Catching up with the Giving Project

Dear Headwaters Community, 

I’m writing to re-introduce myself and to share some updates on the Giving Project here at Headwaters. My name is Sierra Judy. I joined HFJ in 2021 as a Program Associate and I’m proud to share that this summer I moved into a new role and now serve as HFJ’s Giving Project Program Officer! That means I have the pleasure of leading the incredible Giving Project program alongside my colleague Chris Olson, Giving Project Development Officer, and the rest of the HFJ team. 

It’s been a little while since we’ve updated community on the Giving Project, so I’d like to share what we’ve been up to! As we shared earlier this year, HFJ’s program team has been investing our time and energy into evaluation. It’s crucial that we take time to be thoughtful and intentional in assessing our programs and their impacts to ensure we are showing up as a responsible and strategic movement partner. The Giving Project, along with all Headwaters funds, is grounded in resourcing community to advance movements for justice in Minnesota. So, it’s important that the program and its grantmaking are responsive to our grantee partners and Minnesota’s changing movement ecosystem.  

One way we have been strengthening our program is through deep engagement with the National Giving Project Network. This network consists of 9 social justice member funds throughout the United States that are dedicated to disrupting mainstream philanthropy and supporting community-led movements for liberation. As a core member of the network, Headwaters cultivates relationships within social justice movements across the country and engages in peer learning through intersectional political education and analysis. Some of the recent topics the Giving Project Network has explored include cooperative economics, mindfulness practices, and settler colonialism.  

The relationships and innovations shared in this network are powerful and greatly inform how we shape the Giving Project here at Headwaters. Specifically, the network has been a great resource for us as we work to sharpen the political lens of the program. With the network’s help, we are exploring ways to provide participants solid grounding in the frameworks of Black liberation, Indigenous self-determination, and gender justice. In addition, we are exploring how to deepen participants’ understanding of racial capitalism as a way to interpret wealth, class, and giving in Minnesota. We are also looking to the wisdom of our community members, grantee partners, and Giving Project alumni to inform how to make our program an even better vehicle to resource movements. 

You can expect to have the opportunity to engage with the Giving Project, as a cohort participant or donor, in 2024. In the meantime, we invite you to connect with us! If you want to learn more about the Giving Project program or ways to show up to support local movements for justice here in Minnesota, reach out to me or Chris. As always, we appreciate our Headwaters community for trusting us to steward this important work. By bringing together multi-racial, multi-generational, cross-class cohorts of community members, we can mobilize resources to support grassroots community organizing led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. 

In solidarity, 

Sierra Judy 

Giving Project Program Officer