2024 Request for Applications


2024 Request for Applications – (Closed)

Welcome to NAAF’s 2024 Request for Applications (RFA). All grant information is located on this page; please refer to it frequently throughout the application process.

This year, we have two application processes open: 2024 RFA Process – General and 2024 RFA Process – Youth. Please see ‘Funding Areas’ below for a fuller description.

Next Steps:


The 2024 Request for Applications – General & Youth closed on Wednesday, May 1st, 2024, at 11:59 pm CT.


Please reach out to NAAF at any time through email or phone call.

grants@NativeAmericanAgricultureFund.org – (479) 445-6226

Welcome to the Native American Agriculture Fund’s (NAAF) grant application process for 2024.

The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) is a private, charitable trust serving Native farmers and ranchers through strategic grantmaking in the areas of business assistance, agricultural education, technical support and advocacy services. NAAF was created from the historic Keepseagle v. Vilsack litigation settlement.

NAAF grantmaking activities are governed by the Trust Agreement and final award decisions are made by our Board of Trustees.

We strongly recommend reading the Trust Agreement before starting an application for funding.

NAAF seeks applications that align with a variety of programmatic areas. These areas are informed by strategic planning activities, grantmaking outcomes and online survey responses. For the 2024 funding cycle, applications are sought across a wide variety of projects across several topical areas. NAAF is directed to fund grant projects for a total of twenty (20) years until the year 2038, and in so doing, hopes to make a significant impact across as many Native communities as possible. This 2024 RFA represents the sixth (6th) funding cycle for NAAF.

Ongoing input about the needs of Native farmers and ranchers from eligible entities is extremely valuable. We encourage all applicants and stakeholders to start a dialogue with NAAF at grants@NativeAmericanAgricultureFund.org to achieve the promise provided by the creation of NAAF.

Per Trust Agreement Section 8, eligible grant recipients are:

  • 501(c)(3) organizations and nonprofit organizations with a Fiscal Sponsor
  • Educational organizations
  • Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Native CDFIs
  • Tribal governments (state and federally recognized) and their instrumentalities

Organizations applying for 501(c)(3) status, but who have not yet received that designation, may apply using a Fiscal Sponsor. Click this link to read more about fiscal sponsors here: 2024 RFA Fiscal Sponsor Information.

Instrumentalities of Tribes (of state or federally recognized Tribes) can mean any number of things such as Tribal departments of agriculture, food authorities or even food processing or food marketing entities. Tribal governments have the latitude to determine which entities are instrumentalities of their governments; NAAF only needs proper documentation as to that status. If an organization has eligible status as an educational institution or a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, for instance, but wishes to be considered as an instrumentality of a Tribal government, the organization must secure and submit an authorizing document from their Tribal government to that specific effect. A statement from an organization other than a Tribal government will not suffice for this purpose.

Applicants must prove their eligibility. Examples of eligibility documentation include IRS determination letters, Tribal resolutions and charters, articles of incorporation and US Treasury letters. IRS letters assigning an EIN are not sufficient proof of eligibility.

The 2024 RFA Overview is divided between two unique application processes:

  • 2024 RFA General
  • 2024 RFA Youth

Eligible grant recipients may apply for both by completing each application by the deadline for the application on May 1.

The 2024 RFA General targeted funding by entity type, including:

  • 501(c)(3) organization
  • Educational organization
  • Community Development Financial Institution
  • Tribal government/instrumentality

Applicants for targeted funding may apply for one or more areas listed below:

  •  General Focus: Business Assistance, Agricultural Education, Technical Support and Advocacy Services
  • General Focus: Loan Capital, Re-granting Capital & Technical Assistance/Business Assistance (CDFIs only)


  • Special Focus: Climate and Regenerative Agricultural Practices (All Eligible Entities)
  • Special Focus: Additional CDFI and Native CDFI Support (CDFIs only)

The 2024 RFA Youth covers youth grants for all eligible entity types.

The NAAF 2024 Request for Applications (RFA) features a number of supporting documents to aid in the application process. Click on the name below to download a copy.

Online applicants will also find links to some of these within the online grant system. You can download directly from that platform by clicking on the name in the instructions.

A complete application is necessary for review. The online grant system will not allow applicants to submit their application until every required question or upload is complete.

Below is a list of all required documents:

  • Eligibility information
  • Fiscal sponsor information (if applicable)
  • Limited waiver acknowledgment (if applicable)
  • Financial information
  • Geographic information
  • Native agriculture focus
  • Access to capital
  • Project proposal for each category
  • National Disruption response (if applicable)
  • Intermediary funds information (if applicable)
  • Governing body information
  • Cover letter
  • Support letters (optional)
There are five (5) informational webinars scheduled for the 2024 Request for Applications (RFA). Applicants are encouraged to register for one or more webinars through the registration link below. You may also rewatch all of the webinars later on this webpage.

Webinar Registration Link

Register for all webinars below.

NOTE: March 21st is for youth programming only.


General Webinar #1

Thu, March 14
2 – 4 pm CT

Youth Webinar #2

Thu, March 21 (Youth Programming Only)
2 – 4 pm CT

General Webinar #3

Thu, March 28
2 – 4 pm CT

General Webinar #4

Thu, April 11
2 – 4 pm CT

General Webinar #5

Thu, April 25
2 – 4 pm CT

The 2024 Request for Applications – Youth & General close on Wednesday, May 1st, 2024, at 11:59 pm CT.

Video Tutorials

NAAF personnel has created a series of video tutorials to help you in the application process. Hear from the finance team as they cover the RFA financial tutorial and the Alternative Forms tutorial below.

Frequently Asked Questions

In anticipation of applicant questions, we have developed the 2024 RFA FAQs to cover topics such as applicant eligibility, awards, application process, budgets and more. As necessary, we will update the FAQs throughout the open application period.

If your questions are not addressed within this FAQ, and you need further assistance, please contact NAAF staff at: grants@NativeAmericanAgricultureFund.org.

Applicants are encouraged to refer frequently to the NAAF Trust Agreement for further guidance: https://nativeamericanagriculturefund.org/trust-agreement/

Applicant Eligibility

1. Who is eligible to apply for NAAF Awards?
Organizations must be one of four eligible grant recipient types as identified in Section 8 of the Trust Agreement:

    • Nonprofit organizations with IRS Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, or if such status has not yet been achieved, such organizations may apply for funding through a Fiscal Sponsor that has received such 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status;
    • Educational organizations described in Section 170(b)(1)(A)(ii) of the Internal Revenue Code;
    • Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), including Certified Native CDFIs and Emerging Native CDFIs, provided, however, that such CDFI is a tax-exempt organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
    • An instrumentality of a state or federally recognized Tribe, including a non-profit organization chartered under the Tribal law of a state or federally recognized Tribe, that furnishes assistance designed to further Native farming and ranching activities, provided, however, that 1) the use of any grant funds by such grant recipient is restricted exclusively to charitable and educational purposes; 2) the grant recipient is required to annually provide NAAF with audited financial statements and reports as required by NAAF; 3) if the grant recipient is a governmental entity, it is required to provide a limited waiver of sovereign immunity with respect to the NAAF’s right to enforce the terms of the grant (i.e. the amount of funding awarded); and 4) if the grant is awarded, the recipient must agree to comply with all expenditure responsibility requirements designed by NAAF. (NOTE: The limited waiver of sovereign immunity will not be required when the application is submitted; instead, applicants can wait until successful award notifications have been received. The waivers must be submitted to NAAF prior to any award funding distribution.)

In addition, organizations must:

    • have provided and plan to provide business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, or advocacy services to Native farmers and ranchers
    • base their work in the United States
    • propose projects that will provide assistance designed to further Native farming and ranching activities that will directly benefit Native farmers and ranchers
    • use any award made exclusively for charitable and educational purposes described in Section 170(c)(2)(B) of the IRS Code
2. When does eligibility need to be verified?
Applicants must show eligibility as one of the four eligible grant recipient types by the deadline of the 2024 Request for Applications. The open date for the 2024 youth and general RFA is March 1, 2024. The closing date for the 2024 youth and general RFA is May 1st, 2024. If an organization is awarded a grant, eligibility must remain valid through the duration of the grant agreement period. Organizations not yet possessing necessary designations (i.e., 501(c)(3) status) are encouraged to work with an eligible fiscal sponsor as opposed to waiting for determination near the deadline. Fiscal sponsors must be 501(c)(3) organizations. 

Organizations applying must provide adequate eligibility documentation. NAAF conducts an external survey of eligibility status. If your entity is not in good standing, the application will not be eligible for review. Please check your IRS status before submitting your application. If you have questions regarding your entity status, please contact grants@nativeamericanagriculturefund.org at least one week before the application closing date.

3.Who is included as “Native American” in the eligibility requirements regarding serving Native American farmers and ranchers? Are Alaska Natives included? Are Native Hawaiians included?
NAAF is following several definitions in response to this question. A Native American includes any person who meets one or more of the requirements listed below:

    • Is a member of a Tribe, band, nation, or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation (as established in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act) which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians, also known as a “federally recognized Tribe,” or
    • Is a member of any Indian group that has been formally recognized as an Indian Tribe by a State legislature or other similar organization vested with State Tribal recognition authority, also known as a “state recognized Tribe,” or
    • Is a member of any Indian Tribe or “Native group” (according to 43 U.S.C. § 1602(c) and (d)) that asked the United States government for Federal recognition
    • NAAF also recognizes that otherwise eligible entities serving the needs of Native Hawaiian farmers and ranchers should be considered eligible for funding through NAAF.
4. If we received funding as a Fast Track grantee or as a prior NAAF grantee, are we allowed to apply in the 2024 RFA?
Yes, NAAF will consider applications from Fast Track and prior NAAF grantees. You are allowed to have a project currently underway and apply to NAAF for funding to continue the work undertaken in the prior project to reach new audiences or to improve original projects. Not all projects need to be brand new, but they must have a new component. Future RFAs may allow for continuation funding as well, but those determinations will be made at a later date.
5. Can organizations that serve non-Natives apply?
Organizations that serve a broader population are eligible to apply; however, grant funds would have to be directed toward the service of Native farmers and ranchers only. For example, a youth program that works to help the next generation of farmers and ranchers nationwide could be eligible if their application proposes funding for a program targeted to Natives, such as youth on a specific reservation, but not for other programs serving non-Natives.
6. Are any organizations excluded from funding?
Yes. Any organization that does not fall into one of the four eligible grant recipient types is not eligible for funding on their own. If your organization has applied for 501(c)(3) designation but not yet received a favorable determination from the IRS, you are allowed to apply utilizing a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.
7. I was a Keepseagle Class member. Can I receive an award from NAAF?
According to the Trust Agreement, only 501(c)(3) organizations, educational organizations, CDFIs and Tribal governments/instrumentalities are allowed to receive grants from NAAF. Individuals are not eligible to receive grants or loans directly from NAAF, but they can seek grants and loans from NAAF grantees. Entities receiving funds will be required to use the funds to provide services important to Native farmers and ranchers, or those seeking to become farmers and ranchers.
8. Can a for-profit entity be involved with a NAAF grant proposal?
Applicants must be one of the four eligible grant recipients as described in the Trust Agreement Section 8. For-profit entities can be involved in a project as a collaborator as long as the primary applicant is eligible.
9. What is an instrumentality of a Tribe?
Instrumentalities of Tribes (of state or federally recognized Tribes) can mean any number of things such as Tribal departments of agriculture, food authorities or even food processing or food marketing entities. Tribal governments have the latitude to determine which entities are instrumentalities of their governments; NAAF only needs proper documentation as to that status. If an organization has eligible status as an educational institution or a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, for instance, but wishes to be considered as an instrumentality of a Tribal government, they must secure and submit an authorizing document from their Tribal government to that specific effect. A statement from an organization other than a Tribal government will not suffice for this purpose.
10. Does the 501(c)(3) requirement mean that 7871 Tribal governments are not eligible without a sponsor?
The Trust Agreement is very specific about eligible entities. Two of the types of organizations are 501(c)(3) and Tribal governments. In order to secure Section 7871 status, applicants must prove that they are an instrumentality of a single Tribe or group of multiple Tribes. Therefore, Section 7871 entities might be able to come under either of these definitions depending on their status. All applicants need to study carefully the language of the Trust Agreement so that you provide necessary documentation of eligibility. If the 7871 organizations can fall under either of these requirements, with or without fiscal sponsors that are clearly qualified under one of the four entities, then they are encouraged to apply. All applicants must include documentation reflecting their eligibility.
11. I have applied for both general and youth grants, but both applications involve youth, will my general application not be considered?
This depends on several different things; the main consideration is whether the grants have two distinct projects. If they are two separate projects, then both will be considered. However, if the general project focuses 100% on youth, there is a high probability that the project will be moved to the youth application and then effectively compared to your other project. 
12. We're a 501c3 and serve Natives in our area, are we able to apply or do we need a Tribal support letter?
If you are a 501c3 entity and you are applying, you do not need a letter of tribal support. A letter of support is only needed if you are partnering with the Tribe. 


13. What is meant by “agriculture”? Is it limited to the specific types of agricultural activities that the USDA will consider funding through the farm loan program?
NAAF is not bound by USDA’s definition of covered agriculture for purposes of the farm loan program or other programs available through the federal government. NAAF’s preliminary definition of Native agriculture is as follows: Native agriculture reflects ancient subsistence practices. It is the gathering, producing, harvesting and preserving of plants and animals for food and fiber by Native/Indian/Indigenous people. Native agriculture supports family, community, Tribe, and country, and often incorporates ceremonial, traditional and cultural values.
14. How does NAAF define “charitable and educational purposes”?
IRS provides some guidance here. They define “charitable” to be activities designed to be scientific, public safety or public benefit oriented, literary and the like; in other words, activities that have a general public benefit. “Educational” can encompass training, instruction, development of capabilities and include doing so through schools, colleges, universities, trade schools, professional schools, publicly available enrichment activities, and the like.
15. How does NAAF define ‘value-added’ agriculture? Does agritourism count?
Value-added agriculture activities allow farmers or ranchers or food champions to capture a larger share of the consumer food dollar. These activities often refer to some sort of processing activity that increases the value of raw food products. For instance, taking strawberries and turning them into jam is considered a value-added activity; so is taking corn and making corn bread mix; taking wheat and turning it into flour. This can also mean taking food products and marketing them through special “branding” of the product, such as through placing a logo on the packaging. Sometimes this is differentiating your product (producing something differently, such as through organic, grass-fed, or regeneratively produced activities to name a few). Agritourism is also considered value-added if the activity of encouraging and promoting tourism incorporates food or agriculture-related activities.
16. How does NAAF define “youth” for the Youth funding?
NAAF takes a broad approach in defining the audience targeted in the Youth category and is interested in how various Native communities view it. Typically, participants in youth programs will be early childhood to 18 years old, but we encourage you to make a clear case on how your project will define youth.  
17. Do all the youth need to be Native? The school for our program is Native based and would help our facilities.
No, not every youth needs to be Native so long as you are providing services to a majority of Native peoples. In our consideration, we do take into account the impact your project has on your Tribal facilities and the Tribal members. 

Project Content

18. For what activities can a grant be used?
Entities receiving funds will be required to use the funds to provide services important to Native farmers and ranchers, including those seeking to become farmers and ranchers, to support and promote their continued engagement in agriculture. Funds may be used for project support, re-grants, scholarships, re-lending or capital expenditures.
19. Can grants be used to serve Native communities that include, but are not limited to, farmers and ranchers?
There are many needs in Native communities and many worthy organizations seeking to meet those needs. However, these funds must be expended in accordance with the terms of the NAAF Trust Agreement which provides that grants must only be used for the benefit of Native farmers and ranchers to support their involvement with agriculture. Thus, programs which address non-agricultural issues, such as housing, would not become eligible just because some of the individuals served happen to be Native farmers or ranchers. However, an organization that serves a broader Native population but will use award funds specifically for Native farmers and ranchers may be eligible. For example, a community development financial institution (CDFI) that makes low-interest loans to small businesses generally could receive an award if the funds were going to be used solely for making such loans to Native farmers and ranchers, but the loans must support agricultural activity.
20. Are any activities excluded from funding?
The following types of applicants or uses of funds are NOT eligible under this 2024 Request for Applications:

  • Entities that do not provide business assistance, agriculture education, technical support, or advocacy services to Native farmers and ranchers
  • Work based outside the United States or its territories
  • Projects that do not provide assistance and/or resources designed to impact and further assist in the success of Native farmers and ranchers
  • Projects that seek funding predominately to provide outreach on USDA programs and services; resources for those types of activities are already provided by USDA, therefore use of NAAF funds to provide redundant activity support is unallowable
  • Projects that assist individual Native farmers and ranchers, but the services are not agriculture-related
  • Projects that identify an individual or individuals who will be served by the proposed grant activities. References to those in the service population should not include personally identifiable information.
  • Use of funds that are not restricted exclusively to charitable and educational purposes described in IRS Section 170(c)(2)(B)
  • Use of funds for litigation; however, offering of legal services important to Native farmers and ranchers is allowable and can include (but isn’t limited to): estate planning, land purchase agreements, understanding of legal rights, contract negotiation, assistance with administrative appeals, and other typical legal or advisory services important to those engaged in agriculture
  • Use of funds for lobbying, political activity or influencing legislation as defined by the IRS (other forms of public issues education and public issues advocacy may be eligible activities)

Note: Only Tribal governments may apply for industrial hemp project funding. All applications including requests for industrial hemp support are required to strictly follow the guidance on page 16  of the 2024 RFA Overview. Non-profit, educational, or CDFI organizations are not allowed to submit proposals for funding in this subject matter area.

21. Can grants be used to purchase agricultural land? What about improvements to the land?
Activities funded through NAAF do not explicitly allow for the purchase of land. There are other resources available for land purchase through federal lending programs and non-federal lending and granting programs. NAAF resources are to focus on business assistance, technical support, agricultural education and advocacy and while we are not opposed to land leasing, land improvement for farming or ranching or purchasing costs to be included within an applicable budget for a project that focuses on one of those four areas listed previously, we are not interested in funding projects that are solely involved in land purchase, land improvement or land rental. In addition, we are interested, should those items be included in a proposed budget, to know how those budget items will improve the success of Native farming and ranching enterprises or the individual farmers or ranchers themselves.
22. What type of capital expenditures are allowed?
Allowable capital expenditures are those that have a clear link to direct service provided to Native farmers and ranchers or project costs that directly improve or impact the resources available to Native farming and ranching enterprises or improvement of Native food systems. Capital expenditures can take many forms but are normally considered to be money spent by an organization on acquiring or maintaining fixed assets, such as land, buildings or equipment of some kind.
23. What types of legal services may receive funding?
Non-litigation legal services that assist Native farmers and ranchers are eligible for funding under NAAF. This includes, for example, legal services related to contract review and formation, property transactions, estate planning, credit repair, advice on farm programs, administrative appeals and general policy analysis or policy education activities and the like.
24. Can grants include food processing activities?
In order for food processing activities to be covered, there would have to be a direct involvement of Native farmers and ranchers, not simply supporting a food processing business that might buy its inputs from Native farmers and ranchers. Thus, if a farmer wanted to expand into processing some of his or her own produce for higher market value items, or if ranchers wanted to organize a cooperatively owned processing facility, then such activities could be supported with NAAF funds so long as the applicant is an eligible entity identified in the Trust Agreement. If a processing plant or food hub or other processing facility making value-added food products seeks funding, the application must specifically state the involvement of Native farmers and ranchers throughout the processing activities and the benefit Native farmers and ranchers will gain by participating with the processing facility. All other eligibility requirements must also be met.
25. Can grants include research, for instance, on the health value of traditional Native foods?
Projects that focus only on research will not be considered for funding during this program cycle. Projects that focus only on health-related issues will also not be considered for funding during this program cycle. NAAF will allow curriculum development to occur within a funded project scope, but only if delivery of the curriculum during the project period occurs. Stand-alone curriculum development projects will not be funded; delivery to Native farmers and ranchers is essential. NAAF is looking for projects that deliver developed content with practical application to the success of Native farmers and ranchers.
26. Can grants be used to support cultivation and harvest of Indigenous medicines or other plants for medicinal purposes?
Yes, production or harvest activities focused on providing a medicinal product would be considered under the umbrella of agricultural activity. That said, we do not provide support for medicinal, recreational, or CBD related cannabis projects.
27. Are funds available for national disruption-related relief, recovery or resilience efforts?

Yes. The RFA describes the types of national disruption-related activities for which NAAF is seeking project proposals.

28. Are only “faculty” eligible to apply for educational organization funding opportunities?
Faculty can apply, but individuals who are on staff but are not technically faculty in an institution can also apply. Sometimes projects or activities are led by individuals who do not have full time faculty appointments but are considered staff of educational institutions or affiliated staff. So long as the person has an employment or staff relationship with the educational institution or agricultural extension office, they are eligible to apply on behalf of the entity. If awarded, the authorized official for the organization will have to sign the grant agreement on behalf of the organization.
29. Do educational organizations need to currently operate a certificate or degree program in agriculture? Do they have to partner?
Agriculture certificate or degree programs are encouraged but not required. Educational institutions can seek funding for work that is community based and does not result in a certificate or degree, so long as the activity strives to improve the skills or knowledge or support provided by the institutions within the community, related to food and agriculture issues. Partnerships between various educational organizations are encouraged but not required.
30. Would NAAF consider a grant application for barn restoration?
Yes, we have had grants in the past for building/rebuilding infrastructure. If this grant impacts agriculture and addresses access to credit, it will be considered. It is important to note that the barn restoration project must directly impact agriculture in some way, like housing seed storage or something similar. 
31. Does NAAF allow materials paid for by the grant to be sold as part of the training?
Yes, however, we do recommend that you use NAAF funds to distribute and print materials. We do not disallow selling materials from the grant, but you may see greater support in consideration if those funds also include a distribution process cost to whoever you are serving. 
32. Is it okay for a proposed feasibility study to assess a variety of access to capital for the tribes they serve, e.g. seaweed farming, greenhouse production?
Yes, so access to capital comes in a variety of ways and a variety of timelines. Some people are ready to put shovels in the ground and are ready to implement their projects, while other Tribes may not have a focus on possible agricultural economic avenues. A project that explores multiple industries and various project timelines is welcome to apply. 
33. Can we request funding for equipment and building infrastructure to house, if the purpose is to support farmers and their access? This would be a shared equipment project.
Yes, this increases access to capital and is specific to farming and ranching for Native producers. Please keep in mind the cap of whichever entity you are applying under as an equipment-sharing project may exceed some of those limitations.
34. For the general grant, is there room in the grant for solar?
Yes, this is an excellent request. This project is innovative, replicable, and directly ties into powering infrastructure that farmers and ranchers use for agriculture. 

Application Process

35. When are applications due?
The 2024 RFA –Youth and General process closes on May 1, 2024 at 11:59 pm CT. There will be no extensions.  
36. How many applications can an organization submit?
An organization is allowed to submit one application for General funding, and one application for Youth funding. General applications can include funding requests for multiple categories, so long as the applicant is an eligible entity for the project described and so long as a separate narrative of the project and a separate budget and budget justification are included for each component of the project is included in the application.

There are six categories in the 2024 RFA – General and one category in the 2024 RFA Process – Youth. You may apply for as many categories as you are eligible but can only submit one project budget for each category. 

37. Can I submit a paper application?
No, all applications must be submitted through the online grant portal.
38. Does the full application have to be submitted in one work session? Or can we upload part of the application and come back in another session to finish?
You can ‘Save’ and then later submit your application. The system will autosave every 100 characters typed or every time you click out of a field. If you have problems, please contact our NAAF team to work through any technical issues associated with your application.
39. Can NAAF provide assistance with writing an application?
No. NAAF staff, the review panel and the NAAF Board of Trustees must remain completely unbiased in their work, which will ultimately lead to funding recommendations and final funding decisions. Therefore, the only assistance NAAF can provide is to a) help organizations determine whether or not they and their programs are eligible entities, and b) how to use the website to submit an application, or c) specific questions providing details regarding submittal or the RFA. NAAF staff, reviewers or Trustees will not comment on or strategize with applicants concerning their particular project.
40. Are Tribal or board resolutions required as part of the application process?
If the applicant must secure a Tribal or board resolution prior to submitting proposals for funding, then those resolutions should be included in the application. If the applicant organization does not require a resolution to apply, it is not necessary for our application. Limited waivers of sovereign immunity are a different matter. Please see NAAF’s guidance on this in the 2024 RFA Overview.
41. What do you look for in a project narrative?
The project narrative is the meat of your proposal. It should supply all the details of the project including the problem or opportunity, methods or procedures, and expected outcomes. Clearly and explicitly state the connection between the problem/opportunity and your proposed actions. A subsequent question will ask you to outline objectives. Applicants are allowed a maximum of 10,000 characters (approximately 3.5 pages) for their response, but there is no requirement to fill all available space.
42. Can I include visuals (pictures, graphs, charts, etc.) in my online application?
Yes. Since the text section does not allow for visuals, you will need to save them all as a PDF (only one file allowed) and upload it at the end under “Optional Uploads”. Please alert reviewers to refer to these visuals in your application.


43. What does NAAF look for in a project budget?
NAAF will take into consideration the size of the budget request in relation to the organization’s annual operating budget and its existing expenditures on programs serving Native farmers and ranchers. Another factor NAAF will consider will be a demonstration of the applicant’s ability to manage the funds awarded.
44. Are smaller project budgets considered less impactful? Are larger project budgets discouraged?

Smaller project budgets can be just as impactful as larger project budgets. The work you want to do should match the budget you think is necessary to reach your goals and outcomes. All requests should follow the minimum and maximum request guidelines for each category.

45. Are indirect costs allowed to be covered in the application budget? If so, what is the percentage allowed?
Indirect costs of up to 15% on personnel and direct costs are allowed. NAAF reserves the right to raise or lower indirect costs allowed within future RFA processes, based on stakeholder comments and the successes or challenges faced by successful applicants during implementation of their project. Please see NAAF’s 2024 RFA Budget Guidelines for more information.
46. What are indirect costs? How does an applicant calculate indirect costs?
Indirect costs represent the expenses of doing business that are not readily identified in specific activities but are necessary for the general operation of the organization or to support the conduct of the activities. This can include accounting or legal expenses, office expenses, rent, telephone expenses, utilities and the like. Indirect costs can apply to more than one activity within an organization while project-specific costs (or direct costs) are specific to the unique activity you are trying to accomplish. Please see NAAF’s 2024 RFA Budget Guidelines for more information.
47. What are matching or in-kind funds?
Guidelines for what is considered matching or in-kind funds can vary funder to funder.  Some organizations require applicants to provide cash match; some organizations require applicants to provide in-kind match. In-kind is a form of matching dollars and can refer to such things as personnel, goods or services that are identified by applicants as being contributed to the overall support of a project. NAAF does not require matching (cash or in-kind); however, NAAF funds (if your application is funded) can be used as federal match because NAAF funds are considered private in nature.
48. Are matching funds required?

No. Cost share, in-kind or matching funds is not required for NAAF funding. However, while not required, these funds can be noted in the grant application. In-kind, third party contributions are encouraged but not required. An application will be reviewed to see if the entity applying has the capacity to responsibly manage an award. An organization should seek funding commensurate with its capacity. Please note that NAAF funds, if awarded, are not considered federal funds and as such may be used to meet federal matching funds required, as appropriate.

Intermediary Organizations

49. What is an intermediary? Are intermediary projects allowed?
An intermediary is an organization that makes grants to support other, smaller organizations or which provides funding to individuals or groups, such as through scholarships or re-grants or loans. Intermediary projects are allowed. However, intermediary applicants must be clear as to their role in the project described and must identify how they will monitor success within their described project.
50. Is there a cap on indirect a non-intermediary may receive from an award?
Yes, maximum 15%. We understand that effective programs require some overhead for staff and other expenses. However, we also must ensure that as much of these funds as possible is put to work directly benefitting Native farmers and ranchers.
51. What additional requirements are there for intermediaries?
Applicants for intermediary funding must demonstrate a record of successfully assisting nonprofits and communities, normally including experience in grantmaking, scholarships or loans, and that they have the ability to provide adequate due diligence for a re-granting, loan or scholarship program.

Review Process and Evaluation Criteria

52. What will happen after I submit an application?
Applications will be screened first to determine whether the applicant is an eligible entity. If the applicant is an eligible entity their application will be reviewed by the review panel. All applications will be reviewed by the review panel unless they have been disqualified for one of three reasons: 1) failure to provide evidence of eligible entity status; 2) failure to include all required forms and information within their submitted application; or 3) failure to submit their application by the relevant closing deadline. The review panel will consider all evaluation criteria factors when deciding which organizations to submit to the Board of Trustees for final decisions for possible funding.
53. Will all eligible applicants receive funding?
No. There is a limited amount of money available during the 2024 RFA process and applications could exceed the total funds available to distribute. NAAF Board of Trustees will determine how much funding to release for project funding during each subsequent year. The funding levels for which applications will be sought, and the types of applications which will be sought may change from year to year.
54. What criteria or factors will be considered when reviewing or evaluating applications?

Please see pages 22-24 of the 2024 RFA Overview for details.

55. What are some examples of “impact on access to capital” for organizations not providing loans?
Access to capital can be improved by a variety of ways: improved access to technology; improved record-keeping skills; credit repair activities; business planning skills improvement; marketing planning skills improvement; advocating on behalf of Native farmers and ranchers so that their access to banking and financial services is improved; and activities that help people analyze and plan for mitigating risks they might face, to name a few. Please see the 2024 RFA Overview and our video for more details.
56. Does NAAF have a conflict of interest policy?
Yes. All NAAF staff and all NAAF Board of Trustee members are required to comply with Conflict of Interest policies. Anyone involved in evaluating the applications will recuse themselves from evaluating any applications from entities with which they have a conflict of interest or an appearance of a conflict of interest.
57. What will happen to the information and documents I submit during the NAAF process?
All information and documents received during this process are held in confidence and will become a part of the records of NAAF. All current and former applicants will have access to their former applications in a secure dashboard found on NAAF’s online grant portal.

Grant Information

58. When will grant recipients be announced?
Final determinations for funding will be announced as quickly as possible so that successful applicants can be notified, grant agreements finalized, and funds dispersed as soon as possible. Project start dates are expected in the last quarter of 2024.  
59. What is the maximum grant size?

The maximum and minimum grant size depends on the eligible grant recipient type. Please see the 2024 RFA Overview for more information. 

60. Over what period of time must grant funds be spent? May we apply now for a grant that will fund future work?

Funding for specific, eligible programs may be requested for expenditures expected to be made within 24 months (2 years) of receipt of a grant. NAAF will consider future requests for no-cost extensions of time to complete the funded project deliverables/activities. Applicants are free to request projects of a less than 2-year time frame (12 months). Your application and related documents (budget and budget narrative) must be clear as to the length of time your project will utilize for implementation.

61. Can grants be renewed?
Grants will expire at the end of the grant performance period. Grantees may apply for similar activities in future RFAs.
62. What reports are due throughout the grant period?
All successful applicants will be required to provide quarterly (every three months) update reports and a final report through an online system. Projects longer than 12 months will also submit an annual report. Those update reports will be required by deadlines outlined in the grant agreement which all successful applicants will be required to execute with NAAF before funds are transferred. 

Contact information

63. If I have questions about eligibility, the application process or the application website, how can I get answers? Is there a way to contact someone to ask questions not covered in this FAQ document?
Please be advised that NAAF staff can only answer questions pertaining to the application system, the RFA and the application process. We cannot advise you on your application scope, project design, budget, or application responses to questions.

NAAF will host 2024 RFA Webinars on the following five (5) dates. Each webinar will start with a one-hour overview of the application process and then transition to a question-and-answer period. All webinar recordings will be posted and archived on the NAAF website. The dates for each webinar are found below and registration is required to participate. The webinars will offer technical assistance to applicants and provide clarification concerning applicant eligibility or focus areas for applications during this grant cycle.

Register General: 

General Webinar 

Register Youth:

Youth Webinar

  • Thursday, March 14 at 2 – 4 pm CT (General and Youth Programming)  
  • Thursday, March 21 at 2 – 4 pm CT (Youth Programming Only)  
  • Thursday, March 28 at 2 – 4 pm CT General and Youth Programming)  
  • Thursday, April 11 at 2 – 4 pm CT General and Youth Programming)   
  • Thursday, April 25 at 2 – 4 pm CT General and Youth Programming) 

a) After the webinars, a recording will be archived and will be accessible from the NAAF website at https://nativeamericanagriculturefund.org/2024-rfa/ or located on our NAAF YouTube channel.

b) Assistance by email is available by sending your question(s) to grants@NativeAmericanAgricultureFund.org.

c) Assistance by phone is available by leaving a voicemail at 479-445-6226; a team member will return your call with answers.

2024 Webinar Questions

64. Are the the minimum and maximum amounts for one year or two?

They would be for both one year and two year projects. 

65. As a 501c3, do we need to apply for the General focus in order to apply for the Climate and Regenerative Ag Practices special focus?

You may apply for the special emphasis areas, such as Regenerative Ag, via the 501c3 general portal. The app will walk you through to get to the appropriate section. 

66. Our youth program operates in the summertime at our 1 acre garden and through hydroponics in the winter months. Are hydroponic projects eligible for these grants?

Hydroponic projects are eligible for a NAAF grant. 

67. Did I hear that funding for single producers (example a meat processing facility) is not allowed, even if through a nonprofit?

NAAF is prohibited through our Trust Agreement to fund individuals. (d) Grants to Individuals. The Trust shall not make grants to individuals; however, the Trust may make grants to Eligible Grant Recipients that make grants to individuals, provided that the Trust not earmark the use of the grant for any named individual and there does not exist an agreement, oral or written, whereby the Trust may cause the selection of the individual grantee by the grantee organization. 

68. What if we have separate projects for general and special focus, but these projects serve some of the same individuals? For example, can a “farmer” in the general focus project be served as a “harvester” in the special focus project?

If they are two unique projects, yes. 

69. What is our performance period?

You will have the option to select a 12 month or 24 month project period. 

70. Could a family-run company that is supported by a nonprofit until they can operate on their own be considered an individual?

It sounds like in this instance the family-run company is being fiscally sponsored by the non-profit. Organizations can be fiscally sponsored by 501(c)(3)’s as long as the sponsored company (the family run business in this case) is also pursuing its own 501(c)(3) certification. Please see the top of Page 5 of the RFA overview for more info on fiscal sponsorship. 

71. So, the grant period is 12 or 24 months, but is it possible to start the grant period on the fiscal year or calendar year?

The project start date is the effective date. Once awarded, the effective date can be found on your executed grant agreement.  

71. Regarding the eligibility: We have a 501(c ) (3) fiscal sponsor but do not intend to become a non-profit ourselves. We still will be working with the community in bringing regenerative practices.

To be eligible for fiscal sponsorship, the sponsored grantee must be attempting 501(c)(3) status. Otherwise, that organization is not eligible to apply. 

72. Is there a source for looking at past successful grants? Is there a way to collaborate geographically and identify and talk with other grants seekers in our locales?

You can review past successful grantees on our website: https://nativeamericanagriculturefund.org/2023-grantees/. We include a lot of information on regions as well, and links to successful grantees websites. 

73. Can you provide examples of "access to capital" of past grantees please?

Examples of access to capital are activities such as business planning, market planning and training, financial education, credit education, record keeping, credit repair activities, risk analysis, etc.  

74. Can a tribe apply for the general application and the youth application or just one or the other?

If they are unique projects applications may be submitted for both. 

75. Will there be any gathering of the awardees? Or participation in the NAAF events?

NAAF conducts bi-annual in-person grantee convenings. The next in-person convening will be in 2025. During the years when an in-person convening is not held we will do so remotely. 

76. Can federally recognized tribes apply for funding assistance to assist with restoration of tribal nations buffalo/bison herds? And specifically, funds to help with infrastructure such as fencing, handling facilities, watering systems, and/or cultural spiritual education?

Yes, all of those are eligible project activities. The best areas for this type of project would be Tribes – General and/or the Climate and Regenerative Ag focus areas.  

77. Eligibility question; is this applicable to tribes that are looking for help with protecting our wild rice crop? Such as climate smart practices to sustain our wild rice crop; aka research and development?

Yes, those are eligible project activities. The best areas for this type of project would be Tribes – General and/or the Climate and Regenerative Ag focus areas. 

77. How are the funds distributed or awarded to the tribal entity and what is the method of reimbursement i.e., do we invoice you for expenses on a quarterly basis for reimbursement or we awarded the funding up front and do a quarterly reporting of what and how funds were used.

NAAF distributes the funds through installments. The amount of installments varies based on the project length. There is no need to send NAAF any invoices. Awardees are required to complete their reports to receive their next installments.   

78. Are inner city NA nonprofit and youth programs considered for these funding opportunities?

Yes, non-profit organizations that serve Native youth and/or Native farmers and ranchers are eligible for our funding.  

78. Are inner city NA nonprofit and youth programs considered for these funding opportunities?

Yes, non-profit organizations that serve Native youth and/or Native farmers and ranchers are eligible for our funding.  

79. Will this recording be shared with all of us?

Yes, absolutely. The presentation deck will also be shared via email, and then archived on the 2024 Request for Applications webpage at NativeAmericanAgricultureFund.org 

80. Are there preferences or requirements for the Letters of Support? (e.g. individual or partner farmers/ranchers, tribes, agencies, other supportive funders, etc)

There are no posted preferences or requires for the letters of support. Letters are reviewed within the context of the proposed project and should give a snapshot of your strongest supporters or communicate more strongly how your project makes a difference in your community/area. 

81. Is there a limitation to outcomes such as food access or is development and application of fertilizers via processing byproducts also allowable?

Those are allowable project types, you can apply for a project where byproducts are made into fertilizers 

81. What if we are a start-up nonprofit organization that has NOT yet applied for 501(c)3 status and are not planning to apply for 501(c)3 status during the duration of the grant, may we still apply? Basically it is in our plans to apply for 501(c)3 status, but we are not prepared to do that and will remain under fiscal sponsorship for the next couple of years.

Unfortunately, only organizations that are currently in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) status may be fiscally sponsored. For more information, please see the top of Page 6 of the RFA Overview for more information. https://nativeamericanagriculturefund.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/2024-RFA-Fiscal-Sponsor-Information-FINAL.pdf 

81. Would this be the Grant to apply for if you want to start a new bachelors program at a TCU?

Creation of a new academic program is an applicable project outcome, as long as that program is focused on agriculture as defined by NAAF. Please note that NAAF grants require all grants to address access to capital. Please see the 2024 RFA Overview for more info on how Educational Organizations can apply. 

82. What would be examples of addressing access to capital in the ‘agricultural education” section? Would assisting students in accessing available scholarships in higher education apply?

Yes, that would be an example of addressing access to capital in the agricultural education section. Another example would be adding a financial literacy component in an agricultural education program.  

83. We are interested in creating a garden to cafeteria program for the school system. Is this an applicable topic for funding?

Yes, this is an applicable topic for funding.  

84. Is this a reimbursement grant?

 A reimbursement grant is when a grantee expends money and the funder reimburses those expenses. At NAAF, we send out a distinct number of installments. For example, if you have a 12-month grant, you will receive 90% of your grant amount up front, and then the remaining 10% will be dispersed after the final report is marked complete.   

85. How often have you offered a group funding but they are unable to get the limited waiver? (Do many tribes hesitate to provide that?)

We do not have an exact number, but it does happen. However, to receive NAAF funding, that waiver must be completed per our Trust Agreement. As you are going through the application, there is a section that you select whether you can provide the waiver or not. If you cannot provide that and select no, you will not be able to complete the application process.  

86. Is there a NAAF definition of “Native-led”

Yes, it is within our application documentation. It states that applicant describe how the organization integrates Native leadership into their decision-making processes and how they ensure that programs are responsive to need of Native farmers and ranchers. Essentially having Native representation in leadership.  

87. Will the grant process move more towards the shift of less grant application process and using less of the governmental grant application model?

NAAF strives to be less like a federal program that includes a heavier amount of requirements. We strive to be more reflective of the needs of the producers and our grantees.  

88. If we apply this cycle and are not granted the funding, can we re-apply using the same idea or a similar project next cycle?

Yes, we hope to see updates that are needed. NAAF has no issue reviewing a similar project that was not funded in the previous cycle. Applications that are not funded have an opportunity to meet with NAAF staff on what could have been done to strengthen their proposal. That feedback can be used to rolled into the application for the next cycle.  

89. Is the youth definition limited to under 18, or would “young adults” (ie. those applying for undergraduate programs, etc) be a possible part of this group?

NAAF takes a broad approach in defining the audience targeted in the Youth category and is interested in how various Native communities view it. Typically, participants in youth programs will be early childhood to 18 years old, but we encourage you to make a clear case on how your project will define youth. 

90. A tribal non-profit that is applying under the general focus; can we assist a tribal youth group to apply for the youth grant? Can we use our non-profit status to assist them technically?

It sounds like the Tribal non-profit assisting the youth is asking about fiscal sponsorship. Per NAAF’s Fiscal Sponsor policy, only organizations that are attempting to secure 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the IRS may be eligible to be fiscally sponsored. In the context of this question, the Tribal youth group can apply for the youth grant IF they are eligible to be fiscally sponsored.

If the youth group is not attempting to secure 501(c)(3) non-profit status, they are not eligible to be fiscally sponsored and may not apply. 

91. Does NAAAF know of other funding resources/opportunities for Native-led, tribal-led, projects centered around land, food, etc.?

www.sovereignequityfund.org — Click on Cultural Foodways Fund. 

92. Our non-profit will sponsor the tribal youth group; so we are able to apply under two focuses, correct?

As a fiscal sponsor, as long as the youth group is attempting to secure 501(c)(3) non-profit status, you would only be answering fiscal sponsorship questions specifically. The youth group can apply for the youth grant. However, if they are not attempting to secure 501(c)(3) non-profit status, they are not eligible to be fiscally sponsored and may not apply.  

93. I am wondering if those of us engaged in beekeeping could fit under the requirements?

Yes, this is an applicable topic for funding.  

2024 RFA Webinar Videos