Indigenous Grantwriting

Instructor Name: 
Nariyo Kono
CRN: 
14161
Course Description: 

Grant Writing for Indigenous Sustainability   In the online Capstone course Indigenous Grant Writing, students work collaboratively in teams to research and write grants, and to understand the issues of Indigenous communities. Students gain an understanding of collaborative work and the importance of equal participation from every team member. Students examine the role of non-profit organizations in addressing social, ethical, and political issues. They also consider the role of funding and philanthropy as it relates to non-profits, gaining a better understanding of why organizations rely on funders and donations to function. Finally, students consider the impact of colonization on Indigenous communities. Through discussions on current issues and exposure to media that reinforces Indigenous culture, students are challenged to consider their own relationship to Indigenous cultural sustainability. Among a number of other grants, capstone students have successfully helped Wisdom of the Elders acquire the Multnomah County Community Cable Access grant (at $22,000 for equipment) and the United Way grant ($152,000 each year for three years) for the Discovering Our Story project. Other community partners include Red Lodge Transition Services and the Native Wellness Institute.

Course Work Students have a direct impact on Indigenous communities by providing an indirect service. The course walks students through the process of grant development, including researching funding sources, writing, editing, and formatting submissions. A real life grant for an Indigenous non-profit organization is at the center of several assignments and the final project. This grant is drafted and reviewed by the community partner, which keeps students in touch with their partner during the grant editing stage. Students are invited to choose any book (fiction or non-fiction) by an Indigenous author for the book review final.

Project Description: 

Students begin in Week One by introducing themselves to everyone in the course. By Week Two, students need to self-select groups for the grant project, which propels much discussion and interaction on the bulletin board. Weekly discussions that help guide the grant project continue on the bulletin board throughout the course. Students complete specific grant assignments that break the process down into steps- researching prior grants from the community partner, researching the community partner's prior and current projects, finding a viable funding source that the community partner approves, drafting the grant proposal, and then revising the grant proposal as the final project. Meanwhile, students read a self-selected book by an Indigenous author that is approved by the instructor that culminates in a book review as the final assignment.

The weekly discussions require students to respond to one another and share diverse opinions on important issues related to Indigenous cultural sustainability and social responsibility. Students are also required to be ethically responsible to their fellow group members in completing the grant project as a team. The book review assignment gives students a chance to vantage their individuality in a reflection.

Since grant writing is an extremely valuable skill, students receive individualized learning that applies to any major. Humanities majors (e.g., English, Art, Philosophy) often seek writing careers, and grant writing for them becomes a matter of enhancing a professional portfolio for job seeking. Social Sciences majors (e.g., Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology, Social Studies) who intend to engage in social work will be well prepared for grant writing, which is a critical source of funding for a variety of public, private, and government entities that live and die by their grant gaining capabilities. Science majors (e.g., Biology, Environmental Studies, Pre-Med) and Psychology majors will find the topic of pathologies that this Capstone addresses of interest in addition to gaining the valuable skill of grant writing that may prove useful in their professional careers. Finally, students who intend academic careers, including graduate and postgraduate work across the disciplines, will find a background in grant writing an indispensable resource in navigating the contemporary realities of higher education funding.