The Native American Recovery Fund was created by the New Mexico Foundation in partnership with local and regional foundations to address and support long-term recovery efforts of New Mexico Native American communities impacted by the pandemic. The funders have committed to supporting work in the areas of family economic security, health systems, local food systems, opportunity youth and water resilience.

At this time, the Native American Recovery Fund Zone Grant is only accepting applications in the area of WATER RESILIENCE. See below for further information and instructions on how to apply.

Water Resilience application opens: December 7, 2021
Deadline to apply (EXTENDED) 12 pm, January 19, 2022
Decisions made: early February 2022

Up to three (3) grants will be awarded to tribes, 501(c)(3) Native-led nonprofits, or Native-led organizations with a fiscal sponsor doing work in the Water Resilience focus area.

In the first year of this three-year program, the New Mexico Foundation will award each of the selected eligible applicants a one-year, $25,000 grant for organizational capacity-building and integrated water resources planning. We are especially interested in supporting projects that leverage federal investments in water infrastructure (including community drinking water systems, irrigation systems, and natural infrastructure such as rivers, streams, and springs).

In the program’s second and third years, grantee organizations will be eligible to receive grants of $100,000 (each year) to support implementation of their projects.

Water Resilience in Native American Communities
The Recovery Fund is seeking Native-led projects that will build water resilience in Tribal communities and that are aligned with the cultural perspectives of those communities. The participating funders acknowledge and honor the powerful tension between contemporary scientific approaches to water projects and the more spiritual and integrated understanding that Tribal people carry with regard to water. The selection committee seeks proposals that hold and operate within this tension. The core questions we are seeking responses to is:

  • How can indigenous communities develop and implement an integrated water resource management plan that will guide decisions around short- and long-term water use for agriculture, drinking water access, cultural use, and economic sustainability? To develop and implement integrated water management, what sort of capacity is needed in tribal communities? How can the needed capacity be developed and expanded?

Definitions and Further Guidance
WATER RESILIENCE: The ability of water systems to withstand a variety of water-related shocks (floods, droughts, aridification, changes in water quality) without losing their ability to support key functions, as well as the ability of water systems to transform and adapt to new climatic and hydrologic regimes.

INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: A process that promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems. See this link for guidance and examples.

Proposals will be selected based on their ability to build water resilience in Native communities. Some examples of what project objectives could include:

  1. Agricultural irrigation system infrastructure and operating improvements.
  2. Drinking water system infrastructure and operating improvements.
  3. Water sharing agreements, water leasing programs, water banks, and other tools for managing shortages and balancing water supply and demand.
  4. Watershed, river, stream, and spring restoration.
  5. Restoration of water-related cultural sites.

All proposals will be accepted online only. To view a PDF version of the RFP, feel free to download it by clicking here. See below for instructions on how to begin the online application process.

Application Instructions
To apply for the Native American Recovery Fund Zone Grant,  you must register on the New Mexico Foundation’s web portal as a grant applicant. Please select “Grant Applicant” under “Portal Access” on the registration form, which can be accessed here. New Mexico Foundation will need to approve registrations for new organizations, which can take up to 24 hours.

Once you register, you can log in to view and begin working on your proposal. It will be listed in the menu item “Grant Applicant” and “Available Applications” as “Native American Recovery Fund – Water Resilience.” You can save and come back to your proposal anytime.

Questions? Email