CIRI Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports education and career development for Alaska Natives in the form of grants, scholarships, and fellowships. There are four grant deadlines each year.

FUNDING AREAS: Education and career development for Alaska Natives

IP TAKE:  If you work in Native Alaskan education, call the staff to discuss your ideas. Some organizations are eligible for more than one grant program.

PROFILE: The CIRI Foundation was established in 1982 by the Cook Inlet Region board of directors to support education and career development of Alaska Natives. It is based in Anchorage, Alaska, and is dedicated to preserving the culture and heritage of Alaska Natives who are original enrollees of Cook Inlet region and their descendants.

Over the years, the foundation has given out over $28 million for Alaska Native beneficiaries to pursue post-secondary education. Approximately $2.8 million has been awarded to nonprofits through the funder’s Education and Heritage Project Grant Program.

Post-secondary grants are typically awarded for vocational training. The application deadlines for both vocational training grants and individual fellowships are usually March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 1. The eligibility guidelines differ between the vocational training grants and the village scholarship and grant programs.

The foundation also administers other village and tribal grants and scholarships for the Ninilchik Native Association, Salamatof Native Association, Eklutna, Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s Tribal Higher Education Scholarship, Alyeska Match Program, and the RAVEN Fund. Recent grants have gone to Alaska Native Arts Classes, Fairbanks Arts Association, Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, Alaska Native Cultural Charter School, and Anchorage Museum Association. A full list of recipients is here.

In addition to education grants and scholarships, CIRI supports programs that foster the general public's appreciation and understanding of the Cook Inlet region’s Alaska Native people. Grants often go to arts and culture groups to support the intergenerational transference of traditional practices. The foundation provides a list of resources for local artists as well.

Upcoming foundation deadlines are posted on the funder’s website. You can also download the foundation’s current Education Resources Handbook with information about grants, scholarships, and financial aid tips. A Grant Writing Handbook for Alaska Native artists and organizations is available, too.

This foundation is governed by a board of up to 15 members who are passionate about education and heritage perpetuation for Alaska Native people. It is highly recommended to call the staff before submitting an application for funding—they'll guide you to the correct funding category and application forms. Once you’ve made that call, download the education project grant application or the heritage project grant application from the funder’s website. The foundation has an eight-member staff led by President/CEO Susan Anderson.

The foundation staff can be reached at 907-793-3575, and the address is 3600 San Jeronimo Drive, Suite 256, Anchorage, Alaska 99508. General questions can be directed to


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