Dreamstarter Teacher

Running Strong will give away up to $25,000 in grants each year to teachers who serve Native American students. We’ll select Dreamstarter Teachers who will use their grants to meet an unmet classroom or school need and encourage Native students to follow their dreams. Grant funds may be used for almost anything you need for the classroom: resource materials, supplies, equipment, professional development, field trips/transportation, and/or stipends to support bringing community liaisons into the classroom.


Teachers or other educators (librarians, counselors, etc.) can apply for up to $1,000 to meet a need or plan a project in their school or classroom.  Dreamstarter Teacher projects may be one school-year long project or two different projects for the fall and spring semesters. 

If approved, Dreamstarter Teacher grants will be made in two installments:
(1) up to $500 (depending on $ requested) in August for the fall semester
(2) up to $500 (depending on $ requested) in January for the spring semester

Click here to view an example of our online application, and be sure to check back in May 2021 for the next round of applications. 

Applications for the 2020-2021 school year are now closed. Check back here in spring 2021 for the next round of open applications.

Please email Dreamstarter@IndianYouth.org with any questions regarding the grant program. 

Take a look at our brochure for a comprehensive look at the Dreamstarter Teacher Grant Program. 

Feel free to share this brochure with anyone who might be interested!

July 3, 2020: Online applications using this form are DUE by 11:59 pm EST. You must hit “submit” and ensure that there are no errors before the deadline in order for your application to be considered.

By August 4, 2020: Successful applicants are notified!

August 2020: Teachers receive 1st $500 grant for the fall semester!

Work on your project! Keep your receipts!

December 31, 2020: Receipts are due via our 2 page online update form or by mail.

January 2021: Receive 2nd $500 grant (if needed) for the spring semester!

Until June 30, 2021: Keep working on your project! Keep your receipts!

By August 15, 2021: Submit your receipts for the ENTIRE amount via our 2 page online update form or by mail (postmarked) to Running Strong.


If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at Dreamstarter@IndianYouth.org

Take a look at how Dreamstarter Teachers are changing students' lives!


“I am passionate about making language a priority and it is worthy of being saved. Through the games in the [Blackfeet] language kits they became more fluent at speaking, responded faster to the prompts – and have a lot of fun!”

2019 – 2020 dreamstarter teacher, willamina tailfeathers

“It was during my sophomore year in psychology class where I had an epiphany. We read an article showing statistics of education completed based on race. I remember being confused as to why Native Americans weren’t listed. That was until I read the footnote and found that they correlated Native Americans to the “other” category since our numbers were so small, we could not even warrant a category of our own. It was then and there, I determined to change the statistics. I believe therein also lies my reasoning for promoting education and leadership to our youth and ultimately, why I became a teacher.”

2019 – 2020 Dreamstarter Teacher, Crystal Doney

“It is through an educational experience, such as making your own moccasins that will help you run to the morning sun to strengthen oneself spiritually, physically, and mentally, that they get to be creative and problem solve and to also learn about their Native identity and the strength of other Native people throughout the world.”

fall 2018 dreamstarter teacher, elijah allan

 “I notice that a lot of the students I work with at the school don’t have the same opportunity I had – to be able to sit with their elders and be the recipient of cultural knowledge around the kitchen table. Students today don’t take the time to visit and spend time with elders. I like bringing in the elders or culture bearers, so students can see that their culture is still alive and lives within their living history. I think the more I am able to show students their culture is alive and they can participate in learning cultural knowledge, the more opportunity our culture has of surviving.”

spring 2018 Dreamstarter Teacher, rolinda want

“We will use the grant to purchase lumber and supplies for Igiugig School’s Agricultural Research Center Greenhouse.  This greenhouse will provide students experience with growing food, processing food, and selling food.  Igiugig School and community have been working together in agricultural pursuits.”

Spring 2017 dreamstarter teacher, tate gooden

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