Funding in Education Innovation

Funding Opportunities

The following is a non-exhaustive list of current and upcoming funding opportunities for Native-led and Tribal education initiatives:

Native Curriculum Development

National Endowment for the Humanities: Landmarks of American History and Culture

Opportunity Information: Link

Application Due: February 7, 2024 (anticipated)

Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations recognized as taxexempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, accredited institutions of higher education (public or nonprofit), state and local governments and their agencies, or federally recognized Native American Tribal governments

Purpose: The Landmarks of American History and Culture program supports a series of one-week residential, virtual, and combined format workshops across the nation that enhance and strengthen how K-12 educators, higher education faculty, and humanities professionals study sites, areas, or regions of historic and cultural significance and incorporate place-based teaching and learning in the humanities.

Notes: Submit a draft of your project or contact NEH to schedule a conversation about your project at [email protected] by December 15, 2022. Drafts do not need to be near complete applications to be submitted for review and feedback.

Public-Private Partnerships

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has grants to Native organizations and Tribes for Native education. For example, the Gates Foundation awarded the National Indian Education Association a grant to improve Native K-12 graduation rates. The North Kitsap School District and Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe used a Gates Foundation grant to fund an Early College High School Program.

Meta Data Center Community Action Grants: available to projects that address critical community needs by putting the power of technology to use for community benefit, connect people online or off, or improve local science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Federal support facilitating Public-Private Partnerships:

  • The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)’s Public-Private Partnership Unit (P3): creates partnerships with the private sector, foundations, and academic institutions worldwide to help expand the scope, reach, and effectiveness of ECA programs while also advancing U.S. foreign policy goals.
  • Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP) supports the development and implementation of public-private partnerships to leverage federal and private resources and promote innovative solutions for Indian Country.
  • Department of the Interior MOU Between the Office of the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs U.S. DOI and Native Americans in Philanthropy Regarding Enhancing Public-Private Partnerships for Tribal Communities
  • Department of the Interior MOU Between the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs U.S. DOI, Native CDFI Network, and Oweesta Corporation to Effectuate Tribal-Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Economic Development and Entrepreneurship in Tribal Communities
  • Department of the Interior MOU Between the Office of the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs U.S. DOI and American Sustainable Business Network
  • Department of the Interior MOU Between the Office of the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs U.S. DOI and Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Federal, State and Local

Federal Funding Opportunities

The following reflects our research into potential federal funding opportunities, largely through the U.S. Department of Education to support culturally focused education for Alaska Native students, as well as other similar opportunities.  While there is no opportunity singularly focused on the funding needed to establish and operate a State-Tribal Compact School, many of the programs could support specific programs or grade levels focused on Indigenous education using a tribal compact model. 

These funding opportunities are typically available annually, and they are included in the President’s Budget for FY 2024.  While deadlines for some of the programs presented below have passed for FY ‘23, many are available annually and should be available again for FY ‘24.  And there are still opportunities that will be announced for FY ‘23 and available later this year.

National Endowment for the Humanities: Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education

Opportunity Information: Link

Application Due: October 11, 2023 (anticipated)

Eligibility: public or private 501(c)(3) accredited institutions of higher education, or nonprofit organizations recognized as tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that support humanities faculty and instruction

Purpose: The Spotlight on Humanities in Higher Education program supports the exploration and development of small projects that would benefit underserved populations through the teaching and study of the humanities. Eligible applicants include small- to medium-size two- and four-year institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations whose work advances the humanities at these institutions and among their faculty and students. NEH especially welcomes applications from Native American and Indigenous institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, minority-serving institutions, community colleges, rural colleges and universities, schools that have a majority-minority undergraduate enrollment, and those that serve significant numbers of first-generation and nontraditional students. The Spotlight program supports activities such as curricular or program development, expert consultations, speakers’ series, student research, creation of teaching resources, and community engagement. Projects may benefit students, faculty, the institution or organization, and/or the community.

Notes: Submit draft materials to [email protected] by September 28, 2022 to receive feedback from program officers before the final deadline. You do not need to have a fully developed program idea or near complete application to submit materials for review and feedback.

National Science Foundation: Discovery Research PreK-12 program (DRK-12)

Opportunity Information: Link

Application Due: November 8, 2023

Eligibility: Institutions of Higher Education, Non-profit, non-academic Organizations, and Tribal Governments. Definitions provided in NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter I.E.

Purpose: The goal of the Discovery Research PreK-12 program (DRK-12) is to catalyze research and development that enhances all preK-12 teachers’ and students’ opportunities to engage in high-quality learning experiences related to the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The program’s objectives are to: (1) build knowledge about how to develop preK-12 students’ and teachers’ STEM content knowledge, practices, and skills; (2) support collaborative partnerships among STEM education researchers,  STEM education practitioners and school leaders with the goals of extending relevant scientific literatures while developing more effective practice; and (3) build the field of STEM education by supporting knowledge synthesis, interdisciplinary interactions across fields and stakeholders, and the development of novel and robust ways of assessing teacher and student learning, engagement, and skills. Outcomes of DRK-12 projects can include but are not limited to promising, evidence-based products that can be used by others to support the success of all teachers and all students (e.g., curriculum, teaching and research tools, and models of collaboration).

Notes: In 2022, University of Alaska Fairbanks received a DRK-12 grant to design and research a place-based, culturally sustaining STEM educational resources and model to engage Alaska Native and other high school students in STEM.

Office of Rural, Insular & Native Achievement Programs: Alaska Native Education (ANE) Program

Opportunity Information: Link

Application Due: No information for FY23 on the website, although it was funded for FY23.

Eligibility: In general, eligible applicants for the ANE Program include nonprofit organizations and other educational organizations and/or agencies.  Specifically, the following entities are eligible: (a) Alaska Native organizations, education entities with experience in developing or operating Alaska Native programs or programs of instruction conducted in Alaska Native languages, (b) cultural and community-based organizations with experience in developing or operating programs to benefit Alaska Natives, and consortia of organizations may apply, (c) a state education agency (SEA) or Local Educational Agency (LEA) may apply as part of a consortium involving Alaska Native organization.

Purpose: The overall purpose of the ANE program is to meet the unique education needs of Alaska Natives and to support supplemental education programs to benefit Alaska Natives. Grantees under the program use their funds for such activities as the development of curricula and education programs that address the education needs of Alaska Native students, and the development and operation of student enrichment programs in science and mathematics.  Eligible activities also include professional development for educators, activities carried out through Even Start programs and Head Start programs, family literacy services, and dropout prevention programs.

Notes: The ANE Program is funded annually and provides awards each fiscal year.  The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) provides funding award summaries from previous years on their website.  In the President’s Budget request, the department has requested $45 million for FY24.  There is no information available on the website for FY23.