First Nations Launches Keepseagle Fast-Track Grants

First Nations Development Institute has launched a new grant program to support Native American farmers and ranchers. It’s an outgrowth of the Keepseagle v. Vilsack case that spanned more than 18 years in federal litigation. Funding for the effort comes to First Nations from the Keepseagle-related Native American Agriculture Fast-Track Fund (NAAFTF).

First Nations’ new effort – known as the “Keepseagle Fast-Track Grants to Support Native Farmers & Ranchers” – falls under First Nations’ existing Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI). Under the new program, First Nations will award 17 to 20 grants averaging $30,000 to $40,000 each to organizations in Native communities, with the goal of growing and/or expanding direct services to and/or programs that serve or directly collaborate with Native American farmers and ranchers. In sum, the goal of these grants is to provide much-needed assistance to grow or expand programs and services to organizations in Native communities that serve Native farmers and ranchers.

For these grants, First Nations is conducting a two-phase application process. Applicants will first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) application that is due no later than Friday, October 5, 2018 (go here for information). From the Letter of Intent applications, First Nations will then select from 40 to 50 applicants to submit a more-complete full proposal, which will be due in December 2018.

Types of eligible applicants include, but are not limited to:

  • Federal- and state-recognized tribal governments and departments (including but not limited to heritage departments, economic development entities, natural resources, agricultural departments, etc.)
  • Native-controlled 501(c)(3) nonprofits
  • Native-controlled community organizations with fiscal sponsorship
  • Native §7871 organizations
  • Note: Organizations that received direct support from the Native American Agriculture Fast-Track Fund are NOT eligible to apply.

Selected grantees under this opportunity must use the funding to support projects in Native communities with the goal of growing and/or expanding services or programs to Native American farmers and ranchers. Examples of allowable activities under this funding opportunity include, but are not limited to:

  • Native farmer and rancher trainings
  • Capacity and skill-building services offered to producers
  • Cooperative management programs
  • Projects that focus on multiple producers
  • Intergenerational or youth-focused farming and ranching programs
  • Engaging farmers and ranchers in plans for local food-system control
  • Program focused on increasing business operations or access to capital
  • Projects connecting farms to market opportunities, technical assistance and more.

Examples of unallowable activities under this funding opportunity include:

  • New building construction
  • Scholarships or tuition assistance
  • Films, television and/or radio programs
  • Endowments
  • Development campaigns
  • Funding for individuals
  • Purchase of real estate
  • Support of lobbying activities or drafting legislation
  • Support of litigation

For general background about the Keepseagle v. Vilsack case and the subsequent distribution of funds from the settlement, please see Native Business’ recent coverage: Native American Agriculture Fund Created to Distribute $266M Trust.

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