Community-Led Grantmaking

Change, Not Charity

We believe that the people most affected by injustice and inequity hold the wisdom and power to transform our society. Headwaters Foundation makes grants to organizations that prioritize community organizing as their core strategy for engaging and empowering communities to get at the root causes of the most pressing issues of our time.

We know that the journey toward justice and equity takes time. It can take years or even decades for communities and systems to transform. Our advice is simply this – tell us what you hope to achieve and how you will get there. Whether you are just starting out or you’ve been around for decades, we want to learn about you, your community, and the people who are leading your work.

Community-led Grantmaking

Headwaters places community leadership at the center of our grantmaking process. We trust the people on the front lines of social justice to guide our decision-making.

Our Process

  • Step One – Eligibility: Headwaters program staff read proposals to ensure that organizations meet our eligibility requirements and that application materials are complete.
  • Step Two – Review: Our grantmaking volunteers use Headwaters’ criteria to review proposals and select organizations for site visits.
  • Step Three – Site Visit: Program staff and grantmaking volunteers visit organizations to learn more about their work and community.
  • Step Four – Final Selection: Grantmaking volunteers present what they learned about organizations during the site visit. The community-led grantmaking committee makes final recommendations to the board of directors.
  • Step Five – Board Approval: Program staff present the committee’s recommendations to Headwaters board of directors for final approval.