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Protecting the Sacred invests in grassroots projects and programs around the world that support Indigenous wisdom-keepers, knowledge-holders, and their communities in strengthening and revitalizing their cultural practices, language, ceremony, sacred teachings, and lifeways. By creating these reciprocal relationships, we have the opportunity to experience a deeper understanding of what Indigenous people have known for thousands of years; Mother Earth is alive and we are a part of her. This intrinsic connection allows for a holistic approach to living and being. In renewing our relationship with the living world, we deepen our understanding of the urgent responsibility to be respectful caretakers for future generations.

The current funding cycle in now closed.


Protecting the Sacred Project Giving Model graphic

Please direct any questions you might have to: Paloma Abregu, Seeds of Wisdom (formerly Sacred Fire Foundation) Director of Community Partnership


Who Can Apply?

Awards will be made to individuals, groups and organizations whose initiatives are complementary to and further the mandate of Seeds of Wisdom (formerly Sacred Fire Foundation). Ideally, applicants are a community/organization/group/association of Indigenous Peoples and have non-profit status or a fiscal sponsor with non-profit status.

Organizations that are not a 501(c)(3) exempt organization may be considered but will receive an Internal Revenue Service form 1099 from Seeds of Wisdom.

What are the requirements?

Seeds of Wisdom will take the following criteria in mind during the selection process:

1. The application directly benefits an organization and/or a project that is Indigenous-led and has originated from within the community it will benefit. The maximum available for each project is US $5,000. The budget submitted must be based on a realistic assessment of local costs. The budget must be expressed in U.S. dollars.

2. Seeds of Wisdom considers the contribution that Indigenous participants make to the development of the projects in their own communities. It is important to consider this contribution and describe it in the budget, though the contribution need not be quantifiable (ie. cultural practices, traditional knowledge and spiritual resources).

3. The timetable/calendar must be included, indicating the anticipated activities for the project over a period of 12 months. The date used to determine the 12-month period will be the date of Seeds of Wisdom’s acceptance letter.

4. Community Partners need to fully complete the first project funding cycle, and comply with all reporting requirements, prior to considering re-applying to SOW. Applications from former Community Partners who have failed to submit a report will not be accepted.

5. Seeds of Wisdom limits funding to 5 years per organization and/or project. During this time period, we encourage the Community Partner to find additional sources of funding to support the sustainability of the organization and/or project. Selections are based on availability of funds, project performance, and compliance with progress and financial reporting requirements. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Selection Criteria

Seeds of Wisdom will consider the following criteria when making its funding decisions:
1. If the organization and/or project is Indigenous-led and has originated from within the community it will benefit. To determine project and organization leadership, we will favor those organizations with a majority (more than 51%) of Indigenous leadership in their organizational structure.
2. The extent to which the initiative and SOW’s interests are compatible with the support and/or restoration of ancestral wisdom, Indigenous perspectives, and/or cultural or traditional spiritual practices.
3. The specific issue or situation that the project addresses and the relevance and contribution of the proposed project to the issue or situation.
4. The primary and secondary benefits that would accrue as a result of the initiative, especially the extent of long-term benefits.
5. The extent of the community’s volunteer involvement and contribution toward furthering the goals or desired impact described in the application.
6. The extent to which the initiative encourages or enhances cooperation and relationships between and amongst different groups.
7. The potential for the funds to be used to leverage additional funds from other sources for the same purposes, if required.
8. For requests that will produce a permanent program or project, evidence that the applicant organization plans to and is capable of financially sustaining the effort beyond the end of the award period.

Restrictions and Conditions

1. Awards will be made with the understanding that Seeds of Wisdom assumes no obligation or commitment to provide additional support to the applicant organization.
2. Awards will not be made toward the support of political campaigns or attempts to influence a legislature or any other governmental body.
3. Awards will be made without discrimination on the basis of age, color, race, religion, sex, disability, veteran status, or national origin, and only to eligible recipients who do not unlawfully discriminate on these same criteria.
4. Project extensions and/or report submissions may be requested and approved if circumstances are justified.

Non-allowable expenses:
1. First-class travel including: airfare, accommodation, car rentals, meal costs, etc., unless conditions require this for the success of the project.
2. International travel costs unless unavoidable for the success of the project.
3. Entertainment expenses for purposes other than those directly related to meeting program objectives as defined and agreed on in the proposal.
4. Pre-proposal costs (i.e., project costs generated during the preparation of a proposal for the same project).
5. Endowment campaigns.
6. Construction, purchase, or renovation of facilities, with the exception of sacred and ceremonial buildings.