The portal for proposals is currently CLOSED. The information below is for reference only.

Program Description

The Big Ten Academic Alliance Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) and Indigenous Languages Partnership at Michigan State University, funded by the generous support of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is inviting proposals related to Anishinaabemowin from groups having a strong connection to an Indigenous community and/or academic language programs in the Michigan and Great Lakes region.

A goal of LCTL and Indigenous Languages Partnership is to inventory existing materials and respond to language programming needs as identified by the Indigenous community.  The number of activities/projects that the LCTL and Indigenous Languages Partnership will be able to support will vary. Awards for proposals will range from $2,500 to $10,000, although smaller projects may be considered. If your project is not ready this round of funding, there will be at least one additional call for proposals announced through 2022.

Awards will be subject to approval from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and must comply with Michigan State University regulations. The funding agreements will be processed through MSU. Please note that these subawards can only be made with tribes, organizations, or businesses, not with individuals. If you are an individual/group of individuals looking to do a project, you will need to work with a tribe, established organization, or business entity in order to facilitate your project.


  • January 1, 2021 – Submission portal opens 
  • Friday, February 19, 2021 – Pre-proposals due by 11:59 pm (EST) 
  • March 31, 2021 – The Wewaawiindamojig (Advisory Circle for the Partnership) will review the pre-proposals and invite some full proposals. We anticipate communication with invited proposals by this date. 
  • May 1, 2021- Full proposals due (for those invited to submit full proposals) 

Project Period: Tentatively October 1, 2021 – August 31, 2022 

Review Criteria

The Wewaawiindamojig will consider many different aspects of the proposals for funding. Some criteria guidelines are as follows:

  1. Proposals from groups with a strong connection to an Indigenous community, and/or academic language program are a priority
  2. Overall quality and feasibility of proposal, including budget/programming that fall within funding and risk management parameters
    • In light of the current impacts caused by the coronavirus and possibilities for future resurgence, if your project includes any face-to-face activities, please also provide alternative activities/accommodations if those cannot occur as planned. 
  3. Outcomes and benefits for Indigenous community involved
  4. Innovative and original materials
  5. Sustainability plans beyond Mellon funding (How will you keep the efforts/impact of the project going past the funding period?)
  6. Dissemination plans of project (How will you share the results/resources of your project with the broader community?)

Submit Your Pre-Proposal

When you are ready to submit your pre-proposal, click the “submission portal” link below, which will take you to a form where you will fill out the following information:

  1. Briefly characterize your project.
    • Is it a language event (immersion weekend/activity)? travel to record speakers? a teaching tool (book/instructional video)?
  2. Abstract – A short summary (no more than 500 words or one page) describing your project, the outcomes and benefits to Anishinaabemowin language learning and the community.  Include the size of the group that will benefit.
  3. Contact information for the project, names of proposed collaborators
  4. Total funds with short description of how you think the money will be used. Please keep in mind the budgetary considerations, below.

Want a preview of the questions before you submit? You can preview the content of the submission portal in PDF format here.  

Budgetary Considerations

Costs that will not be funded:

  1. Basic equipment purchases above $500.
  2. Computers, phones, iPads, etc.
  3. Gifts
  4. Construction projects and permanent fixtures such as signage
  5. Furniture
  6. Alcohol, semaa (tobacco)
  7. Scholarships, tuition, or financial aid
  8. Food and catering costs are allowable, but must be related to an event.

Ready to submit?  

(Reminder, the portal opens January 1, 2021 and the deadline is February 19, 2021.)  


The Indigenous Community Outreach Liaison will hold open Q&A sessions on Zoom for interested parties who wish to discuss the grant or their project proposals. The Q&A sessions will be held on the following dates/times:  

  1.  January 15 – 1:00 PM (EST) 
  2. January 25 – 11:00 AM (EST)
  3. January 28 – 1:00 PM (EST) 
  4. February 2 – 3:00 PM (EST) 
  5. February 15 – 10:00 AM (EST) 

You can register to attend one of the Q&A Zoom sessions by filling out this registration form. The Zoom information for your chosen session (link, password, phone access) will automatically be sent to the email address you provide.  

Contact Information
Please direct any questions or any issues with the application form to: