Who We Fund

NDN’s geographic grantmaking focus is Turtle Island (also known as North America), which includes the post-colonial regions of the United States and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Borikén/Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Canada and Mexico. We honor the self-determination of Indigenous people of Turtle Island through all of our grantmaking.

NDN Foundation provides grants to Indigenous-led organizations, Tribes, groups, projects and individuals whose work, goals and intentions align with the NDN mission, values, core principles and strategies.

“Indigenous-led” is defined as:

  • 100% board of directors/decision makers
  • 70% staff

While national or international organizations may be supported, NDN prioritizes community-led solutions and community-based organizations, for it is community-led solutions and organizations that are most often under-funded, under-resourced, under-invested and underestimated.

NDN grantmaking is intended to honor and advance the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples through:

  • flexible
  • multi-year
  • meaningful grant support

The land on which we live and the natural resources on which we depend are inextricably linked to our identities, cultures, livelihoods, as well as our physical and spiritual well-being. The total estimated population of Indigenous Peoples is approximately 370 million people worldwide (5% of the global population). We use Indigenous Peoples with an “s” to recognize the diversity of individuals and groups that identify with the term, which has been distilled to a singular noun throughout history in an attempt to group our people together rather than recognize our differences and diversity. This is consistent with the UN Declaration on The Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

NDN Collective defines Indigenous Peoples

NDN Collective defines Indigenous peoples as ethnic communities whose ancestry descends from the earliest, original inhabitants of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied, and/or colonized the region more recently.


Values and mission alignment: NDN Foundation provides grants to Indigenous-led organizations, Tribal Nations, groups, projects and individuals whose work, goals and intentions align with the NDN mission, values, core principles and strategies.  NDN grantmaking is intended to honor and advance the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. 

         Our Mission

Geographic focus: North America:  Canada, Mexico, and the United States, including Borikén/ Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  


Grantmaking may be provided to the following recipients:

  • Indigenous-led non-profit organizations within the U.S. Indigenous-led is defined as 100% board of directors/decision-makers, and 70% staff. If the organization is not currently Indigenous-led, applicants must present a plan for achieving 100% Indigenousleadership and 70% staffing if not meeting this criteria at time of application.  
  • U.S.-based tribal non-profit entities or tribal programs, Alaska Native Villages, or their non-profit entities.
  • First Nations or Aboriginal communities, groups, and organizations based in Canada.
  • Indigenous communities, groups, and organizations based in Mexico.
  • Indigenous owned businesses in the US, US territories, Canada or Mexico
  • Individual Indigenous people as part of a fellowship or similar programming

NDN Collective currently only provides grants to people who are Indigenous to Turtle Island, which is also known as the post-colonial countries of the United States, Canada, Mexico and so called U.S. Territories. This may change in the future.

Organizations that do not currently meet the criteria for “Indigenous-led” can apply as long as they also submit a plan outlining how they intend to become “Indigenous-led” (100% Leadership/70% staff) in the future.


In order to receive an NDN Foundation grant, you or your organization must have a Tax Identification Number. You can apply as a non-profit organization, as an individual, a Tribe, as a First Nations, or as a Business. The Tax Identification of the entity or individual used is then responsible for the taxable income and/or accountability of the grant.

Yes. All NDN grantmaking opportunities require a verifiable tax status, whether you are an individual or organization (Tribal nation, business or nonprofit).

Organizations and Groups can establish a fiscal sponsorship with a nonprofit organization with a verifiable tax status.  This may be a local non-profit organization with which you have an established relationship or with a regional/national organization that is willing to serve as your fiscal sponsor.  Your organization/group can then apply for an NDN grant utilizing the tax status of the fiscal sponsor.  A memorandum of understanding, letter of agreement, or other form of documentation must also be submitted verifying the fiscal sponsorship (signed by both parties).


NDN grantmaking is intended to honor and advance the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. This may include flexible, unrestricted, and meaningful grant support such as:

  • Program/project support
  • General operating support
  • Organizational or Individual Capacity Building, including leadership development. Movement Building, including Indigenous narrative change.
  • Capital support, including but not limited to purchasing land, new construction, modification of existing structures and equipment.
  • Overhead or indirect costs up to 15% – Indirect costs are typically ongoing operational costs associated with the organization’s activities and projects which may not be easily identified with any specific project; administrative or other expenses, including oversight, facilities costs, accounting, grants management, legal expense or technology.

In addition to the NDN-specific project income, you may present all other sources of financial support for your project/effort, including other grant sources (tribal/government/private foundation) and individual donations.

  1. In-kind contributions, such as the use of facilities, equipment, volunteer hours (any non-cash donation to support the organization or project).
  2. Earned income, such as booth fees, merchandise, or ticket sales, etc.

Note: The project budget template focuses on the proposed project/effort and use of the NDN grant and income related to the proposed project/effort, not the entire organizational budget. The amount of your overall organizational budget is presented in the Organizational Information section.

Although we value our grantee partners’ ability to leverage our resources with others, we do not require a match.


All grantmaking decisions are made by NDN staff, with guidance from trusted community advisors, leaders and practitioners.  A process to manage conflicts of interest is in place. We receive many compelling requests.  Grant resources are always less than the volume of requests received. If you receive a decline, we may not be able to provide specific, detailed feedback due to our capacity.  We intentionally funnel resources to community rather than build an extensive administrative apparatus. If your grant request is not funded, please carefully consider the guidelines of each unique funding stream and try again.