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Cultural Survival advocates for Indigenous Peoples' rights and supports Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures, and political resilience since 1972. We work toward a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance. The Keepers of the Earth Fund (KOEF) seeks to respond to the local needs and solutions of Indigenous Peoples. KOEF supports Indigenous development projects of emerging and grassroots groups and is usually the first source of financing for organizations or projects. Our fund is led by Indigenous peoples, the projects are collectively approved by an internal committee also made up of Indigenous peoples.


Cultural Survival guides its work with the concepts of self-determination, Indigenous cosmovisions, trust, humility, interculturalism, and community, as well as under the principles of respect, equity, solidarity, and responsibility. At the project level, Cultural Survival values collective projects that are driven by and benefit the entire community. Projects must be designed and led by Indigenous members of the community that the project serves, and identify and put to use the Indigenous values of that community. We value strategic and innovative approaches to Indigenous values-based development; collaboration with others for the good of the larger community; and strategic capacity building with specific results. For example, if you are documenting traditional language, song, and/or dance, why is this valuable to your community, and what will be the use(s) of the documentation? The final objective should not be only the production of documentary material but to respond to how the documentation will be used to promote your community’s continued traditions, practices, and development?


Applicants should feel free to propose projects on any topic that is important to their community (see general information for other topics). Of special interest for the 2021 call for proposals are projects focused on the following topics and their intersections: Mother Earth and biodiversity protection and recovery; climate change mitigation; Indigenous women and youth leadership; food systems; long-term projects in response to Covid-19 emergency in all its aspects: community health, food, and economic sovereignty, etc.

NOTE: for projects related to community radio and Indigenous communication, please see our Indigenous Community Media Fund.


As part of our grant-making process, Cultural Survival deeply values relationship building, personal interaction, and partnership with our grant recipients. For this reason, we aim to personally visit the majority of projects for which we provide funding. To facilitate these visits, we have a preference for proposals in countries that are within geographic proximity to our staff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, community visits are suspended, however, during the year we will evaluate the pandemic development and local conditions to resume them. Consider the current pandemic situation for the development of your project proposal, considering the necessary sanitary measures, times, and possible related setbacks.

Keepers of the Earth Fund is open to receive projects from any country where there is a presence of Indigenous communities; however, we will give a slight preference to:

  • The Americas
  • Nepal & Northern India
  • Botswana, Namibia & South Africa



  • Be an Indigenous-led project

  • Be an Indigenous non-profit grassroots community, organization, or government, with collective decision making.

  • Have a bank account in the name of your organization or have an existing written agreement with a fiscal sponsor. (For Indigenous governments, please contact us to discuss.)


Grant amounts requested may range between $500 and $5,000 USD maximum. KOEF is intended to be a springboard to enable start-up activities that can lead to sustainability. Upon successful completion of your initial grant and reporting, you may apply for subsequent grants of up to $10,000 USD. Cultural Survival seeks to establish long-term relationships with our partners, and we look forward to progressive growth towards self-sufficiency and financing diverse, far-reaching and non-repetitive projects for your community.


  • Projects that do not originate from or are not led by Indigenous Peoples

  • Electoral campaign activities

  • Missionary or proselytizing projects

  • Conference registration fees 

  • Work being done by an individual

  • Academic research 


You must fill out the questionnaire at this link and at the end attach their project concept written, video, or audio format. We are currently accepting applications between February 1st and March 2nd 2021 in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Ayuujk, Maya K’iche, Poqomam, and Kaqchikel, Sunuwar, Afrikaans, Nepali, French or Russian. Please limit submissions to 2 pages written or 3 minutes of audio or video. The project concept should respond to all the questions listed below. Deadline March 2nd, 2021.


Please respond to the following questions:

  • Who are you, and what is your role in the proposed project?

  • Which Indigenous Peoples, Tribe, Nation, ethnicity or culture does the project serve, and where will the project take place?

  • What do you want to do, how long will it take, and how much does it cost?

  • Who is currently supporting this work? (describe support from community members, funders, collaborators, or other stakeholders)

From the Project Concepts we receive, the strongest candidates will be invited to submit full project proposals.

Call 2021 closed


Questions? Email us at; or by phone at +1 (617) 441-5400 extension 75.

Para español, encuentre los lineamientos aquí.