We award Keepers of the Earth grants to projects that empower Indigenous communities. This encompasses a wide range of projects, and we try not to place too many restrictions on what type of project we will fund.
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
Due to limited grant money and the focus of our grantmaking mission,
WE DO NOT FUND:
● 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:
IS THE PROJECT COMMUNITY INITIATED?
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.
IS THE PROJECT HOLISTIC IN ITS APPROACH?
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.
IS THE PROJECT VALUES BASED?
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.
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Have more questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.