Funding Available for 2013 Native Youth & Culture Fund Projects

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is a national Native nonprofit organization established in 1980 to work with Native peoples, including American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, and is a catalyst for social and economic justice. First Nations' mission is to assist Indigenous peoples to control and develop their assets and, through that control, build the capacity to direct their economic futures in ways that fit their cultures. First Nations funds tribal programs and Native nonprofits located in or near Indian Country, including Hawaii and Alaska.

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 the overall community. 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.

First Nations is pleased to announce this 2013 request for proposals (RFP) for projects that focus on youth, and incorporate culture and tradition to address social issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, mental health or others. Specifically, First Nations is seeking projects 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, practices, and/or beliefs, where culturally appropriate.
  • 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.

First Nations expects to award approximately 20 grants. Some projects may have previously received funding through the Native Youth and Culture Fund (NYCF), and are seeking additional support to expand the original project, with a view toward sustainability. First Nations would prefer to review projects of no longer than one year in length, and with budgets between $5,000 and $20,000. Only in very exceptional cases, will First Nations consider projects that do not fit these guidelines.

Eligible applicants include tribal governments, tribal programs or Native nonprofits in or near Indian Country. If applicants are not a tribal government, 501(c) (3), a 7871, or CDFI, they must have a fiscal sponsor that is. First Nations does not require federal recognition for tribal governments; however, you must have, at a minimum, proof of state recognition. Nonprofits that apply must be in a tribal community or have a very close tie to a particular tribal community or communities. Urban groups that serve only off-reservation tribal members are very unlikely to be funded as First Nations works with tribal communities. This program does not fund public schools.

Submission Requirements
The proposal selection process is a two-phase competitive process:

  • Phase I: Submit proposal online using the call for proposal submission online form. The deadline to submit proposals is 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on March 1, 2013. Proposal requirements include: 1) general organization information including a brief history of the organization; 2) a concise description of the project and who it will serve; 3) at least three specific and measurable objectives to be accomplished during the project year; 4) a First Nations Development Institute RFP summary of how the anticipated project activities will be implemented; and 5) an estimated budget for the proposed project. NOTE: First Nations' online system will shut down automatically at 5 p.m. Mountain Time on March 1st and no further data or information can be entered. Please plan accordingly, waiting until the last hour is strongly not recommended as your proposal must be completed by 5 p.m. Mountain Time. No other format will be accepted for proposal submission and applications not submitted by the deadline will not be accepted. No exceptions.
  • Phase II: Approximately 45 organizations will be selected from the initial pool of applicants to submit a phase two proposal due April 26, 2013. Applicants will be notified by March 27, 2013. First Nations expects to award approximately 20 grants from the pool of phase two applicants. First Nations will work with prospective grantees to obtain any missing but necessary information in support of its final decision.

Technical Assistance and Travel Requirement
Each applicant will be required to allocate and set aside $1,000 of its proposed requested funds for attendance at a mandatory technical assistance and training event to be hosted by First Nations. This amount must be included in the total amount requested and the total requested cannot exceed $20,000 as noted above. The monies will be utilized for travel, travel-related costs and lodging for this First Nations NYCF Training Summit. It is anticipated that the required (one staff person per grantee) NYCF Training Summit will be held in September or October 2013.

Selection Criteria
First Nations seeks projects that:

  1. are solid matches between the project purpose and one or more of the NYCF priorities;
  2. demonstrate innovative and comprehensive activities;
  3. have a clear focus on building healthier communities through preserving, strengthening or renewing Native culture and cultural traditions among youth;
  4. demonstrate the ability and/or experience necessary to accomplish the project;
  5. have a clear plan of action, specific goals and objectives, and a process to periodically assess, document, and disseminate progress and lessons learned;
  6. are feasible, cost-effective, and sustainable;
  7. form partnerships and/or engage broad community participation and support; and
  8. have potential for application and replication in other Native communities.

Review, Notification and Timelines
First Nations will review only review those proposals that are submitted by eligible entities (tribal programs or Native nonprofits in or near Indian Country); those that are complete; and those that are received by the submission deadline, March 1, 2013. All applicants will be notified by email on March 27, 2013, as to whether or not they will be invited to submit a full proposal. Phase two proposals will be due by Friday, May 3, 2013. Award notifications will be made by May 24, 2013. The first grant payment will be made upon return and receipt of the award letter in time for projects to begin by summer 2013. The grant year will run from June 1, 2013 - May, 31, 2014.

Request for Proposals that are incomplete or received after the deadline will NOT be considered.

For additional information about this process, please contact Marsha Whiting at (303) 774-7836, ext. 22 or email her at You can also learn more about the NYCF program by visiting Thank you for your time and good luck!