First Nations receives W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant of $1.8 million

FNDI screenshot courtesy: Lisa J. Ellwood, Indian Country Today Correspondent and Press Pool Manager

Press Pool

Grant will support further Native food sovereignty efforts

News Release

First Nations Development Institute

irst Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has received a $1.8 million grant over three years from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to help Native American communities build more equitable food systems to promote the health and well-being of children and families.

This grant allows First Nations to significantly build upon WKKF’s longtime and substantial support of First Nations’ Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI) by partnering with Native communities and organizations to expand peer learning, networking, capacity building and philanthropic engagement. These community and economic development efforts will advance support for Native organizations and tribes working toward food sovereignty; improve health, nutrition and the perpetuation of traditional Native foods and cultural practices; and boost the growing national Native food sovereignty movement.

Over the next three years, First Nations will annually convene groups of 25 Native food-systems practitioners and provide them with extensive learning, networking and capacity building opportunities to strengthen a community of practice. In addition to smaller convenings, virtual and in-person, practitioners will attend First Nations’ 2019 and 2021 Food Sovereignty Summits, which will be co-hosted by the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin in Green Bay. In 2020, the primary convening will occur during First Nations’ L.E.A.D. Institute Conference. The biennial L.E.A.D. (Leadership, Entrepreneurial and Apprenticeship Development) Conference is an intensive learning, capacity building, sharing and networking event for First Nations' grantees and other tribal, nonprofit and business professionals.

First Nations also will advocate for increased Native representation within philanthropic affinity groups to highlight the varied and innovative work by Native communities to make food systems more equitable and responsive. First Nations will document program activities to address practitioners’ capacity needs by producing and widely disseminating publications focused on food sovereignty assessment processes and systemic and tribal/institutional policy efforts. Furthermore, First Nations will publish two reports – intended primarily for potential funders – to encourage more investment in Native food-system efforts.

“Since the beginning of our Native agriculture and food systems effort, WKKF has been a crucial partner in this work that meets at the intersection of economic development and food systems/food security, and we thank them for their continuing and generous support,” noted Michael E. Roberts, First Nations President & CEO. "In the past, through us, WKKF has funded numerous programs where direct operational grants were awarded to various Native food and agriculture projects. This new focus takes things up a whole level – building local capacity to raise much-needed additional funds, creating an important network and a vibrant community of practice, providing enhanced peer-learning opportunities, plus us taking an active role in helping open doors to new avenues of philanthropic funding for our partners' local projects. It's teaching to fish instead of just providing a fish."

“This grant will support Native communities in building their food systems to increase access to healthy food for children and families, create jobs, and support local economic development. Furthermore, this initiative promotes the Native food sovereignty movement which is growing in prominence and influence,” said Linda Jo Doctor, Program Officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

About First Nations Development Institute

For 38 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities.  First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit


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