Less than .01% of the world’s development funding goes directly to Indigenous communities, including the funding specifically intended for their direct benefit. One of the goals of First Peoples is to increase that percentage. While, through our work, donors are starting to recognize the capacity of Indigenous communities to assess and meet the challenges they face, we still have a long way to go.. 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$10,000. All projects must be conceived and implemented by Indigenous community residents and not by people outside the community.

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 the development of a sustaining and long-lasting process to address issues such as securing rights to ancestral lands, mitigating the effects of climate change, food security, 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.

Click here to learn more about the impact our grants are having, or visit our Grantee Highlights page to learn more about specific projects. “Making Grant Application Accessible”: “Video must respond to all questions in the written application.”

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.

For First Peoples Worldwide, grantmaking is more than a financial transaction. “Through these partnerships with communities across the globe, we focus on culturally appropriate development, which means facilitating changes within our community; changes that are consistent with community values and not just change that is better for the community economy”. 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.

Guidelines for Grant Applicants and Frequently Asked Questions

Want to support a community project? Learn how to get involved on our Join A Project page.

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“We all have oral traditions, a community that we’re part of, family, culture, ancestors and leaders that we look up to. Every day, Indigenous people are losing these things. With the help of our partners and supporters, First Peoples Worldwide is working to make sure all of our cultures survive.”
-Katie Cheney, Communications Assistant

Apply for a Grant

To request funding for your Indigenous-led community project, apply for a Keepers of the Earth grant now.

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Apply for a Grant: Video!

First Peoples Worldwide is now accepting grant applications in video form as an alternative to our written application!

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