Headwaters Foundation for Justice is Minneapolis-based community foundation that invests in grassroots organizing across Minnesota. We do this through grantmaking programs that support organizations and groups on the front lines of social change. Each of our programs invite people from the community to learn about and lead our grantmaking work. Since 1984, Headwaters has believed that the people who directly experience society’s injustices are exactly the people who know the way to collective liberation. We fund a variety of groups, and we prioritize funding groups that are led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color.


To amplify the power of community to advance equity and justice.


One | Advance Equity:
Our work supports movements and systems change that lead to individual resiliency and community power.

Two | Demand Inclusion:
People who are most affected by inequity are often left out of decision-making work. We insist on changing that—nationally, regionally, and locally.

Three | Transform Power:
We grow power through community-led grantmaking, donor education, and leadership

Four | Trust in Community:
A community knows itself best, and its people need to lead the way to collective liberation. Our job is to listen to and support the solutions that will improve life for all Minnesotans.

President's Letter


Looking back on last July, I remember sharing my first Tributaries post. In some ways that feels like it was ages ago and, given how strange time can flow these days, I suppose that makes sense. I am learning so much every day and it is an honor to share my experiences. I appreciate the response I’ve received from you. Thank you for sharing your stories of strength and resilience and your moments of tenderness and vulnerability. You, the Headwaters community, never cease to amaze and inspire me. Thank you.

There are a few things I want to highlight as I welcome you to review our Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report. First: we’ve given it a new life by creating this micro-site. This gives us more spaciousness to feature the familiar, including grantee lists and details about our financials. Expanding the format like this also lets us share insights from our current Board Co-Chairs, spotlight one of our donors, and highlight HFJ’s astounding year of grantmaking.

If last year had a theme for us at Headwaters, it was Transformation. I’ve seen my team grow on a few key levels to keep pace with the movements we support. Together, we continued to invest responsively both in longtime grantee partner organizations and some new ones. Our latest Giving Project cohort celebrated a record-setting year of fundraising and grantmaking. I know this is all possible because of the trust and support of our community. It is a beautiful thing.

As always, my team and I stand with the people, with the community. As always, we invite you to keep dreaming and imagining with us; that is how we will win.

With so much gratitude,

Maria Signature

Maria De La Cruz, JD

Our Year in Grantmaking

Every grant we make is guided by the community. Each year, we rely on people from the community to participate in our grantmaking programs. We invite and train community members how to do everything from fundraising, reviewing grant proposals, leading site visits, and making final grant decisions.

You–the Headwaters community of grantmakers–are the decision makers. In Fiscal Year 2021, we granted nearly $4 million to over 100 organizations, thanks both to bold giving from donors and your dedicated work. Below is the list of grants and funding sources we awarded.

Click on the name of each grant or fund to find out more about that fund and see this year's grantees.



By the Numbers

Volunteers & Staff



Fiscal Year 2021 Development Committee Members

Janiece Watts*
AsaleSol Young*
Roula Alkatout
Karla Arredondo-Payan
Catherine Clark
Mia Divecha
Claire Eder
Eric Howard
Jonathan C.W. Jones
Emma Olson
Lance Witzig
Jesse Zager

Fiscal Year 2021 Finance Committee Members

Bilal Alkatout*
Stephanie Cole
Bile Daad*
Kong Her
John Kostishack
Arleta Little*
Paul Tremewan

*Board Member

Fiscal Year 2021 Volunteer Grantmakers

Giving Project Cohort 7

  • Kaitlyn Custer
  • Lauren Daumueller
  • Amanda Dionne
  • Gabriela Farias
  • Ilse Griffin
  • Hilary Johnson
  • Elena Leomi
  • Chue Lor
  • Julie Vo McConnell
  • Molly O’Connor
  • Ryan Olson
  • Cirien Saadeh
  • Julia Sisson
  • Pamela Standing
  • Aimee Vue
  • Brad Walter

Transformation Fund Community Grantmakers

  • Sarah Abe
  • Roula Alkatout
  • Sai Chang
  • Wayne Ducheneaux
  • Takara Henegar
  • Amber Z. Jones
  • Elodie Lee
  • Corelle Nakamura
  • Maria Salas

Fiscal Year 2021 HFJ Staff

Ari Baum-Hommes, Grants Associate
Maria De La Cruz, President
Mary Delorié, Director of Individual Giving
Venessa Fuentes, Director of Network and Narrative
Kristin Gilbert, Operations & Development Associate
Lillian Gray, Program Assistant
Allison Johnson Heist, Program Director
Ray Martinez, Program Manager
Chris Olson, Grassroots Gift Officer
Julie Remmelts, Chief Operations Officer
Melissa Rudnick, Program Director
Ewan Scotto, Communications Associate
Duaba Unenra, Program Officer, Black Movement Ecosystem
Elizabeth Zalanga, Executive Assistant

Fiscal Year 2021 HFJ Board of Directors

Ebony Adedayo
Bilal Alkatout
Elizabeth Coco, Co-Chair
Camille Cyprian
Bile Daad
Alyssa Hawkins
Muneer Karcher-Ramos
Arleta Little
Filiberto Nolasco Gomez
Pa Chua Vang
Avi Viswanathan, Co-Chair
Janiece Watts
AsaleSol Young

Donor Stories

Headwaters’ donors, grantee partners, staff and volunteers represent a brilliant and diverse cross-section of Minnesotans from every walk of life. Through our different community grantmaking programs, these Minnesotans come together, build power, and make it possible for Headwaters to support movements for change.

Through our new Donor Stories project, we’re introducing our community to some of Headwaters’ remarkable donors and donor-organizers.

One of those remarkable donor organizers is Eric Howard. Eric has served Headwaters as a Development Committee member and a Giving Project alum; he is currently on our Board of Directors. We invite you to get to know Eric and learn about his journey with Headwaters by reading his story.

“My story is one of immigrant rights and the struggles that people of color face, informed by my experience growing up in Arizona as a Mexican American adoptee of Latin descent. Headwaters showed me a different side of what generosity means and helped me redefine giving outside of a religious context.”

    - Eric Howard

Read More

Photo Credit: Nance Musinguzi







Letter from the Co-Chairs

Community –

This year we have witnessed continued transformation and upheaval that has impacted nearly every level of our collective lives. We have been honored to serve as members of Headwaters’ Board of Directors during a year that has once again shown community’s power to respond to crisis.

We have seen people in every corner of the Headwaters community show up to reaffirm their commitment to movements in Minnesota. We’ve seen incredible movement wins and power in the face of deep loss and ongoing grief.

Transformation is hard work – even when it is in the service of liberation, and even when it is life-giving. We suspect you know and deeply feel this. The work Headwaters’ grantee partners do each day to create pathways towards our liberated futures is complex, generations-long work.

And so, we must rest. Since we believe in our shared, innate humanity, we know that we don’t earn rest. We deeply need rest – on every level.

So we’ve been asking ourselves, how do we sustain ourselves for our movements?

Read Full Letter




If you have been part of the Headwaters Donor Community for decades—we thank you! You continue to make the dream of building a network of Minnesotans committed to justice.

If you have recently joined us—we see you! You’ve stood up at an important time to help fund movement organizers in brave and bold ways.

If you haven’t yet made a donation—we welcome you to do so! Join us as we invest in organizations that work for racial, gender, and economic justice.

When you give to Headwaters you support a network of grassroots organizations across the state that are dedicated to re-visioning a Minnesota where Queer people, Trans people, Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color lead in undoing systems of oppression.

We invite you to feel fierce, feel lighter, feel liberated, and know that together: we transform power.