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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Solid Waste Management on Tribal Lands

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Foundation Grants

Creating a Tribal Nonprofit Corporation

Example of a tribal 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation: The Hopi Foundation

The Hopi Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer) was founded by Hopi tribal members in 1985 and incorporated under the State of Arizona as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1987. The foundation promotes social and economic development on the Hopi reservation in Arizona, including supporting education, solar energy, tribal small businesses, and Hopi language preservation.

There are two types of corporations: commercial (or for-profit corporations), and nonprofit corporations. The purpose of for-profit corporations is to run a business with the goal of earning profits for the corporation's shareholders. In contrast, a nonprofit corporation (also known as a 501(c) (3) corporation) is organized for purposes other than making a profit, generally for charitable and philanthropic purposes. A nonprofit is generally created utilizing state law, but can also be created using tribal law. Each state and tribe should have a statute that sets out the procedure for creating a nonprofit corporation and the boundaries in which a nonprofit must operate.

Creating a nonprofit corporation starts with filing Articles of Incorporation. Articles of Incorporation are agreements between the incorporators (people or organizations wanting to create the nonprofit, such as tribal members or a tribal organization) and the state or tribe about the functions, responsibilities, and obligations of the nonprofit corporation. For more information about filing Articles of Incorporation and starting a nonprofit corporation, see Options for Designing Your Tribal Philanthropic Program (PDF) (35 pp, 274K). About PDF

Once a nonprofit is incorporated under state or tribal law, the nonprofit can apply to the IRS for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status allows the organization to receive donations that are tax deductible for the donor. It also allows the organization to be eligible for grants which are limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations (including many listed below).

Resources for Creating a Tribal Nonprofit:

Grant Portals

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Foundation Center Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

Description: A web portal for grant seekers and givers. The Foundation Center contains information about writing proposals, searching for grants and grant procedures.

International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP) Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

Established in 1999, IFIP is an Indigenous-led affinity group of the Council on Foundations. Their primary goal is to foster a greater commitment from philanthropic institutions and promote effective grantmaking of Indigenous development projects and communities by improving networking opportunities, enhancing collaboration, building capacity and promoting the advancement of philanthropic leadership. Below is a describtion and link to IFIP's Indigenous Peoples Funding & Resources Guide:

This Guide Exiting EPA (disclaimer) contains information on the elements of a proposal, how to conduct foundation research, useful research websites, glossary of fundraising terms, and information on over 250 philanthropic institutions, foundations, corporations, and government agencies who provide funding for Indigenous communities and other groups.

Beldon Fund Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: The Fund seeks proposals that engage new constituencies in exposing the connection between toxic chemicals and human health and in promoting public policies that prevent or eliminate environmental risks to people's health, particularly through application of the precautionary principle.
  • Cycle Dates: Letters of inquiry due twice yearly.
  • Award Amount: $25,000 +

Ben & Jerry's Foundation  Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Supports a wide variety of projects from grassroots, constituent-led organizations that are organizing for systemic social change.
  • Cycle Dates: No deadline
  • Award Amount: Small grants $1,000 or less and full grants up to $15,000

Captain Planet Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Funds innovative, hands-on projects for grades K-12 that empower children to solve environmental problems. Examples include urban gardeners, recycling, habitat and wildlife protection, beautification, and water quality. The foundation will not fund general operations, salaries or transportation.
  • Cycle Dates: Mar 31, Jun 30, Sep 30, Dec 31
  • Award Amount: $250 - $2500

Compton Foundation, Inc.  Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Funds sustainable resource management, public education, energy conservation, and waste reduction. Particularly interested in projects that promote values that affirm sustainable relationships with land and water and foster environmentally informed, responsible citizens.
  • Cycle Dates: Mar 7 and Sep 7
  • Award Amount: $10,000 - $40,000

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The Nathan Cummings Foundation  Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Funds efforts that promote the environmental accountability of corporations, governments, and other institutions in communities, especially those vulnerable due to low- to moderate-socioeconomic status, race, or ethnicity.
  • Cycle Dates: Jan 15 and Aug 15
  • Award Amount: $25,000 - >$100,000

First Nations Development Institute, Eagle Staff Fund Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

Gannett Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: The Gannett Foundation supports local organizations in communities where the Gannett Co., Inc. owns a local daily newspaper or broadcast station (includes California: Palm Springs, Sacramento, Salinas and Visalia; Arizona: Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff; Nevada: Reno). Each local Gannett operation establishes its own priorities, depending upon local needs, and may have additional guidelines and restrictions.
  • Cycle Dates: 15th of February and 15th of August

The Goldman Fund Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Supports the protection and restoration of California's environment with an emphasis on the San Francisco Bay Area. Support programs that:
    • Conserve land, water and coastal resources
    • Promote environmental health: Improve air and water quality; reduce exposure to toxics; protect communities living with disproportionate levels of pollution
    • Advocate for policies that address the environmental impacts of population growth: Encourage smart growth and transportation planning; ensure conservation-oriented water management; foster conservation-oriented energy planning.
  • Cycle Dates: No deadline
  • Award Amount: $50,000 -$3,000,000 +

Home Depot Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Funds affordable housing using green building practices and a "Healthy Community Trees" program.
  • Cycle Dates: Jan 15, May 15, Sep 15
  • Award Amount: $50,000 +

Honor the Earth Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Exclusively for tribes, Honor the Earth funds projects in Environmental & Energy Justice, Building Sustainable Communities, and Youth.

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  • Cycle Dates: Jan 15, Sep 15
  • Award Amount: $1,000 - $5,000

Kresge Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: The "Green Building Initiative" program encourages construction and renovation using green building practices.
  • Cycle Dates: See Web site
  • Award Amount: $25,000 - $100,000

Lannan Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
505-986-8160 ext. 115 or 116

  • Description: Funds a broad range of rural indigenous projects that are consistent with traditional values including environmental protection.
  • Cycle Dates: No deadline
  • Award Amount: $5,000 - $100,000

The Charles A. Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: The fund supports projects that stress the balance between technology and the natural environment in the following areas: agriculture, conservation of natural resources, education, and waste management.
  • Cycle Dates: 2nd Thursday in June for following year.
  • Award Amount: $10,580

James Irvine Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: The Foundation provides funding for projects in California for a wide variety of purposes, from core operating support to program implementation to capacity-building projects.
  • Cycle Dates: See website
  • Award Amount: $15,000 +

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Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Funds projects that protect community health and environment, advance environmental justice, promote sustainable agriculture, and ensure quality reproductive health care.
  • Cycle Dates: No deadline
  • Award Amount: $25,000 - $50,000 +

Public Welfare Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Funds program costs for various environmental, community development, and health projects.
  • Cycle Dates: No deadline
  • Award Amount: $25,000 - $50,000

San Diego Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: The Clean Environments, Healthy Communities initiative supports efforts to enhance human health and human environments, particularly among populations that bear a disproportionate share of pollution in the San Diego region, such as the residents of San Diego's southern bay front communities, tribal communities and farm workers.
  • Cycle Dates: See website
  • Award Amount: $20,000 - $50,000

Seva Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Provides financial and technical resources to tribes to support a large variety of sustainable efforts, including environmental restoration, which fit within the culture.
  • Cycle Dates: Quarterly, see web page.
  • Award Amount: $500 - $5,000

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Seventh Generation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Will fund general support, training, technical assistance for tribal organizations for a variety of projects, including Environmental Health and Justice.
  • Cycle Dates: Mar 1, Jun 1, Sep 1, Dec 1 (No deadline on Mini Grants)
  • Award Amount: Mini grants -$50 -$500; Training & Technical Assistance: $600-$5,000; General Support: $600-$10,000.

Threshold Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)  

  • Description: Will fund operating funds including salaries for community organizing for ecological projects, especially for communities that live on the land to be protected.
  • Cycle Dates: End of September
  • Award Amount: $5,000-$25,000

Weeden Foundation  Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: Supports the conservation of unique western terrestrial and aquatic habitats, particularly forest ecosystems, riparian corridors, and riverine/aquatic environments of demonstrated ecological significance.
  • Cycle Dates: See web site
  • Award Amount: $20,000 (Average)

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

  • Description: The Environment Program at the Foundation has three goals: to save the great ecosystems of the North American West; to reduce the environmental impacts of fossil-fuel energy systems by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy sources; and to build an infrastructure for environmental concerns among California's growing but still underrepresented populations in the L.A. basin and the Central Valley.
  • Cycle Dates: No deadline for submitting letters of inquiry.
  • Award Amount: $15,000 +
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