Colorado Plateau Foundation

One-third of the 130,000 square mile Colorado Plateau lies within sovereign control of several tribes. Quite significantly, interests of tribal communities on the Plateau extend far beyond the politically designated boundaries of reservations.

Waterfall.Enormous pressure and stress from energy development and unchecked growth threatens the Colorado Plateau environment, its dependent life forms, and, in particular, cultures and traditional life ways of tribal communities. Native-run grassroots initiatives are emerging as essential and potent partners in efforts to deal with threats to the Plateau environment.

The Colorado Plateau Foundation is dedicated to indigenous cultures and protecting sacred environments of the Colorado Plateau while building organizational capacity and supporting innovative and high-impact projects. Tribal communities served by the fund include; Acoma, Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Kaibab Paiute, Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute, White Mountain Apache, and Zuni.

In 2012, The Christensen Fund and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation made grants to the Arizona Community Foundation to manage and launch a new fund called Colorado Plateau Foundation, which is now in service to Colorado Plateau tribal communities. It will explore and evaluate its grantmaking processes for continual improvement.

Colorado Plateau Foundation Grants

What We Fund

Capacity building grants from the Colorado Plateau Foundation support organizations that work in the following areas:

  • Protecting Sacred Places
  • Promoting Community Health
  • Protecting Water
  • Maintaining Indigenous Language

Proposals may be submitted for any amount between $1,000 and $17,000.

Capacity Building

Indigenous peoples have always possessed the ability to plan, organize, and accomplish tremendous undertakings. However, many modern projects have been setback or inhibited because of institutional inability to function as effectively as hoped. A new generation of indigenous led organizations employs traditional organizational processes and by necessity is expanding to include additional systems of accountability, management, and growth. These organizations are redefining their place in indigenous society and in the dominant western world. The Confluence Fund is committed to providing capacity-building support to indigenous led organizations so they can increase knowledge and skills needed to effectively plan, manage, and sustain their work on their own terms and within their means.

The Confluence Fund approaches capacity building in a variety of ways through:

  1. Grants that promote programmatic effectiveness
  2. Grants that promote organizational efficiency and/or effectiveness
  3. Grants for economic and social research and Geographic Information System services
  4. Services provided by Confluence Fund contractors, such as needed for facilitation and evaluation
  5. Grants to Capacity Building service providers

The Confluence Fund emphasizes the first two of these approaches by supporting capacity building to work on the following issues:

  • Leadership Development
  • Governance
  • Fundraising and Resource Development
  • Financial Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Evaluation
  • Messaging and Communications
  • Public engagement and mobilization
  • Technology
  • Collaborations and partnerships

Up to $17,000 will be allocated to the grantee for capacity building services available from a list of Confluence Fund vetted high performing capacity building providers.

General Examples of Possible Grants

Protecting Water

Protecting and sustaining sources of fresh water is a universal necessity for life. Examples of capacity building that is fundable in this area include; training for water quality testing and flow measurement, spring restoration training, equipment for water testing, building a water protection library, and developing community outreach to inform the public about precious water resources.

Example: Within one proposal

  • $5,500 Training for water quality testing
  • $3,000 Water testing equipment or services
  • $5,000 Staff and board training for IRS 990 reporting

Protecting Sacred Places

Sacred places are irreplaceable. They are the earthen flesh and blood of culture and are often environmental pressure points on the landscape. Examples of capacity building that is fundable in this area include training in historic preservation law, conducting cultural resource surveys, and developing strong messaging and communications.

Example: Within one Proposal

  • $8,000 Training for understanding historic preservation law
  • $5,500 Training for strategic planning
  • $3,000 Production of Geographic Information Systems maps

Maintaining Languages

Language lays the pattern and structure for the unique ways our people share and protect knowledge. Examples of capacity building that is fundable in this area include comparative study of successful language immersion programs, training in language immersion processes, and evaluation of current language fluency rates.

Example: Within one Proposal

  • $7,000 Comparative study of successful language immersion methods
  • $5,000 Survey of community language fluency rates
  • $5,000 Training for evaluation methods

Community Health

Healthy communities are better prepared to deal with challenges they may face. Examples of capacity building that is fundable in this area include surveying of community health, conducting healthy foods education, and building collaborations and partnerships.

Example: Within one Proposal

  • $4,000 Planning and carrying out a gardening seminar
  • $4,000 Training for financial management
  • $7,000 Assessing the food system of a community or region and planning an intervention.

Who is eligible?

  • Non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations in good standing
  • An organization without a 501(c)(3) may use a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor in good standing
  • Tribal governments with IRS 7871 status
  • Eligible Plateau tribal communities are: Acoma, Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Kaibab, Paiute, Navajo, Ute Mountain, Ute, White Mountain, Apache, Zuni
  • A maximum of two grants will be available for each tribe. Organizations serving more than one of the above tribes may also apply for a grant.
  • Organizations must demonstrate a non-discrimination policy regarding staff, employment, governing board and service delivery based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability or national origin.

We do not fund

  • Individuals;
  • Non-indigenous organizations;
  • Scholarships or fellowships;
  • Fundraising events;
  • Political campaigns or direct lobbying;
  • Capital improvements;
  • Organizations without 501(c)(3) status or an IRS 7871 designation;
  • Organizations that do not serve one or more of the nine tribes described above;
  • Indirect costs over 10%

How to Apply

The Confluence Fund welcomes proposals from organizations interested in applying for a grant. Proposals must be postmarked no later than Friday, October 5, 2012. Grant awards will be announced by the end of October 2012. Please be aware that there may be more requests for support than there are funds available, and grant requests may be partially funded or not funded at all.

Final Reports: All applicants who are funded in the grant cycle will be required to submit a final accountability report by October 1, 2013. The form can be obtained from the Flagstaff Community Foundation office at 928.526.1956 or email

Please include the following information in your proposal in this order:

  • Organization, Project, & Contact Information: (3 pages maximum)
  • Organization's name, address, EIN number and website;
  • Contact person's name, title, phone number, and email address;
  • Indicate grant category applying for: Protecting water, Protecting sacred places, maintaining language, or promoting community health;
  • Tribe(s), Pueblo(s), or Nation served;
  • Amount of funding you are applying for;
  • A brief history of your organization, its mission, and ongoing programs;
  • The Problem: A short description of the problem your community/organization faces and how a capacity building grant will help the organization solve the problem;
  • Impact & Intended Outcomes: How the organization's increased capacity will benefit the community/environment/organization and how the benefits will be measured. What the outcome will be as a result of a capacity building grant. Each outcome must be no more than one succinct sentence with a corresponding number or figure indicating the measurable result you plan to achieve;
  • Design: Specific capacity building goals, objectives, and action steps for solving the problem;
  • Personnel, time, and budget: How people, funds, and time will be organized to achieve outcomes.

Attachments and supporting documents: (Maximum 10 pages)

  • Copy of your organization's or fiscal sponsor's IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt letter, or IRS 7871 designation letter;
  • Budget information (organization's current year itemized budget and proposed project budget);
  • List of staff (paid and/or volunteer), a list of your Board of Directors or Advisory Council;
  • List of pending and committed revenues for your organization;
  • Letters of support or commitment;
  • Photos and brochures;
  • Links to websites.

Please mail your completed application by October 5, 2012 to:

Pats Shriver - Flagstaff Community Foundation
P.O. Box U
Flagstaff, AZ 86002

We will respond to all submissions within one week indicating your proposal was received. For further information, please contact Jim Enote at or Pats Shriver at


Capacity Building - the process of developing individual and organizational competencies and capabilities that contribute to sustainability and effectiveness.

Nonprofit Organization - a legally constituted organization that is classified by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity whose objective is to support or engage in activities of public or private interest without any commercial or monetary profit.

IRS 7871 status - IRS Code Section 7871 that treats all Native American tribal governments as states, allows for tribal governments, and any tribal government fund, program, or entity to receive tax deductible donations or charitable contributions from foundations. 7871 is recognized as an appropriate legal, political, and economic means for Indian nations to establish, regulate, and control philanthropic activities within their tribal communities.

Fiscal Agent or Fiscal Sponsor - a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that agrees to accept and be responsible for grant monies on behalf of the nonprofit grantee.

Grant Application - the medium in which to submit a grant request. Applications are posted and accessed via the Arizona Community Foundation website. The site outlines the grant eligibility requirements, focus area and application questions.

Grant Proposal - the document that makes up a grant request. The proposal is the final product of answering all application questions. It is the document that is submitted through the online application and is used in panel review. Once saved, it can be accessed through the organizational profile.

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