How to Find Grants for Native Americans

by David Sarokin

Tap into the wealth of federal grant programs.

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With more than 500 Native American tribes in the U.S. and over 1,000 grant programs, there is no shortage of opportunities for supporting tribal issues. The challenge is finding out what grants are available and understanding the eligibility requirements. Several key resources are available to assist you in your search.

Government Grants

The United States government offers more than $500 billion a year in federal grants through approximately 1,000 grant programs. Almost all government grants are available to Native American tribes. Search for relevant grants at Grants.gov, a comprehensive listing of all federal grant programs. Use the Eligibility screener to limit your searches to grants that are available to Native American tribes. The two relevant categories are:

  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized) 
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)

Grants from Nonprofits

Search the Foundation Directory, a comprehensive database of private funding sources, for information on hundreds of additional grants available to Native Americans. The Foundation Directory is a subscription service, but is available at no charge at many libraries and at Funding Information Network centers across the U.S.

Search on tribal to display a list of relevant grant opportunities. Fine tune the list with the categorical pull-down menus to specify, for example, a particular geographic area, or funding for the arts. Also review the Center's report, Foundation Funding for Native American Issues and Peoples, for perspective on the major funders, issues and trends in this area of philanthropy.

Types of Grants

There are more 1,000 government and private grants available to support Native American tribes, so there are obviously many possibilities to choose from. Grants fall into several major categories that can help to narrow your search:

  • Education: Support for school programs from preschool through higher education, including teacher training, supplies and course materials, literacy programs and curriculum development. 
  • Health and Well-Being: Support for families in need of medical care as well as veterans' health and environmental protection.
  • Institution Building: Resources to strengthen local governments and build partnerships between tribal, state and federal agencies.
  • Cultural: Support for museums, art programs, music and native heritage.
  • Economy and Infrastructure: Support for local emergency response, power supply, alternative energy sources, clean water, housing development, waste management, agricultural development and assistance to small business.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

About the Author

David Sarokin is a well-known specialist on Internet research. A former researcher with Google Answers, he has been profiled in the "New York Times," the "Washington Post" and in numerous online publications. Based in Washington D.C., he splits his time between several research services, writing content and his work as an environmental specialist with the federal government.