Many foundations place a priority on grants for special populations, for example, grants for at-risk youth, grants for older people, grants for traditionally under-represented groups, and more. Over the next few months we’ll present occasional blog articles with strategies for successful grant proposals and leading agencies who fund grants for various special populations. This article focuses on funding opportunities for Native American populations.
A fundamental strategy for successful proposal development is to align and prioritize your programs, and your requests to support them, with the priorities of the funding organization(s). In our research, we have identified three areas that currently receive a lot of dollars in grant funding specifically for Native American populations: 1) housing, 2) education, and 3) health care. If you are looking for grants for American Indians and tribal authorities, you might want to focus on these areas first.
1) Native American Housing Grants
Some housing grants cover more than just building houses, extending to building entire communities and all that they entail. There are several agencies that help fund these types of grants. Here are some examples:
The Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) program, supported by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency, will help fund a range of projects, from new construction to economic growth programs, but is primarily focused on helping people of moderate to low incomes. Therefore, consider how best to set up your project in order to most appeal to the grant’s criteria.
The Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program, enabled by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996 and provided by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency, is a formula grant. (Before applying for any grant, you should know what type is being offered.) Formula grants are awarded to tribal organizations through the state, and not just anyone can apply for them. In addition, this program asks recipients to “submit an Indian Housing Plan, as well as an annual Performance Report on the progress of the funded project, each year to HUD.” It’s important to keep records in a central location, not only for a specific grant but in general, to support multiple information needs over time. Information should be systematically collected and stored so that, regardless of changes in leadership, the information is readily available whenever it’s needed, as it would be with the IHBG program.
2) Education Grants for Native Americans
The sheer number of grants available for education is astounding. That being said, landing the right grants for your organization’s needs is not so easy. Although many grants are specific to post-secondary education, some are available for primary and secondary educational programs as well.
One such education grant would be the NB3 Foundation grant, which is concerned with building leadership through sports while helping to fight type 2 diabetes by keeping kids active. This grant, funded through the Notah Begay III Foundation, is interested in supporting the healthy growth of Native children through building healthier communities. Among other accomplishments, the NB3 Foundations boasts that “from July 2012 through June 2013, NB3F served more than 4,600 Native American children and families in four states with NB3F programming.”
Another grant opportunity, the Indian Land Tenure Foundation - Head Start and K-12 Curriculum Implementation Grants program, is currently accepting letters of interest until December 15th for schools interested in implementing the Foundation’s Lessons of Our Land in one of more classrooms. The U.S. Department of Education offers Native American schools grants for both school preparedness with preschoolers, and college preparedness programs. Knowing the specific criteria of the grant is paramount in developing your proposal. When looking for Native American grant programs, keep in mind the specific goals of your organization, but be flexible with how you approach these goals.
3) Native American Health Care Grants
In addition to grants for professions in the medical field, grants are available for a range of health-related services. Most are very specific, e.g. mental health, substance abuse, suicide prevention, childhood obesity, and so on. Applying for the right grant is key to being awarded the cash.
ANA (Administration for Native Americans), working through The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has announced grants for Native Americans wishing to go into the health care field. Information for 2015 grants will be posted March 1st and applications will be accepted through April 2015. This is only one of the many grants offered through this program.
The American Heart Association offers several types of grants through its “Voices for Healthy Kids” initiative. This program, working jointly with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, works to help all kids eat healthier foods and be more active. Applications are available now on their website. At times, working with other community groups and creating relationships with other organizations might help to make your application more viable to an agency.
Summary of Tips for Successful Grants
Here are a few tips and suggestions as a summary from the information above:
1. Consider how best to set up your project in order to most appeal to the grant’s selection criteria.
2. Keep records in a central location to support multiple information needs over time. Information should be systematically collected and stored so that, regardless of changes in staff, the information is readily available whenever it is needed.
3. Knowing the specific criteria of the grant is paramount in developing your proposal. When looking for Native American grant programs, keep in mind the specific goals of your organization, but be flexible with how you approach these goals.
4. Working with other community groups and creating relationships with other organizations might help to make your application more viable to an agency.
5. Often getting started on the task of finding and writing grants can seem overwhelming, but many of these agencies also include a training manual on their website to help.
Overall, knowing what you need and being flexible with your approach will help when initially looking for grant opportunities. There are agencies working specifically with Native American tribes to improve the lives of all people. TheGrantHelpers.com has experts who can help you find and secure grants for Native American and other specific populations. To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today.
Photo Credit: Wolfgang Staudt