Orientation & Policies


The Cherokee Preservation Foundation welcomes grant requests that meet eligibility requirements and address our focus areas.

Our Mission and Focus

The mission of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation is to preserve our native culture, protect and enhance our natural environment, and create appropriate and diverse economic opportunities – in order to improve the quality of life for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and our neighbors in western North Carolina.

The Foundation has three main focus areas: cultural preservation, economic and workforce development, and environmental preservation.  Proposed projects must fit into at least one of these areas and demonstrate how the project will help achieve the Foundation’s stated Goals and Strategies.  Then demonstrate this alignment in your Grant Application.


Cherokee Preservation Foundation will provide grants to nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, as well as to schools, institutions of higher learning, federal, state, local and tribal government units.

Applicant organizations must be located on the Qualla Boundary or in Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon or Swain County, or serve people of this region.

The proposed work must directly benefit the people of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and must involve EBCI members in project planning and implementation.  Regional entities seeking CPFdn assistance must form a collaborative partnership with the EBCI in order to be considered for support.

What We Do Not Fund

Grants will NOT be made to or for any of the following purposes:

  • Individuals
  • Debt retirement or operational deficits
  • General fund drives
  • Endowment or reserve funds
  • Influencing elections or legislation
  • General funding of projects of governmental units
  • Religious purposes

Small Grant Types

Small grants are for $500 to $20,000.  This category has three types of grants:  Planning, Capacity and Project Specific.

  • Planning Grants are awarded to organizations interested in working with others to achieve a shared vision. The funds can be used to support planning consultants, travel, office and meeting expenses and other costs related to planning.
  • Capacity Grants assist organizations with developing their internal capabilities, such as strategic planning, financial management, marketing and outreach programs, leadership development, volunteer management, etc.  “Capacity” refers to the ability of a group to carry out its programs successfully.
  • Project Specific Grants are awarded for programs/projects that fit at least one of the three areas of focus (cultural preservation, economic development, and environmental preservation).

Large Grant Types

Large Grants are $20,000 and higher.  Within this category, there are two types of grants:  Project Specific and Preservation and Civic Enhancement Grants.

  • Project Specific Grants are awarded to organizations for programs/projects that fit at least one the three focus areas of cultural preservation, economic development, and environmental preservation.
  • Preservation and Civic Enhancement Grants provide resources for specific projects in Cherokee communities and the seven western counties of North Carolina. Since these grants will be larger in size, and some will help fund capital projects, they present an opportunity for the Foundation to offer a “challenge” or “matching” grant. The Foundation will not fund these projects for more than half of the overall budget. All proposed grants must meet the following criteria: 1) Make a contribution to enhancing the Quality of Life of the community; 2) Have broad community involvement in the development of the project; and 3) Be available for significant community usage.

Number of Applications Permitted

Grantees may receive up to one large grant and two small grants per calendar year.  For grantees with active CPFdn grants, at least 50% of funds must be spent before new grants will be awarded, and applicants must provide an Outstanding Grant Financial Report Form.

How to Apply

  • Read the Grant Guidelines and Foundation Goals and Strategies carefully.
  • Read the Application Form and answer the questions in the order listed.  Use the Helpful Tips and Examples in the Application document to assist you with the questions.
  • A Grant Application Checklist is provided in the Application to help ensure you complete and include all required documents.
  • Submit one signed original copy and five (5) copies of the Application Form and required attachments.  Applications may be delivered to the Foundation office (71 John Crowe Hill Road, Cherokee) or mailed to: Cherokee Preservation Foundation, P.O. Box 504, Cherokee, NC  29719.  Do not fax or e-mail the application.  Applications must be postmarked by the deadline date or delivered to the Foundation by 5 p.m. on the deadline date.
  • Please type your application.  Please use plain paper and do not bind/staple or place the proposal in any type of cover.  Please do not include guidance or instructional material from the foundation other than the Grant Application Checklist with your application.  Do not attach videos, publications or organization brochures.
  • CPFdn will send an acknowledgement that we have received your proposal.
  • Grant decisions are announced approximately four months after submission.


Applicants will be notified in writing of the Foundation’s decision.  If your project is approved for funding, a legal agreement that outlines the responsibilities of the Foundation and the grantee must be signed prior to release of funds. The grantee must submit an annual report on grant activities, as well as an end-of-grant report on program activities and expenditures, prior to submitting another grant application to the Foundation.  Project costs incurred prior to written authorization from the Foundation will be ineligible for reimbursement.  All awarded grantees must attend an orientation session prior to the disbursement of funds.  For more information regarding orientation sessions, please contact the Foundation.

Required Orientation for Grantees

Grant applicants who are notified that their grant applications have been successful MUST attend a grantee orientation of either of the two dates indicated in the Grant Calendar, even if they have previously been awarded a grant from Cherokee Preservation Foundation. RSVP Deb Mintz at 828-497-5550 if you are notified that your grant application has been successful.

Grant Policies

The Cherokee Preservation Foundation (CPFdn) Board of Directors enacted the following policies for grant applications and awards in 2009. All CPFdn grantees and grant applicants should make note of the requirements.

Proposals and Project Budgeting

Limits on Grant Awards – CPFdn will award funding for only one large grant (more than $20,000) and two small grants ($20,000 or less) per calendar year to any grantee.

Budgeting for Fringe Benefits, Indirect Cost or Grant Administration Cost – CPFdn prefers not to award funding for fringe benefits, indirect cost or grant administration cost. Grantee organizations should support these costs through other funding sources and count them as matching funds for CPFdn grant awards. However, fringe benefits, indirect cost and grant administration cost may be funded on an exceptional basis at the discretion of the CPFdn’s grant reviewers, subject to the following limits:

  • When a grant budget includes salaries or wages, up to 10% of the total salaries in the grant budget may be allocated to fringe benefits and an additional 10% may be allocated to “indirect cost.”
  • When a grant budget does NOT include salaries or wages, up to 10% of the total grant project cost may be allocated to “grant administration cost.” However, this amount may not exceed $20,000.
  • A grantee may budget funds for either the “indirect cost” line item or the “grant administration cost” line item, not both.

Exceptions to these limits may be considered in the following situations:

  • The grantee is a school or university and has a pre-approved agreement with CPFdn regarding this rate.
  • The grantee is serving as a fiscal agent for a grant project that includes salaries.
  • An exceptional circumstance exists with regard to the grantee.
  • The grant project is related to a CPFdn initiative, such as RTCAR or the Cherokee Language program.
  • Budgeting for Fiscal Agent Fees – When a grantee utilizes another organization as a fiscal agent to manage the financial record-keeping for their grant project, the fiscal agent organization may charge a fee for their services. Fiscal agent fees typically range between 5% and 10% of the total grant project cost. CPFdn typically does not fund above this level. If a fiscal agent fee is charged in a grant budget, indirect cost and grant administration cost may not also be charged.

Grant Award Management

Limits on No-Cost Extensions – Grantees are encouraged to complete their grant projects within one year. In cases where this cannot be accomplished, CPFdn will allow a one-time extension. Exceptions will be made only in rare and extenuating circumstances. Grantees seeking No-Cost Extensions will be required to attend the “Building Grantee Skills” courses as discussed below.

Guidelines for Budget Line Item Reallocations – Grantees may reallocate funds from one line item to another within the approved grant budget subject to the following limitations:

For Personnel line items, including Salaries/Wages, Fringe Benefits, Indirect Cost, and Honoraria/Stipends, a maximum increase of 10% of funds in any individual line item.
For all other line items, in the categories including Contracted Services, Operating Expenses, Major Capital Purchases and Other Expenses, a maximum increase or decrease of 25% in any individual line item.

  • No new line items may be created within the approved budget.
  • The fiscal agent fee or grant administration cost line items, if any, may not be increased.
  • Any budget amendments needed beyond these specific limitations must be requested in a letter to the Foundation. Budget amendment requests must be approved by the Foundation prior to any expenditures being made outside the reallocation limitations described above.

Incentive and Resources to Build Grantee Skills

In an effort to strategically allocate resources and develop quality projects, the Cherokee Preservation Foundation is encouraging grantees to engage in ongoing capacity building trainings. Grantees that attend Skill Builder training sessions will receive funding priority in regards to their grant application.

CPFdn will offer these Skill Builder courses on a regular basis at times and places convenient to our local grantees. Two key staff members involved with CPFdn grant projects will have the opportunity to attend.

Grantees seeking No-Cost Extensions may be required to attend certain Skill Builder courses, which will help them complete their projects within the new time frame.

Other grantees (residing around our seven-county service area) can complete at least five hours of organizational development training every 12-month period that is comparable to the Skill Builder courses (e.g.: WNC Nonprofit Pathways and Duke Nonprofit Management courses).

Documentation of Training – As part of the grant application form, all grant applicants must document their prior year’s attendance in the Skill Builder courses and their plans for attending skill building training in the coming year in order to receive funding priority. This step does not guarantee funding, while all grants must still meet the CPFdn funding priorities and guidelines.

Visit the Skill Builder section on our web site to learn more about Skill Builder courses offered and the course schedule.