Grants of up to $100,000 per year, with commitments up to two years, are available to Indigenous-led organizations working in the defense, development, and/or decolonization of Indigenous Peoples and the planet.

Purpose and approach

Community Self-Determination Grants are intended to support community-based and community-driven sustainable solutions in all three of NDN Collective‚Äôs core strategies to Defend, Develop and Decolonize. Grants are intended to  support and invest in the long-term visions and sustainability of Indigenous communities and Indigenous-led organizations, fortifying the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples to create a just, equitable, and sustainable world for all people and the planet. Significant, flexible, multi-year funding will include the infusion of general operating support, capacity building, capital and holistic support for comprehensive initiatives and specific programs.

Community Self-Determination Grants are intended to strengthen and leverage long-term financial sustainability of Indigenous-led organizations, including capital support and investments. This type of funding will not only give Indigenous organizations the kind of runway that has been long understood as healthy for startups and private-sector companies, but transformative for community-based and grass-roots organizations, including those who are closest to the issues and the impact. While we fund national efforts, we intentionally prioritize grassroots, community-based efforts.  Climate justice and Indigenous justice are at the heart of the intent behind the Community Self-Determination Grant.

NDN‚Äôs grantmaking approach is based on reciprocity and mutual aid, which may include thought partnership and capacity building resources. Relationship is at the core of this approach, encouraging systemic change and participation in which the people most affected take responsibility for one another and for changing systemic conditions. It is up to the community to determine the steps for true self-determination. NDN funds can support the material needs of communities while also addressing root causes and solution building that is shaped by the community. This approach encourages innovative, creative and free thinking for long-term change.

NDN will remain steadfast in its commitment to uphold and advance regenerative, Earth-centered  principles of community and economic development. ‚ÄėRegenerative‚Äô is the ability to regrow, renew or restore, particularly after loss or damage. NDN‚Äôs commitment to a new and better normal  is also  part of community self-determination, resilience and sustainability, therefore NDN seeks to support Tribes, Indigenous nations, communities and organizations who are also committed to more innovative, sustainable solutions. NDN is deeply committed to supporting Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination that supports justice and equity for people and the planet.

These principles and the NDN Collective‚Äôs framework of Defend, Develop, Decolonize will be utilized as a lens in which to review and select grantee-partners.

Letters of Interest (LOIs) are due by 5pm MST on Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

Invitations for full applications, if selected, are expected to be released by Tuesday, September 28, 2021.   Applicants will be notified of either an invitation or declination at that time.  Final applications are due by 5pm MST on Monday, October 25, 2021.

Final Selections are expected by mid-November 2021. Community Self-Determination Project start dates will begin on or around December 1, 2021.

Criteria and eligibility

Tribes, First Nations, Inuit, Metis and Indigenous-led nonprofit organizations across Turtle Island and beyond (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), spanning North America and the post-colonial borders of the United States, Mexico and Canada are eligible to apply for one of the following Focus Areas below.

NDN Collective defines Indigenous-led as organizations or entities whose board or decision-making body composition is 100% Indigenous and whose staff composition is at least 70% Indigenous.  While organizations with less than that composition may still choose to apply, it will be expected that plans for developing and empowering 100% Indigenous leadership and decision-making are included in the proposal.

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. 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. We use Indigenous Peoples with an ‚Äús‚ÄĚ 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.

Verification of tax status is a condition of eligibility, and includes but is not limited to Tribes, LLCs, non-profit organizations, or groups with fiscal agents/sponsorships. Verification of tax status should be provided from the IRS or equivalent in your country. If you do not have verifiable tax status and are partnering with a fiscal sponsor, please provide your sponsor‚Äôs verification of tax status.  Although NDN Collective has a fiscal sponsorship program, we are not taking additional sponsorship applications at this time.

Community-driven solutions

Because this program focuses on community-driven solutions, we encourage larger nations and organizations to coordinate among your various departments to submit an application reflecting your community’s efforts to Defend, Develop and Decolonize.

It is the intent of NDN Collective to provide meaningful support across multiple regions, therefore, applicants will be expected to describe their community self-determination efforts within one of the following strategic focus areas that is best suited for their community‚Äôs  intentions and goals.  New or expanded initiatives, or capacity building of existing efforts and entities may also be supported.

Focus areas


Indigenous Peoples, communities and nations defend and protect our land, air, water and natural resources.

Efforts may include but are not limited to protecting and reclaiming lands, water, and natural resources, such as:

  • Grassroots, frontline organizing and community mobilization to defend and protect clean water, air and land from extractive industries and exploitation;
  • Indigenous-led environmental movements and efforts to stop the extraction of the earth‚Äôs natural resources on and near tribal territories.
  • Direct action efforts of the climate and environmental justice movement.


Indigenous Peoples, communities and nations are developed in a resilient, regenerative and sustainable manner based on our values and connection to land, culture and identity.

Efforts may include but are not limited to community and economic development/resilience based on sustainable, regenerative principles,  climate change solutions and mitigation, such as:

  • Sustainable food systems, food sovereignty and security initiatives; sustainable community agriculture, gardens, food harvesting and processing, community hunting and fishing, sustainable herd management, shared community food pantries and food distribution;
  • Community water initiatives; protecting or developing clean water sources; community pumps or wells, water purification and sanitation, ecological wastewater treatment systems, such as constructed wetlands, greywater systems, and composting toilet implementation, and bioremediation of contaminated soils and water;
  • Community planning and implementation of sustainable, regenerative, and innovative solutions for community preparedness and resiliency;
  • Renewable energy sources, i.e.; wind, solar, geo-thermal
  • Energy transition that is environmentally, socially and economically just; that reduces carbon emissions and footprints; Net-Zero initiatives;
  • Financial planning and transition to new or alternative revenue streams based on regenerative principles of economic and community development;
  • Resilient and regenerative infrastructure improvements or development, including housing, broadband or increased internet speed and capacity; improved or upgraded software systems and technological training to support virtual and tele-abilities to learn, access health, conduct business, up-to-date communications access;
  • Capital investments for economic mobility to diversify economies, long-term regenerative business development in various sectors, including decreasing risk of a larger investment; investments in building the capacity of people through education, training, and consulting to be well-equipped leaders in creating just, and resilient economies and infrastructure.


Indigenous ceremonies, cultures, languages and ways of life are revitalized, recognized and celebrated.

Efforts may include, but are not limited to intergenerational transmission and continuity of language, culture, ceremonial practices, traditional governance and decision-making structures, and lifeways, such as:

  • Governance and leadership transformation, transition or development grounded in Indigenous values and practices, including constitutional reforms, reintegration of traditional governance structures, or decentralized, consensus-based decision making practices;
  • Indigenous health and safety; providing and reclamation of Indigenous health, wellness, community care, healing and medicinal practices, including social, emotional, and cultural support;
  • Language revitalization – Community immersion programs; teacher preparation and language apprentice programs; family language nests;
  • Decolonized education models;
  • Youth, family and community initiatives to restore, renew and support Indigenous language, cultural practices, creativity and lifeways;
  • Community harmony, safety and protection efforts, including addressing physical and sexual violence; Indigenous peace-making and conflict resolution initiatives, community restorative justice practices, protocols and teachings.