrated educational or mentoring programs.
  • Increasing access to and sharing of cultural customs and beliefs through the use of appropriate technologies (traditional and/or modern), as a means of reviving or preserving tribal language, arts, history or other culturally relevant topics.

This funding is available as general operating support and can be used to build organizational/programmatic capacity or increase sustainability, or for specific youth project-focused activities. First Nations expects to award approximately 15-18 grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 for one-year general operating funding.

Grant Period

The grant period for this funding opportunity will commence December 15, 2022, and end December 31, 2023. Notifications of awards will be made on or before December 15, 2022.

Grant Award Ceilings

Total requests for project budgets within this funding opportunity should not exceed $20,000.

Grant Submission Deadline

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

Proposals are due no later than Monday, November 14, 2022, at 1 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 here.

Download a PDF of this RFP here

Type of Eligible Entities

All entities that apply must be located in the United States or U.S. Territories and must be Native-controlled nonprofit organizations or Native-controlled community organizations. First Nations considers “Native-controlled” to mean that the majority (more than 50%) of the organization’s Board of Directors is tribally affiliated.

Native community organizations may submit applications through a sponsoring organization if the sponsor has 501(c)(3) status, and can provide written authorization confirming its willingness to act as the fiscal sponsor.

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

  • Federal- and State-Recognized Tribal Governments.
  • Native-Controlled 501(c)(3) Nonprofits.
  • Native-Controlled Community Organizations with fiscal sponsorship.
  • Native § 7871 Organizations.

 Grants under this project will not be made to public schools.



Application & Required Attachments

Proposal Requirements:  DUE November 14, 2022, by 1 pm Mountain Time

  • A brief history of the organization, its mission and primary programmatic focus.
  • A concise description of the project and who it will serve.
  • At least three specific goal/objectives to be accomplished with the funding.
  • A program narrative of 1,000 words or less that describes how your program perpetuates traditional knowledge, spirituality and the intergenerational transfer of knowledge systems; how your goals/objectives will be achieved; and how the funding will benefit native youth in your community.
  • A general description of how the funds will be used and the anticipated impact of general operating funding on your program or organization.

The following required attachments must be uploaded during the Stage I 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 must submit a list of their Board of Directors, with tribal affiliation of each director clearly listed next to each name 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.
  • Additional Supplemental Materials (Optional). You may attach any additional documents that help to provide more information about your work. This includes a more detailed program budget, news articles, photos, etc. Please limit uploaded documents to three pages each.  At this time we are not able accept uploaded video, however if you may include a pdf or word document that has a link to a video.

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 on or before Friday, DECEMBER 12, 2022 of award status.

Important Note:

Please allow yourself enough time to submit a complete application before the deadline, as the system will shut down automatically at 1 pm Mountain Time on Monday, November 14, 2022, 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

First Nations seeks proposals that:

  • Are solid matches to one or more of the NYCF priorities.
  • Have a clear focus on perpetuating traditional knowledge, spirituality and the intergenerational transfer of knowledge systems, resulting in compassion, respect, dignity reverence for nature, and care for each other and the Earth.
  • Demonstrate the ability, and/or experience necessary to accomplish the project.
  • Have a clear plan that describes how the funds will be used to support native youth.
  • Are feasible, cost-effective and sustainable.
  • Form partnerships and/or engage broad community participation and support.

See a list of previous NYCF recipients here.

Grant Requirements

Reporting & Evaluation

Reporting: Grantees will be required to participate in one check-in phone call with the grant program officer, and will also be required to submit one final report one month after the end of the grant period. To complete this report, grantees may be asked for general data about the Native youth served by their organizations and programs, as well as the impact of general operating funding on your organization or program. First Nations will provide grantees with specific instructions for submitting the report to First Nations prior to the report due date. The reports will enable First Nations to:

  1. Further understand programs and projects serving the Native youth.
  2. Communicate grantee stories and promising models, including accomplishments, challenges, and impact.
  3. Measure the impact of funding support on grantee programs.


Application Q&A Webinar

First Nations hosted an optional Question & Answer (Q&A) webinar for interested applicants prior to the application deadline. The Q&A webinar provided an opportunity for applicants to ask general questions about the Native Youth and Culture Fund, the grant application, selection criteria, guidelines or other related questions. Participation in the webinar was NOT mandatory.

The Application Q&A Session was held on October 18, 2022.

Access the recording.

Download the presentation materials.

Additional Questions

If you have questions about eligibility for this funding opportunity, please consider registering for and participating in the upcoming Application Q&A Webinar that will be offered by First Nations (see the Help section for more information). In addition, our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document provides further insight regarding general applicant eligibility.

Should you have any additional questions about the RFP or this specific funding opportunity, please contact Abi Whiteing by email at awhiteing@firstnations.org or Michelle Gauthier by email at mgauthier@firstnations.org.

Grantseeker Resources

First Nations has compiled a number of free resources related to the grantwriting process. Whether you are a small organization or program new to grants or one with extensive experience, these resources may help with development of your application to First Nations. Please click here to access First Nations’ free grantseeker resources.