About Us

Mission: to amplify the power of community to advance equity and justice.
Headwaters Foundation for Justice is on the leading edge of philanthropy. We were created and endure from a simple and powerful truth: the people who experience injustice are essential to ending it.

Vision: Every dream. Every opportunity. For every Minnesotan.
We are clear that today’s injustices are the result of structures and systems that have been designed by a few to enrich even fewer. We believe that change is created by individuals who have the courage to stand up, the wisdom to join together, and the support to create durable, sustainable solutions.

Headwaters Foundation’s work is:

  • People-based: Our work is rooted in our communities and in developing leaders
  • People-owned: Our community volunteers drive our strategies and decision-making. Our grantmaking model leads with the trust that the communities most affected by inequity hold the wisdom and power to make transformative change.
  • Power-shared: We cultivate the individual and collective power of community as part of our role as a movement building foundation.


Headwaters Foundation for Justice was established in 1984 by thoughtful donors who built the organization around a grantmaking model that places funding decisions in the hands of the community. For 34 years, Headwaters has relied on this model of community-led grantmaking to provide financial support and organizational assistance to grassroots organizations. We prioritize community organizing as the core strategy to engage and empower their communities to advance equity and overcome injustice.

Over time, our grantmaking has evolved from a single fund into a comprehensive grantmaking program. Headwaters has directed more than $10 million to organizations representing communities historically excluded from resources and power.

Our Values

  • Advance Equity: The growing inequity in our society is maintained and advanced by interlocking policies and practices. Our work is to bring the wisdom of community to reimagine a society that works for all.
  • Demand Inclusion: We insist that those most affected by inequity have both a voice and power in decision-making.
  • Transform Power: Growing power requires us to develop leaders and transform donors into philanthropists.
  • Trust in Community: We invest in exemplary work, and develop innovative ways of working collectively towards equity and justice.

Our Strategic Priorities

  • Community-led Grantmaking: Headwaters Foundation places community leaders at the center of our grantmaking process because experience reveals that collective impact requires collective learning and mutual investment.
  • Donor education and engagement: As a philanthropic leader, Headwaters is transforming donors into philanthropists by providing opportunities for donors to learn and act together as they explore the relationship between power and privilege in their lives and in society.
  • Philanthropic Organizing: Headwaters transforms the community by aligning philanthropic allies, both institutional and individual, to collaborate for impact.