Exploring Eligibility: Federal Grants for Native American Tribal Governments and Organizations

Editor’s Note: This blog post was first published in 2016 and updated on May 18, 2020.

There are a variety of federal financial assistance opportunities specifically for American Indians and Alaska Natives. This article, which is part of the Exploring Eligibility blog series, will explain where Grants.gov fits into your search process.

Exploring Eligibility Blog Series

If you are a member of a Native American tribal entity searching for federal grants or benefits, you probably fall into one of these situations in which you are looking for:

  1. Federal grants or benefits on behalf of a federally-recognized Native American tribal government.
  2. Federal grants or benefits on behalf of a Native American tribal organization that is not a federally-recognized government, or
  3. Personal assistance or benefits.

Grants.gov

If one of the first two situations applies to you, you can begin by looking for relevant federal grant opportunities using the search page at Grants.gov.

In addition to using keywords to browse the available funding opportunities, be sure to check the box(es) next to Native American tribal governments and/or Native American tribal organizations under the Eligibility criteria heading. This will focus the search to show only grants open to Native American tribal governments and/or organizations.  See example below:

Narrowing search results on Grants.gov

When you find a grant that might be suitable for your government or organization, carefully read the grant’s synopsis to learn more about the opportunity. Note that some federal grants will be open both to American Indian and Alaska Native groups and other eligibility groups, such as nonprofits and public (including Indian) housing authorities.

Other Resources

Grants.gov is your best bet for finding grants for organizations. Grants.gov only posts grant opportunities designed to benefit the public at large.  You can start with “What is a Grant” if you’re not sure where to beginning.

If you’re looking for additional information about grant programs, or if you are seeking personal financial assistance, there are several other federal websites you should visit.

You will find a range of links for federal websites on the USA.gov resource portal for federally recognized Indian Tribes and Native Americans. For example, there is a link to information about the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant program for American Indian and Alaska Native groups. The HUD resource page highlights existing grant programs, such as the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program (ICDBG) and the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) Program.

Another key federal website that we’ve mentioned before is Benefits.gov.

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Financial Assistance and Social Services (FASS)

Federally recognized American Indian and Alaskan Native tribal members may be eligible for cash assistance, as outlined on the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Financial Assistance and Social Services (FASS) program page. To determine your eligibility you can utilize the wizard at the bottom of the page (see example above).

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