Healthy Children Healthy Nations Fund

Established by the SMSC and Better Way Foundation, Healthy Children Healthy Nations Fund is focused on helping Native children thrive in both reservation and urban settings. This collaborative fund is the first donor-advised fund dedicated to supporting the innovation and expansion of early childhood development and childhood nutrition programs in Minnesota’s Native communities.

Under the administration of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Community Foundations, the HCHN Fund will award grants to tribal governments and Native nonprofits in Minnesota for promising models, capacity building, knowledge sharing and effective programming.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Better Way Foundation have each committed $100,000 to launch the fund, and Casey Family Programs has pledged $20,000. These partners are seeking additional commitments from funders to expand the fund’s grantmaking abilities.

Focus areas

Three areas of focus will frame the HCHN Fund’s grantmaking:

  • Expand Native early childhood development programs that are rooted in traditional knowledge, provide Native perspectives on childhood development, and celebrate Native language, identities and cultures.
  • Provide healthful early nutrition by encouraging investment in breastfeeding education, supporting partnerships among food producers and child care providers, and expanding access to healthy, traditional food outside of child care settings.
  • Build whole, healthy children, families and communities by supporting efforts to address historical trauma, adverse childhood experiences, social determinants of health, and substance abuse that create cycles of abuse, neglect and disparity.

Funding options

  • Core operation improvements grants for organizations whose existing work clearly aligns with the goals of the Healthy Children, Healthy Nations initiative but which need additional support to help advance or catalyze a specific element of their promising work. These one-year grants will provide flexible funding and capacity building to help boost Native organizations beyond a project-by-project focus.
  • Planning grants for organizations whose existing work clearly aligns with the goals of the initiative that would like to: (1) develop or expand one or more of the HCHN focus areas within their work; and/or (2) would like to explore new collaborations, partnerships or other strategies to increase the impact of their work. These six-month grants will provide resources to think strategically, convene stakeholders and produce a plan for a new project or program.

Apply for funding

The HCHN Fund is now accepting grant applications through the Foundations’ online portal until March 25, 2019 at 3 p.m. CST. Grants are available to both urban and reservation-based organizations and programs. Applicants must be a Native American-led organization, serve Native American children 0-6 years of age and/or their families in Minnesota, and work in one or more of the three HCHN focus areas.

Apply now


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