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Press Release

Applications Now Open: First Nations Development Institute to Invest in Native Family Empowerment Program Through Tribal Colleges

LONGMONT, Colorado (June 16, 2014) – Today First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) announced it is now accepting letters of interest for its new Native Family Empowerment Program. The Native Family Empowerment Program is a grant program that will support tribal colleges as they develop innovative, bundled-service programs to help young parents accomplish their educational goals while improving their families’ long-term financial security.
“At First Nations, we recognize that starting with individuals and families and then building outward to communities, and tribal nations, is the only way we will succeed in achieving economic sovereignty,” said First Nations President Michael E. Roberts. “Financially savvy and competent citizens will contribute more fully to the long-term goal of financially savvy and competent communities and nations. We know that many tribal colleges struggle with recruiting and retaining student who are also parents. They have made great strides in offering child care on campus, financial counseling and other student supports, so the goal of this grant program is to help them adopt innovative, additional models of supporting students who are also parents.”

First Nations recently was awarded a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, to conduct the three-year project.

According to Sarah Dewees, First Nations’ senior director of research, policy and asset-building programs, the project will help tribal colleges better integrate and bundle their services – both financial supports and social supports – as young parents pursue higher education. “More than 66% of tribal college students are of nontraditional age, with their own families of one to four children, and 39% are single parents with dependents,” she added. “This project will provide parents with a pathway out of poverty and make a significant difference in the lives of their young children, resulting in more family stability, security, and prosperity.”

Dewees said the application process will be conducted in two phases.  “Phase 1 is submitting a letter of interest via our online system by 5 p.m. Mountain Time on Wednesday July 23, 2014.  After we complete our internal review process, a short list of selected applicants will be invited to submit a fully-developed proposal for Phase 2.  We will select the successful applicants from the full, Phase 2 proposals.”  Tribal colleges interested in pursuing this opportunity should visit this link for full information and to begin their applications/letters of interest – http://www.firstnations.org/grantmaking/2014NFEP.

First Nations plans to offer two grants of $90,000 each. The grant term will be 2-1/2 years starting approximately in October 2014 and ending in March 2017.

About First Nations Development Institute

For 34 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities.  First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.

Sarah Dewees, First Nations Senior Director of Research, Policy and Asset-Building Programs
(540) 371-5615

Randy Blauvelt, First Nations Senior Communications Officer
(303) 774-7836


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