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First Nations Development Institute

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is now accepting grant proposals through a new effort known as the Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign under its Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative, or NAFSI. First Nations will award up to five grants of $75,000 to $100,000 each to support Native American-led efforts aimed at advancing new policies and innovative policymaking approaches that benefit Native American nutrition and health. These can involve efforts to improve access to healthy foods, reduce consumption of sugary beverages and foods, strengthen food sovereignty work that is rooted in tradition, culture and Indigenous knowledge, or other approaches.

The Fertile Ground Advocacy Campaign is made possible through the Policy Innovation Fund, which was developed jointly by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) and its Voices for Healthy Kids initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The $1.6 million Policy Innovation Fund is a continuation of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and American Heart Association’s partnership to promote Native-led dietary health advocacy, which first began in 2015. Other elements of the campaign include leadership development, technical assistance, and movement-building activities to support the growing nutrition and health movement in Indian Country.

The Request for Proposals can be found at

All applications must be submitted via the First Nations online grant application system. Organizations eligible to apply include federal- or state-recognized tribal governments (including tribally-run programs or departments), Native-controlled 501(c)(3) nonprofits, Native-controlled community-based organizations with a fiscal sponsor, and Native Section 7871 organizations.

Specifically, First Nations seeks projects that promote the development and passage of policies and policy systems change. These could include such things as “ground-softening” efforts and campaigns focused on increasing access to healthy, affordable and Native-produced food, or improving nutrition and health outcomes for Native peoples.

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There are two informational Q&A webinars scheduled that will be helpful as you prepare your applications.

About Nations Development Institute

For more than 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. 

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Shakopee Mdewakanton, American Heart Association launch $1.6 million campaign to support Native nutrition, health advocacy