Join The Giving Project



Giving Project Cohort 2 Participants

The Giving Project

The Giving Project is an innovative model for building power through community, leadership development, and funding social change. We bring together a multiracial, cross-class group of people who are passionate about funding social change and interested in building their skills in fundraising, grantmaking, and community building. Participants work together to raise and give out money to organizations that bring about significant, long-term solutions for justice and equity in Minnesota. In the past two years, nearly 60 Giving Project participants have raised over $355,000 to support community organizing in Minnesota.

How does the Giving Project work? The Giving Project is a process. It requires a commitment to attend eight meetings over six months, plus more. The basic Giving Project structure is: 

  • A cross-class, multiracial group of 25 individuals commits to the entire process.
  • Each person makes a meaningful financial gift -- whatever that means for you.
  • Through workshops and trainings, the group develops a shared understanding of race, class, and power within society.
  • Headwaters staff will train you in grassroots fundraising and provide lots of hands-on support as you raise money from your friends, family, and community.
  • We train you in our grantmaking process and support you as you read and score proposals, participate in site visits, make collective decisions, and grant out money to some of the most inspiring, effective social change work in the region led by and for people of color.

Who should apply?

We believe the Giving Project is a transformative experience for everyone involved. You should apply if:

  • You want to take action to confront issues of injustice by moving money to social justice organizing.
  • You are passionate about building community across lines of race and class.
  • You want to learn how to fundraise, make grants, and expand your network.
  • You are open to and ready for personal transformation.

No prior experience with philanthropy or fundraising is needed- we will train and support you along the way! The Giving Project will be a multi-racial, cross-class cohort. LGBTQ-identified people, people of color, and low-wealth individuals are especially encouraged to apply. 

New: Alumni of past Giving Projects are welcome and encouraged to apply! Contact Allison if you’re interested.

Giving Project Participants at a Grantee Panel eventWhat we'll ask of you:

  • Honestly engage in the process.
  • Commit to the entire Giving Project, attending all eight meetings, reading grants and fundraising.
  • Make a personal financial contribution to the project.
  • Fundraise from friends, family, and community.
  • Be willing to experiment and evaluate.

New for January 2018: Democracy in Action Fund 

This year, our Giving Project will learn about and fund groups that are strengthening and re-imagining democracy in their communities. 

We will learn about community-centered democracy and will fund groups that advance equity and justice in their communities; protect the strengths and assets of their communities; resist injustice, racism, classism, and patriarchy; and create new policies, practices, systems and connections to advance their communities’ hopes and visions.

This fund will provide one-year general operating grants. Information about the grant process will be available in January 2018, with an application deadline of March 1, 2018.


Headwaters’ Giving Project is part of a national learning community of foundations working together in donor organizing, leadership development and social justice philanthropy. Over the last 5 years, Giving Projects across the country have moved $4 million from over 6,000 donors. To learn more about the national model, visit