Mission & Vision

Our mission is:
Amplify the power of community to advance equity and justice.

Our vision is:
Every Dream. Every Opportunity. For every Minnesotan.

Our history:
Headwaters Foundation for Justice (HFJ) was established in 1984 when a group of thoughtful, progressive donors got together. They believed that the people who experienced society’s injustices were essential to ending them. They used that belief to radically change philanthropy’s landscape, and created a new grantmaking model—one that shifted power away from funders by placing decision-making in the hands of the people. This was the start of an innovative, community-centered, trust-centered model.

Today, HFJ is on the leading edge of philanthropy. We still rely on a community-centered model to guide our funding decisions. Our participatory grantmaking programs prioritize community organizing that is led by people of color and indigenous people (POCI). To date, we have awarded more than $10 million to grassroots organizations across Minnesota.

Our work is:

  • People-centered. Everything we do has roots in community. 
  • People-informed. Trusted volunteers guide our strategies, grantmaking decisions, and fundraising.
  • Power-shared. We use our foundation platform to strengthen social justice movement work.

Our values:

  • Advance equity: Community wisdom can reimagine an equitable society that works for everyone.
  • Demand inclusion: The people who are most affected by injustice must have decision-making voice, influence, and power.
  • Transform power: If we want to shift and grow power, philanthropy must help develop grassroots leaders and donor organizers. We must invest in their networks.
  • Trust in community: We will support and participate in the ambitious work communities do to advance equity and justice.

Our strategic priorities:

  • Community-led grantmaking: We place community leaders at the center of our grantmaking process. They read proposals, lead site visits, and make funding decisions. Our experience shows that collective impact needs collective learning and mutual investment. 
  • Donor education and engagement: We provide opportunities for donors to learn and act together. We support them as they explore the relationships between individual and societal power and privilege. 
  • Philanthropic organizing: We align allies, both institutional and individual, for bigger impact.