The Family Empowerment Program supports an individual or family in pursuit of professional, educational, or cultural opportunities. Grants range from $500 to $2,500.

Family Empowerment Program

The Family Empowerment Program is a grant-making project of the Tiwahe Foundation, which awards grants to individuals working to be of service to their community, connected to their culture, and to have their potential realized.

Throughout its history, this program has invested in human capital — in the skills, resources, and cultural strengths that American Indian families and individuals possess that allow them to contribute to the cultural and social wellbeing of their community. Since its inception, the Family Empowerment Program has made nearly 800 grants totaling more than $1.4 million to grantees.

What this grant will fund

Family Empowerment Program supports an individual or family in pursuit of professional, educational, or cultural opportunities. Grants range from $500 to $2,500.

Impact Areas and examples of goals set


  • Learning Native languages (speaking and understanding)
  • Developing kinship ties (learning from family, elders and community members)
  • Learning traditional and cultural practices


  • Expenses related to college degrees, certificates, vocational training, GED, and college entrance exams

Economic Independence

  • Employment, business, entrepreneurial opportunities and home ownership

Health and Wellness

  • Expenses related to improving physical and mental health initiatives
  • Asset-based learning or business model development related to building healthy community
  • Work in promoting healthy food systems
  • Work promoting in traditional tobacco vs. commercial tobacco
  • Work in (trauma) healing

Grant Review Process

Step 1 Eligibility
The Tiwahe Foundation staff reviews and processes all grant applications checking to ensure that individuals meet our funding requirements and applications are complete.


  • The applicant must be 18 years of age. Adults cannot apply on a minor’s behalf.
  • Applicant must be a member of a federally or state-recognized tribe, and must provide proof of tribal lineage – this includes a copy of tribal identification, enrollment or lineage documentation.
  • Applicant using a parent’s enrollment documentation must submit a copy of birth certificate verifying the relationship between parent & applicant.
  • Applicant must reside in the seven-county metropolitan area of Minnesota: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Scott, Ramsey, and Washington Counties.
  • Former grantees must have submitted a final report within one year of their grant award date. Past grant recipients are eligible to apply for funding three years after submitting a final report. Previously funded applicants who do not submit a final report are ineligible.
  • Applicants applying under the Education Impact area must include a Financial Needs Statement.
  • Computer or similar technology requests must include supporting documents showing purchase estimates.

Step 2 Correspondence
The Tiwahe Foundation staff will follow up with applicants to confirm the receipt of the application.

Step 3 Review & Final Selection
The Tiwahe Foundation Grants Committee will review each application and make funding recommendations. These recommendations are presented to the Board of Directors for final approval.

Step 4 Board Approval and Grant Awards
The Tiwahe Board of Directors will approve final grants at the Winter, Spring, and Fall board meetings. A grant agreement will be sent and must be sent back to Tiwahe for grant disbursement.

The grant process from application due date to board approval can be from 4-6 weeks.


Tiwahe receives over 100 applications and we are able to fund 30-40 grants per year.