NEFA GRANT APPLICATIONS POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19

Dear Applicants,

At IllumiNative, our thoughts and concerns are with our community as we deal with the impact of COVID-19 on the lives and well-being of our children, parents, and elders. We send prayers and support to our Tribal leaders as they continue to safeguard the health of our communities. Like you, we also understand, and feel, uncertain as we collectively struggle to grasp the gravity and longevity of the crisis on our work.

When we created the Native American Education for All Grant program, our goal was to be responsive to the needs of our community. In the last two weeks, as the pandemic has continued to spread and schools and offices have moved to remote learning and working or closed altogether, we have heard from Native communities and Native-led organizations that the crisis has impacted their work and capacity.

In order to be responsive to the needs of the community, and after discussion with our funder and committee members, we have determined that we will postpone the application process for the NEFA grants. IllumiNative will seek counsel from our trusted advisors and evaluate the rapidly changing landscape and will provide an update in June on this funding opportunity.

We strongly believe in the initiative and we know that when we have time to adapt to our changing world, we will be able to continue with this work. For now, we extend gratitude to those who have brought forth their creative and passionate ideas and we look forward to our work continuing.

Thank you,

IllumiNative

About the Initiative

Native Americans are a vibrant and growing population with rich, distinct cultures in the United States. Tribal governments and Native communities have made large strides in revitalizing and teaching traditional languages and cultural practices and remain at the forefront of innovative practices in a variety of areas. However, invisibility and erasure remain profound barriers facing Native individuals, families and communities. These barriers are perpetuated by K-12 public education systems and have created hostile learning environments for Native children and negatively impact both Native and non-Native students by continuing to further invisibility and false narratives about Native peoples’ past and present. The failure of K-12 education systems to teach accurate history about Native peoples or about our contributions and issues in today’s society, promotes an inaccurate history of this country and erases the continued importance of Tribal Nations and peoples to the fabric of American society. False narratives and invisibility have harmful, long-term impacts by shaping federal and state policies, determining court decisions that affect tribes and Native peoples, furthers inadequate funding of programs impacting Native communities, and normalizes bias, discrimination and racism towards Native peoples.

What We Fund

The NEFA grant program is designed to help groups build capacity power in the coming year to set them up for longer term success to pass statewide policies in 2021 and beyond. Applicants are not expected to achieve NEFA policy change within the 12-month project period but to instead build momentum, strongly position themselves and establish a broad-based coalition with resources, that sets a strong foundation to achieve policy change in the future.

We recognize that community and organizational capacity varies, and that building power to impact state policy takes resources, including time, money and support. Efforts that could be potentially supported in this grant require outreach, community organizing, coalition-building and planning with key partners including tribes, school districts, state education agencies, students, parents, etc.

Research Based Initiative

Two recent reports illuminate the scope of the problem and provide a path forward. According to Reclaiming Native Truth, co-led by IllumiNative Founder Crystal Echo Hawk, 72% of Americans polled support significant changes to K-12 curricula, and 78% of Americans want to know more about Native peoples. It also found that the majority of K-12 teachers and parents are aware that curricula about Native peoples is lacking and inadequate and support changes to improve curricula and standards across schools in order to improve the quality of education for all students, both Native and non-Native.

Becoming Visible identified a growing movement and momentum of states moving towards change. It highlighted states that are taking steps to address the barriers that were identified. Oregon, for example, recently passed legislation – which includes funding – to develop statewide and tribally-specific curricula and training. In addition, both Washington (2015) and Montana (1999) have mandates that all students in the state learn accurate and authentic Native American content across grade levels.

Information & Process

On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, the IllumiNative team hosted a Native Education for All grant application informational webinar. Watch the full webinar above. Questions? Visit the FAQ section to the right.

FAQs

Grant applications have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We strongly believe in the initiative and we know that when we have time to adapt to our changing world, we will be able to continue with this work. For now, we extend gratitude to those who have brought forth their creative and passionate ideas and we look forward to our work continuing.

Letter of Interest FAQs

Q: Who can submit a Letter of Interest for a Native Education for All grant?
A: Any Native-led organization or entity, including 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, tribally approved nonprofit organizations, tribal governments/departments and school districts.

Q: How do you define “Native-led”?
A: IllumiNative defines Native-led as having a majority Native board of directors.

Q: Do we have to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization?
A: No. IllumiNative will award grants to tribally approved nonprofit organizations, tribal governments/departments and school districts that are Native-led in addition to nonprofit organizations. If you are a new project and do not have a nonprofit designation from the IRS, you may be able to use a fiscal sponsor.  However, you are responsible for having that relationship in place before submitting your application.

Q: My organization does not currently work on education-related issues but is interested in expanding our efforts into education.  Should we apply?
A: Absolutely! IllumiNative is interested in supporting new and established Native-led efforts to advance Native Education For All.

Q: I have a collaborative program that I would like to undertake with a fellow nonprofit organization, tribal government or school district.  Is that eligible?
A: Absolutely. IllumiNative encourages collaboration.  One organization should submit the application as the lead organization on behalf of the collaborative partners.

Q: What is an LOI?
A: An LOI means Letter of Interest. Potential grantees submit a Letter of Interest to indicate an interest in being invited to submit a full proposal. IllumiNative reviews all LOIs and will then invite a select number of applicants to submit a full proposal for funding.

Q: Where do I go to submit an LOI?
A: The LOI is an on-line form that you can access by clicking here.

Q: What is the deadline for submission of LOI?
A: IllumiNative is currently accepting Letters of Interest for the Native Education For All grant program. The submission deadline is March 31, 2020.

Q: After I submit an LOI, what is the next step?
A: IllumiNative will review all the of LOIs and invite a select number of applicants to submit a full proposal for funding this spring. Full proposals will be due this summer. We expect to award funds by the end of August, 2020.

Q: Who will review my LOI?
A: Each LOI is reviewed by a peer review committee that includes experts across many fields related to Native Education for All.

Q: How many grants will be funded in 2020?
A: IllumiNative will fund projects in up to three states in 2020.

Q: How much should we request?
A: Grant awards will be up to $160,000 each. However, it is not necessary to have a budget developed in order to submit an LOI. Budgets will be requested from applicants who are invited to submit a full proposal for funding.

Q: Can these funds pay for overhead and/or administrative costs related to my project?
A: Yes. However, it is not necessary to have a budget developed in order to submit an LOI. Budgets will be requested from applicants who are invited to submit a full proposal for funding.

Q: How do you define capacity building?
A: Our grants are designed to strengthen and to enhance the effectiveness of efforts to advance Native Education For All policy. In addition to providing funding, IllumiNative anticipates providing support from experts in areas such as coalition building, project coordination, communications, policy development, advocacy, etc.

Q: Can I submit a request for multiple years of support?
A: No.

Q: Where can I find out about past Native Education For All grantees?
A: This is a new grant program, and so there are no previous grant awards.

Q: I understand this is a research based initiative. Where can I access the two reports that informed this grant opportunity?
A: Click on these hyperlinks to read Reclaiming Native Truth and Becoming Visible. Both reports are also available on the IllumiNative website.

Q: Who is IllumiNative?
A: Created and led by Native peoples, IllumiNative is a new nonprofit initiative designed to increase the visibility of – and challenge the negative narrative about – Native Nations and peoples in American society. You can find out more about us on our website, www.illuminatives.org.

Q: Whom should I contact if I have a question concerning the online application?
A: Please contact Leah Salgado at leah@illuminatives.org with questions regarding the online application.

Application Guidance FAQs

IllumiNative is managing this grant opportunity through New Venture Fund, which has an online grants management system. To submit a Letter of Interest (LOI), there is an on-line form that you can access by clicking here. You will be asked to create an account through the Grant Seeker Portal.  The following are common questions that may occur to you as you complete the online application.

Creating an Account
Q: What is a chapter organization?
A: A chapter organization is a chapter-based organization that has local branches in multiple areas and shares a mission, such as ACLU or NAACP. If you are a chapter organization, choose YES; if you are not, choose NO. It will not affect your application review.

Q: In order to create an account I have to provide an EIN (Employer Identification Number). What if I don’t have one?
A: You are required to provide an EIN in order to create an account. This can be from your organization, or through a fiscal sponsor. Once you provide an EIN you will be asked to confirm that the organizational information is correct.

Q: How will I know I have successfully created an account?
A: Once you’ve created an account, you will receive an email confirmation and a link to reset your password. This will be the password you use to access the online Letter of Interest form.

Submitting a Letter of Interest
Q: Once I’ve created an account, what is the next step?
A: Once you’ve created an account, go to the online form that you can access by clicking here.  You will be asked to enter an Access Code to open the LOI form. The Access Code is ILNA 002185.  It is necessary to include a space between ILNA and 002185. This code is also on the IllumiNative website.

Q: I can’t see the LOI on the Grant Seeker Portal. What’s wrong?
A: You need to enter the Access Code to open the LOI form. The Access Code is ILNA 002185.  It is necessary to include a space between ILNA and 002185. This code is also on the IllumiNative website.

Q: Can I review the LOI questions before I start responding?
A: Yes. Scroll to the bottom of the Letter of Interest cover page and click “Download Application”.

Q: The LOI requires that I enter an Amount Requested but I don’t see where I submit my budget.
A: You are not required to submit a budget at this time, only an anticipated Amount Requested.

Q: Can funds from this grant pay to conduct lobbying?
A: These funds are not available for lobbying.  Click NO when prompted.

Q: What is the Start Date and End Date of this Project?
A: Enter a Start Date of 9/1/20 and an End Date of 9/1/21 unless you have alternate dates for your project.

Q: In the text boxes of the online application, there are options to upload documents, photos, etc. Do I need to upload files for the LOI?A: No. At this time you do not need to upload any documents, photos, etc.

Q: Once I’ve submitted my LOI, will I be able to download a copy of it for my records?
A: Yes. Once you’ve submitted your LOI, your will be able to click “Download Application” to download and save a copy of your application.

Q: How will I know that my LOI was received?
A: Once you’ve submitted your LOI, you will receive an email confirming its receipt.

Q: Whom should I contact if I have a question concerning the online application?
A: Please contact Leah Salgado at leah@illuminatives.org with questions regarding the online application.

Questions?

For more information, please contact Leah Salgado at leah@illuminatives.org.