Application Guidelines

The First Peoples Worldwide Keepers of the Earth Fund provides grants that empower Indigenous communities to address local issues by taking control of their assets. The issues as well as the list of local assets compel and encourage a wide range of projects. See our grants page to get a better idea on what type of project we will fund.

Grant amounts for first-time applicants range from $500 to $5,000. If you have been awarded a Keepers of the Earth grant before and your project was successful, your next project is more likely to be approved for a larger grant. The largest possible grant award is US$10,000. All applicants must:

● Be Indigenous-led or represent an Indigenous-led project
● Be a grassroots/local organization or group
● Have an organizational bank account or access to a fiscal sponsor

Each grantee is considered a “partner” with First Peoples Worldwide. Each project is considered a process of development that benefits the community: leadership development, community development, etc. Community changes over time is measured based on the values and vision of the community. The vision and goals of our partner communities along with the mission of First Peoples Worldwide, guide the project development process from inception to evaluation. Our grantmaking process includes regular and ongoing dialogue with our grantees.

The criteria for making grants and evaluating projects is supported by the values, beliefs, and philosophies that have been handed down through the centuries by Indigenous ancestors: strong cultural ties, community based, reciprocity & sharing, spiritual connection of all life, strong kinship ties, balance, and stewardship of the earth’s resources.

Due to limited grant money and the focus of our grantmaking mission,

● Projects that do not originate from or are not led by an Indigenous community
● Travel to the United States
● Disaster relief
● Missionary Projects
● Fees associated with lawsuit proceedings or representation
● Electoral campaign activities
● Conference registration fees
● Work being done by an individual
● Scholarships or school application fees
● Event fundraising, fundraising campaigns, costs associated with the soliciting of endowment funds, or deficit funding

The largest possible grant award is US$20,000. Grant amounts for first-time applicants range from $500 to $5,000. If you have been awarded a Keepers of the Earth grant before and your project was successful, your next project is more likely to be approved for a larger grant.

At First Peoples Worldwide, we don’t see ourselves as gatekeepers of funding, but as partners with our communities. We have crafted our grant-making process to be an equal and reciprocal dialogue with our grantees. Our grant criteria are based on whether proposed projects share our values, goals, and philosophy in supporting Indigenous Peoples.

Here are the basic questions we ask ourselves when considering a grant proposal:

It is important for Indigenous communities to be in control of their own development—and therefore their own destinies. First Peoples Worldwide strongly prefers to fund development projects that are imagined and implemented by communities without intermediaries. Where communities apply for grants through outside organizations, we expect to see that the community itself has initiated the project and intends to take responsibility for implementing the project over the long term.

In evaluating a grant application, we look for projects that incorporate social, environmental, economic, and cultural concerns equally while addressing the immediate needs of the community. It is essential that proposals demonstrate an approach based on the interconnectedness of people, assets and environment. For example, we would likely fund a project that brings community members together to build clean-water wells that are designed to help preserve watershed ecosystems while providing a source of income for the builders. We fund projects that nourish all of the community’s assets, including traditional knowledge, community solidarity, and cultural identity.

In essence, our grant-making strategy focuses on values. It is from a community’s cultural values that it gains its sense of vision and weighs its choices within the context of the larger world. we believe positive and lasting changes are always made with these values in mind.

The common values that Indigenous communities share include the concepts of reciprocity and sharing, respect, responsibility, caring for and honoring one another, and the interdependence of all life. We look at grant proposals on a case-by-case basis to assess whether these concepts are present in the project design, and favor those that clearly express their intentions to incorporate these values into their work. A community without a sense of purpose, belonging, and meaningful life will not benefit from economic development.

Ready to apply? Click here to begin.

Have more questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.


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“Not everything that counts can be measured, not everything that can be measured counts.”

-Albert Einstein

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