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Strengthening The Circle

Strengthening the Circle


Economic Development

First Nations Development Institute
Through a three-pronged strategy of Educating Grassroots Practitioners, Advocating Systemic Change, and Capitalizing Indian Communities, First Nations Development Institute is working to restore Native 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 communities. www.firstnations.org

Native American Community Development Corporation
NACDCs mission is to effectively address issues that inhibit the flow of financial capital to tribal and Native American projects and businesses http://www.nacdc.org/

Oweesta helps build strong Native institutions and programs through professional services designed to build local capacity and provide powerful tools for Native community development.  Our primary programs and services are:

  • Training, TA & Consulting
  • Capitalization
  • Research, Policy & Advocacy


Rural Community Innovations
Provides technical assistance to rural and tribal communities to develop private sector economies that help alleviate persistent poverty. www.rci-usa.org/index.htm


Ben & Jerry's Foundation
Although the Ben & Jerry's Foundation doesn't prioritize any particular issue area for funding, we do focus on the types of activities and strategies an organization uses for creating social change in any number of areas. The Foundation will only consider proposals from grassroots, constituent-led organizations that are organizing for systemic social change. We support programs and projects that are examples of creative problem-solving. http://www.benjerry.com/company/foundation/

Charlotte Martin Foundation

The Charlotte Martin Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth in the areas of athletics, culture, and education and also to preserving and protecting wildlife and habitat. The Foundation supports nonprofit organizations in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. www.charlottemartin.org

Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation
The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is a philanthropic organization for the Washington Companies as well as the Washington family. The Foundation's mission is to better the human condition by supporting programs and services that give people the tools to enhance the quality of their lives and, ultimately, to benefit society as a whole. Geographically, the Foundation primarily serves the state of Montana as well as communities in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington where the Washington Companies are located. The Foundation places particular emphasis on organizations and programs that provide a direct service to economically and socially disadvantaged youth and their families, at-risk or troubled youth, and individuals with special needs. www.dpwfoundation.org

Endangered Language Fund
The Endangered Language Fund was founded with the goal of supporting endangered language preservation and documentation projects throughout the world. The Fund provides grants for language maintenance and linguistic field work. The work most likely to be funded is that which serves both the native community and the field of linguistics. Work which has immediate applicability to one group and more distant application to the other will also be considered. The language involved must be in danger of disappearing within a generation or two. Special consideration will be given to projects that involve children. Proposals can originate in any country. www.endangeredlanguagefund.org

First Interstate Bancsystem Foundation
The First Interstate BancSystem Foundation supports nonprofit organizations in Montana and Wyoming located in communities served by First Interstate. www.firstinterstatebank.com/foundation

First Peoples Fund
The mission of First People's Fund is to honor and support the creative community-centered First People's artists and nurture the collective spirit that allows them to sustain their peoples. www.firstpeoplesfund.org

First Nations Development Institute
This foundation manages several funds including: Eagle Staff Fund, Native Youth & Culture Fund, Little Eagle Staff Fund, Native American Hunger Program, Sustainable Forestry Fund and the Kookyangw Fund. Each fund has its own guidelines and some do not accept unsolicited applications. See their website for details. www.firstnations.org

Kalliopeia Foundation
The Foundation supports projects that contribute to a growing awareness of what unifies, rather than divides, all people. Through its grantmaking programs, the Foundation supports the work of people committed to holistic personal, community and planetary transformation, and healing based on the recognition that we are at the core one humanity, expressing itself through myriad ways and forms. The Foundation supports projects initiated or substantially managed from within Native communities that protect, strengthen, and encourage the flourishing of indigenous peoples, their culture, and worldview. This includes the revitalization and preservation of indigenous languages, as well as the protection of sacred traditions, ways of living, and sacred sites. Programming also includes work that bridges the teachings and wisdom of indigenous cultures with the challenges we are facing in our current planetary crisis. www.kalliopeia.org

Lannan Foundation
The Foundation supports special projects requiring multi-year commitments of funding and technical assistance in the areas of contemporary visual art, literature, indigenous communities, and issues of cultural freedom. The Foundation is particularly interested in projects that encourage freedom of inquiry, imagination, and expression. Funding for projects in indigenous communities supports the resolve of Native people to renew their communities through their own institutions and traditions. Funding priority is given to rural community projects that are consistent with traditional values in the areas of environmental protection and advocacy, legal rights, language revitalization, traditional culture, and education. Grant awards are made to organizations that are Native-led and benefit a significant portion of the community. www.lannan.org

Northwest Area Foundation
Supporting rural/urban Indian community-based projects in MN, IA, ND, SD, MT, ID, WA & OR to create economic opportunities by developing & implementing strategic approaches to reduce poverty. www.nwaf.org

O.P and W.E. Edwards Foundation
The O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funding. Please see website for details. http://foundationcenter.org/grantmaker/edwards/policy.html

Open Meadows Foundation
The Open Meadows Foundation is a grantmaking organization which funds projects that are led by and benefit women and girls. The Jeanne Meurer Indigenous Women's Fund supports projects related to issues concerning indigenous women. www.openmeadows.org

PPL Montana Community Fund
The PPL Montana Community Fund provides support to nonprofit organizations throughout Montana in order to improve the quality of education, enhance the environment, and bring jobs and new tax revenues to Montana through improved economic development. Community grants are made in the following three program categories: Education- The emphasis is on supporting the arts and science in schools as well as special projects/programming for before and after-school programs. Environment- The emphasis is on supporting special projects designed to improve the environment and/or promote public health. Economic Development- The emphasis is on supporting programs that enhance Montana communities thereby making them appealing for business relocation or expansion. www.pplmontana.com/community/our+community/community+fund/

Public Welfare Foundation
Program areas include Community Development, the Environment, Human Rights/Global Security, Youth, Health & Special Opportunities. They fund advocacy to transform public policy at the local, state, national & international levels through general support & project-specific grants. www.publicwelfare.org

Organizing and educating people to take action for capacity building and environmental and economic justice. See website for more information. http://www.resistinc.org/

Seventh Generation Fund
The Seventh Generation Fund is dedicated to promoting and maintaining the uniqueness of Native peoples throughout the Americas. http://www.7genfund.org/

For federal grants: http://www.grants.gov

Nonprofit Organizations

The Center for Community Change

Helping low-income people, especially people of color, build powerful, effective organizations through which they can change their communities and public policies for the better. www.communitychange.org

Compass Point

A consulting, research, and training organization providing nonprofits with management tools, strategies, and resources to lead change in their communities. With offices in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, we work with community-based nonprofits in executive transition, planning, boards of directors, finance systems and business planning, fundraising, and technology. www.compasspoint.org


Connecting people with nonprofit information. http://hopamountain.org/www.guidestar.org
Montana Nonprofit Association

Potlatch Fund

A grantmaking foundation and leadership development organization serving Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Western Montana. Their mission is to inspire the Native tradition of giving in Northwest Indian Country to promote economic development, natural resource protection, education, cultural preservation, civic participation, and the overall health of Native people and their communities. www.potlatchfund.org

Tech Soup

Bringing technology donations to nonprofits. www.techsoup.org/stock/default.asp



Corporation for National & Community Service
Source for Americorps and VISTA volunteers. National service helps your organization implement those projects or ideas that require special funding or assistance. Through programs and grants, the Corporation for National and Community Service provides human capital—people power—to help you address emerging needs in your community. www.nationalservice.org

Indigenous Environmental Network

Established in 1990 within the United States, IEN was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues (EJ). IEN's activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities. IEN accomplishes this by maintaining an informational clearinghouse, organizing campaigns, direct actions and public awareness, building the capacity of community and tribes to address EJ issues, development of initiatives to impact policy, and building alliances among Indigenous communities, tribes, inter-tribal and Indigenous organizations, people-of-color/ethnic organizations, faith-based and women groups, youth, labor, environmental organizations and others. IEN convenes local, regional and national meetings on environmental and economic justice issues, and provides support, resources and referral to Indigenous communities and youth throughout primarily North America - and in recent years - globally. http://www.ienearth.org/

Indigenous Environmental Network: Youth


Indian Country Today


National Indian Womens Health Resource Center

The National Indian Women's Health Resource Center (NIWHRC), is a national non-profit organization whose mission is "To assist American Indian and Alaska Native women achieve optimal health and well being throughout their lifetime." In 1993, the Director of Indian Health Service assembled a group of Indian women, recognized as leaders in the health field, to serve on a Steering Committee and to advise IHS on the health needs of Indian women. With the scope of the work to be accomplished the Steering Committee decided to organize an independent organization to complete the tasks. The members represent the twelve IHS Areas of Indian Health Service: tribal, urban and Indian Health Service operated programs. They are health providers, health planners, health administrators, and elected tribal leaders that have a common concern with the health status of Indian women. Their strong commitment is based on their roots in their communities. http://www.niwhrc.org/%20

National Indian Youth Leadership Project

NIYLP's mission is to nurture the potential of Native youth to be contributors to a more positive world through adventure-based learning, service to nature, community, and family. http://niylp.org/node

National Rural Assembly

The Assembly, the first of several, will strengthen rural America by giving its leaders a platform to be heard, raising the visibility of rural issues, organizing a national network of rural interests, and developing specific rural policy initiatives. www.wkkf.org/default.aspx?tabid=75&CID=274&NID=61&LanguageID=0

Native Americans in Philanthropy

Native Americans in Philanthropy seeks to engage Native and non-Native peoples in understanding and advancing the role of philanthropy through practices that support Native traditional values for current and future generations. www.nativephilanthropy.org


Resources for indigenous cultures around the world. www.nativeweb.org

Strengthening the Circle

Partnering Organizations


Strengthening the Circle, 10 minute video


Introductory Letter for STC

STC Application

Program Coordinator:

(406) 586–2455
Contact Us

Strengthening The Circle

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