Mission and History
Headwaters Foundation for Justice is a catalyst for social, racial, economic and environmental justice.
All Minnesotans deserve the chance to both contribute to and benefit from the state’s environmental, economic, social and civic resources. We believe community organizing is the best way to make this vision a reality.
Through its grantmaking, Headwaters works to:
- Increase the power and leadership of oppressed communities.
- Strengthen progressive political and electoral impact.
- Communicate a progressive message boldly and effectively.
- Increase organizations’ capacity to raise money for progressive action.
- Create opportunities for education and debate on issues critical to a just democracy.
- Articulate a vision of and organize for economic justice. Build and support a collaborative, progressive network.
- Strengthen the internal capacity of progressive organizations.
- Expand the movement for social justice based on progressive principles.
Through grantmaking and organizational assistance, Headwaters supports grassroots groups addressing the root causes of injustice. Headwaters engages and partners with a committed community of donors and allies who work for justice.
How we do it
One difference about Headwaters is that the particular committee that reads your proposals is made up of those who are also working on the front lines of change. They understand the issues. They see the hurdles. And they want to support everyone who shares the passion. Our advice is simply this — make the case for permanent, positive change. Don’t worry that you’re just starting out, or that you’ve been around a while. And if we’re a good fit but can’t make funding work this year, keep knocking on our door.
Headwaters Foundation for Justice was established in 1983 by thoughtful donors who built the organization around a grantmaking model that places funding decisions in the hands of the community.
For over 25 years, Headwaters has relied on this model of activist-led grantmaking to provide financial support and organizational assistance to constituent-led, grassroots efforts that address the root causes of inequalities in the community. The model has been successful in identifying authentic and effective community-based organizations, many of which have limited access to funding from larger foundations.
Over time, our grantmaking has evolved from a single fund into a comprehensive grantmaking program. Headwaters has directed more than $8.5 million in 3,230 grants to organizations representing communities historically excluded from resources and power.