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

Areas of Interest


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

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


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

Economic Independence

  • Employment, business, entrepreneurial opportunities and home ownership

Application Dates & Deadlines

The Tiwahe Foundation awards grantees three times a year. All applicants will receive a letter and email of notification of grant award or declination within four to six weeks of application deadlines. Early submission of your application is encouraged but will not be a factor in the committee’s decision. Applications must be postmarked or emailed by the following dates:

Winter Deadline

January 6

Spring Deadline

May 6

Summer Deadline

July 15

Fall Deadline

October 1

For questions and submissions, please email Download the PDF grant application

Eligibility Requirements

  • 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.

  • 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.