Native Youth and Culture Fund

Application Deadline:

June 5, 2024

General Information

Grant Overview

First Nations believes that Native youth represent the future of Native communities and that investing in youth and giving them a sense of place and tradition in the community ensures a future of bright and capable leaders. We seek programs that meet youth where they are, support them in accomplishing their goals and dreams as future leaders, and shape pathways that prepare them for an empowered adulthood guided by their cultures and families.

In 2002, First Nations launched the Native Youth and Culture Fund (NYCF) to support tribes and Native American-led organizations that work with Native youth through programs that provide learning, leadership building, and intergenerational mentoring.

In 2024, through this Fund, two-year grants ranging from $20,000 to $60,000 will be awarded to Native youth programs and projects that focus on increasing youth leadership and providing opportunities for intergenerational transfer of knowledge.

  • 10 to 12 grants of up to $60,000 will be awarded to structured day and/or overnight camp programs that focus on recreational, cultural, educational, language, Native youth leadership and intergenerational mentoring activities. (If you are applying as a camp program you must indicate this within the application.)
  • 4 to 8 grants of up to $60,000 will be awarded to programs supporting Native youth by California-based tribes or California tribally controlled non-profit organizations.  These grants are made possible through our California Tribal Fund (CTF). The CTF was created to support California-based, California-Native-led nonprofits and tribal programs in controlling and protecting their food systems, water, languages, traditional ecological knowledge, and land.
  • 10 to 12 grants of up to $60,000 will be awarded to programs supporting Native youth that demonstrate alignment with one or more of the program priorities (see below).

Native Youth and Culture Fund Priorities

All proposals must demonstrate their project or program will carry out one or more of the following:

  • Provide structured day or overnight camp activities.  Camps are defined as structured day or overnight programs that focus on recreational, cultural, educational, youth leadership, and intergenerational mentoring activities.
  • Focus on preserving, strengthening, or renewing cultural and/or spiritual practices, beliefs, and values of Native youth.
  • Engage youth and elders in activities that demonstrate methods for documenting traditional knowledge systems, practices, and/or beliefs.
  • Increase youth leadership and their capacity to lead through intergenerational educational or mentoring programs.
  • Increase youth access to and sharing of cultural customs and beliefs and traditional Native art forms using appropriate technologies (traditional and/or modern), as a means of reviving or preserving tribal language, arts, history, or other culturally relevant topics.

Grant Period

The grant period for this funding opportunity will commence in July 2024, and end in July 2026.

Grant Award Ceiling

Total requested funds under this funding opportunity should not exceed $60,000.

Grant Submission Deadline

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

Applications are due June 5, 2024, no later than 5 pm Mountain Time.

Notifications of awards will be made by June 30, 2024.

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.

First Nations cannot make any 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.

Download a PDF version of this application here.

Type of Eligible Entities

Tribes, Native-controlled nonprofits, and Native-controlled community organizations using a fiscal sponsor, located in the United States or U.S. territories are eligible to apply. First Nations considers “Native-controlled” to mean that the majority (51% or more) of the organization’s Board of Directors is tribally affiliated.

  • 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.

Use of Grant Funds

Funds may be used for programmatic, administrative, and organizational capacity-building activities that support Native youth programs. Matching funds are not required under this grant.

Examples of include, but are not limited to:

  • Staff salaries
  • Curriculum development
  • Honoraria
  • Strengthening technological and informational systems
  • Food purchases
  • Materials
  • Program evaluation

All applicants must complete the First Nations online grant application, including submission of necessary attachments, by accessing First Nations’ Online Application system to begin a new application here.

Applications will consist of the following:

  • A concise description of the project and who it will serve.
  • At least three specific goals/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 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 must submit a list of their Board of Directors, with tribal affiliation of each director where applicable. Community organizations with fiscal sponsors must submit a list of their leadership team, with tribal affiliation of each team member where applicable. Tribal programs and governments must 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, Tribal government programs, and community organizations with fiscal sponsors should submit a list of key staff who will be responsible for overseeing and implementing the proposed project. This document should be uploaded as a PDF file.
  • Budget. This is 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. (Sample Budget Form) – Note submission in this format is not required.
  • Timeline. This is a detailed project timeline that documents important project activities for each identified objective. Include staff responsible for implementing the project activities and when they will be completed. The document must be uploaded as a PDF or Excel file. (Sample Timeline Form) – Note submission in this format is not required.

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 by June 30, 2024, regarding the status of proposals. 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 5pm Mountain Time on June 5, 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 proposals that:

  • Are solid matches to one or more of the NYCF requirements.
  • Have a clear focus on perpetuating traditional knowledge, language, spirituality, and intergenerational connections through program activities and/or through activities provided by structured day and overnight camps.
  • Demonstrate the ability, and/or experience necessary to accomplish the project.
  • Have a clear plan of action with specific, measurable, and realistic goals and objectives.
  • Have an accurate, reasonable and consistent project or program budget.
  • Include partnerships and/or direct engagement of target audiences to understand their needs and facilitate planning/implementation of activities.

To see a list of previous NYCF recipients, please visit First Nations’ website at https://www.firstnations.org/projects/native-youth-and-culture-fund/


Grant Requirements

Evaluation and Reporting

Grantees must complete one report in year one, either written or verbally, halfway through the grant period, and one report in year two. Each report will consist of three main items: (1) a narrative section updating on project objectives, successes and challenges; (2) a financial expenditure report; and (3) demographic information on youth served. First Nations will provide grantees with instructions for submitting these reports before each report is due.

The reports will enable First Nations to (1) tell grantee stories, including accomplishments, challenges, impact, and programming practices; and (2) measure the impact of funding support on grantee programs.

First Nations may periodically ask grantees to participate in brief surveys or interview during the grant period.


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:
May 13, 2024, at 11 am, Mountain Time (1 hour)
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 several 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:

Abi Whiteing, Director of Programs, at (303) 774-7836 or awhiteing@firstnations.org

A.J. Garcia, Program Officer, at (303) 774-7836 or agarcia@firstnations.org.

For information related to California Tribal Fund sponsored grants, please contact:

Anthony Mota, Program Associate at (303) 774-7836 or amota@firstnations.org.