Less than .01% of the world’s development funding goes directly to Indigenous communities, including the funding that is intended to benefit them. We believe that donors are failing to recognize the capacity of Indigenous communities to assess and meet the challenges they face. Putting resources in the hands of communities on the local level allows them to address their specific challenges in ways that best suit their people, their culture, and their unique set of assets. Our goal is to ensure that Indigenous communities have access to funds through a channel that values and respects their expertise, their ideas, and their voices.
At the center of First Peoples Worldwide’s Indigenous development work is our Keepers of the Earth Fund, which is designed to provide funding to locally-initiated development projects in Indigenous communities around the world. Our grants range from US$500 to US$20,000, and go to projects that are conceived and implemented by Indigenous communities themselves.
PRESERVING INDIGENOUS ASSETS
We award grants to projects that seek to control, utilize, leverage, retain, create, and increase the assets of Indigenous communities. Among these assets are land, culture, language, kinship networks, subsistence activities and personal efficacy. Projects may be geared toward addressing issues such as food security, securing rights to ancestral lands, mitigating the effects of climate change, or preserving and renewing cultural values and traditional knowledge. We follow an Indigenous development model that values wholeness and balance, in which the diverse assets of the community must be developed in synchrony.
MAKING GRANT APPLICATION ACCESSIBLE
Our grant applications are open-format and are intended to allow prospective grantees to propose projects in whatever manner suits them. We also accept video applications in order to provide an alternative to inherently confining written proposals, and to reduce our reliance on the English language and linear proposal structures. This helps ensure that the grant proposal, and the project itself, truly originate with and represent the worldview of the community.
WORKING WITH OUR COMMUNITIES
For us, grant making is not about making financial transactions. We focus on culturally appropriate development, which means facilitating changes within our communities that are consistent with their values, not just better for their economies. We also connect grantees with each other, and provide new ways to share what they are learning with a broader community. We use the grant making process to build a collaborative network of Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities around the world.
Want to support a community project? Learn how to get involved on our Join A Project page.