First Nations Development Institute: Native Youth and Culture Fund
First Nations began investing in Native youth by launching the Native Youth and Culture Fund (NYCF) in 2002 to partner with tribes, Native nonprofit organizations, and Native community groups working in rural and reservation-based communities and seeking ways to preserve, strengthen, and/or renew Native cultures and traditions among youth.
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 a community overall. 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.
The NYCF seeks to fund 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 other social issues. 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
Amount: First Nations expects to award approximately 20 grants ranging from $5,000-$19,500 for projects of no longer than one year in length. First Nations may consider projects that have previously received funding through NYCF and are seeking additional support to expand the original project, with a view toward sustainability.
Eligibility: All entities that apply must be located in the United States or U.S. Territories and must be Native-controlled nonprofit organizations or Native-controlled community organizations. First Nations considers “Native-controlled” to mean that the majority (more than 50%) of the organization’s Board of Directors is tribally affiliated.
Native community organizations may submit applications through a sponsoring organization if the sponsor has 501(c)(3) status, and can provide written authorization confirming its willingness to act as the fiscal sponsor. Urban groups that serve only off-reservation tribal members are unlikely to be funded, as this program is primarily for rural and reservation-based communities.
Examples of eligible applicants include, but are not limited to:
- Federal- and State-Recognized Tribal Governments
- Native-Controlled 501(c)(3) Nonprofits
- Native-Controlled Community Organizations with fiscal sponsorship
- Native § 7871 Organizations
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