Announcing the 2022 Black Seed Fund grantees

Headwaters is proud to celebrate this year’s Black Seed Fund grantees and grantmakers. The Black Seed Fund supports Black-led organizations whose work amplifies the political, cultural, and economic power of Black communities.  

The fund, stewarded by a group of 8 Black community organizers in the Black Seed Network, invested $550,000 in Black-led organizing throughout Minnesota. With this investment, Headwaters will provide 17 organizations with two-year, flexible general operating grants ranging from $20,000-$50,000. 

From start to finish, the grantmaking process was rooted in the deep community knowledge and expertise of Black Minnesotans. The fund was designed in partnership with Headwaters’ Black Seed Fellows and members of the Black Seed Network, who together served as the Black Seed Fund Stewards. 

“Many of Black people’s practices of redistributing resources amongst ourselves were disrupted by enslavement and colonization, so this was an opportunity for us to reconnect with our traditions and practice exercising collective power,” shares Headwaters Black Movement Ecosystems Program Officer, Duaba Unenra.  

Decreasing the burden of applying for funding for Black organizers was one of the guiding intentions of the fund. To achieve that, Headwaters asked community members and community organizers to nominate Black-led organizations whose work is opening new paths to liberation. 

The result was a nomination-based grantmaking program. This new approach aimed to deepen Headwaters’ commitment to the fact that people are experts in their own communities, while simultaneously decreasing barriers to funding for Black organizers throughout the state. 

When making funding decisions, the Stewards were intentional in supporting work that had less access to foundation support. It was also important to the committee to support work led for and by Black women, Black queer and transgender people, disabled Black people, and Black people impacted by incarceration and the foster care systems. 

“We believe that the work that is least likely to get funded is the most likely to get us free. We also know that the work least likely to get funded is often led by those in our community who are made the most vulnerable by systems of oppression” says Unenra. “We see this focus as an investment in the future we want by trusting the most vulnerable in our community to open pathways for all of us.” 

The 2022 Black Seed Fund grantees are: 

These organizations are leading work throughout Minnesota that advances Black liberation through creating access to Black land stewardship; community-led safety and care; reparative and just public policy; and increasing political power for working class, formerly institutionalized, disabled, and LGBTQ+ Black Minnesotans.  We encourage you to spend time getting to know each of this year’s grantees and their work. 

In addition to celebrating these grantees, we congratulate this year’s Black Seed Fund Stewards, who made grant decisions with care, intention, dedication, and a deep commitment to Black Liberation. Join us in celebrating them: 

  • Anika Bowie 
  • Rahhel Haile 
  • Kandace Montgomery 
  • Nance Musinguzi 
  • Erin Sharkey 
  • Hadija Steen-Mills 
  • Yordi Solomone 

“Congratulations to all of the movement organizations,” said Black Seed Fellow Anika Bowie, “We hope you see this as simply a seed of investment in Black futures across the state of Minnesota. We encourage you to continue watering this seed with unapologetic Black joy, human dignity, and undeniable resistance towards anti-Blackness. Thank you for trusting Black Lives throughout this philanthropic process” 

Headwaters congratulates and thanks this year’s grantees, the Black Seed Fund stewards and fellows.