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Running Strong is giving away fifty $10,000 grants over the next five years to jumpstart the dreams of American Indian youth.

Looking for Dreamstarter Teacher? Click here!



“Pursuit of a dream can heal a broken soul.”  “God has given me the ability.  The rest is up to me.  Believe.  Believe.  Believe.” – Billy Mills



Running Strong for American Indian Youth® believes in the dreams of young American Indians: creating stronger communities, overcoming poverty, and building a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.

Fifty years ago, Billy Mills achieved his dream of winning an Olympic gold medal, and since then, he has used that victory to help him give back to the American Indian community. To celebrate Billy’s dream and his leadership, Running Strong is proud to announce the DreamstarterTM grant program to help the next generation of American Indian youth make their dreams come true.


Applications for Dreamstarter Year 3: Education are NOW CLOSED. Applications for Year 4 will open in October 2017.

And new this year, teachers can apply for Dreamstarter Teacher grants - teacher applications are still open!!

Dreamstarter Application & How to Apply


Join the Dreamstarter Email List


Meet the 2017 Dreamstarters!



Learn about the 2016 Dreamstarters



Learn about the 2015 Dreamstarters



50x$10K:Dreamstarter includes:  

For the next 5 years, Running Strong will provide ten $10,000 grants each year to community non-profits who will mentor a young Dreamstarter and work with them to implement a project inspired by the young person’s dream for her or his community. Beginning October 14th, Teams of one nonprofit organizations and one American Indian youth should work together to complete a Dreamstarter application outlining their idea, its funding needs, and how it will benefit youth. 



Each year, Dreamstarter 50x$10K grants will be awarded to projects addressing a different theme. The themes are: 
Year 1 (2015-2016):  Wellness
Year 2 (2016-2017):  Arts & Culture
Year 3 (2017-2018):  Education
Year 4 (2018-2019):  Science & the Environment
Year 5 (2019-2020):  Any of the above: Wellness, Arts & Culture, Education, and Environment 


I am a Dreamstarter Awards:

Each selected Dreamstarter will receive a $500 award at the end of the grant period.  Dreamstarter applicants must be under age 30 at the time of the application. 

Dreamstarter Academy:

Youth and their nonprofit organization mentors from Dreamstarter-funded projects will participate in Dreamstarter Academy, a multi-day training program to be held in Washington, DC during a week of April 2017. Dreamstarter Academy will develop leadership skills and help participants tell their stories in person, in writing, and online. Workshops will train participants on working with media, spokesperson and public speaking skills, social media, storytelling, and more. Dreamstarter Academy is also the place for participants to meet other young leaders and receive mentorship from Billy Mills and the Running Strong team.  Airfare, lodging, meals, workshops, and materials necessary for Dreamstarters and their nonprofit mentors to attend the Dreamstarter Academy will be provided by Running Strong*. 


At the end of the five-year grant period, Running Strong will choose five Dreamstarter projects from the 50 Dreamstarters and award each an additional $50,000 grant. 


Interested in becoming a Dreamstarter or mentor organization?


Eligibility and Requirements


Application & How to Apply

DreamstarterTM FAQ

Donate to Dreamstarters

Explore This Section

  • Eligibility and Requirements

    Dreamstarter grants are designed to help American Indian youth make a dream come true.

  • Dreamstarter™ FAQ

    Find answers in our Frequently Asked Questions section.

  • Application & How to Apply

    Dreamstarter applicants and Mentor Organizations team up to apply for a Dreamstarter grant together. Each Dreamstarter Application must be signed and submitted by both the Applicant and the Mentor Organization.

  • Donate to Dreamstarters

    Support the dreams of Native youth by making a gift to the Dreamstarter™ program.

  • Dreamstarter chat

    Chat Live on 11/74/16 at 6pm Eastern Standard Time. Join Running Strong staff and some previous Dreamstarters to talk about Dreamstarter Year 3: Education

  • Dreamstarter Teacher

    In 2016, we introduced a new project to help jumpstart more dreams for American Indian students: Dreamstarter Teacher.

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Give to Running Strong

We invite you to make a difference in the lives of American Indian youth today by donating to our cause.


Support Running Strong!

We invite you to make a difference in the lives of American Indian youth today by donating to our cause.