What is a Giving Project?

Giving Project cohorts move significant financial resources to grassroots, community-based organizations pursuing social justice in Minnesota.

Headwaters call on our community to act boldly and give meaningfully. Participating in the Giving Project is a great opportunity to build deeper connections and take part in serious action to create a more equitable Minnesota for all. 

Here’s what you need to know about Giving Projects:

  • A cross-class, multi-racial, multi-generational group of folks comes together over the course of several months to move money to BIPOC-led organizations that focus on systems change.
  • Through staff-led sessions and training, the cohort develops a shared understanding of race, class, and power within society, which supports their collective action in grassroots fundraising, donor organizing, and grantmaking.
  • Each cohort member makes a personally meaningful financial gift and  fundraises from their family, friends, and community. 
  • Program staff guide cohort members through reading and scoring grant applications, conducting site visits and making collective decisions to fund organizations.

Components of the Giving Project

  • Community building through active participation in large group and small group sessions.
  • In-depth workshops on racial justice and class analysis that center the wisdom and experiences of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color.
  • Caucusing by race and class throughout the program.
  • Skills-based training in relational fundraising and ongoing coaching support to raise money for movements in Minnesota.
  • Move money to organizations led by and for BIPOC communities through a democratic, community-led grantmaking process.
  • Celebrate the cohort’s success and evaluate the Giving Project program for continued growth.
What Do Alums Have to Say?

Marsha from Cohort 6

“This is the first time I’ve given at this level and this experience has meant that now I don’t look at money with a scarcity mindset. I know money can truly heal. Money can be used as medicine.” 

Wayne from Cohort 6

“I learned a lot about myself and how I perceive privilege and supremacy. I also learned there are great friends and allies in this work across every race and class designation.“ 

We Look for People Who...

  • Want to confront issues of injustice by moving money to some of Minnesota’s most inspiring and effective social change work.
  • Are passionate about building community across lines of race and class.
  • Want to learn how to fundraise, make grants, and expand your network.
  • Are open to and ready for personal transformation.

The Giving Project is a transformative experience for everyone involved. No prior experience with philanthropy or fundraising is necessary. 

We encourage all people, and especially Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color; LGBTQ people; low- or no-wealth individuals; and folks over 40 to apply. 

We Will Ask You To...

  • Come ready to learn from and contribute to a collective cohort-based experience. 
  • Commit to the entire program by attending all sessions, reading and scoring grant applications, fundraising, and participating in small and large group activities. 
  • Make a personal financial contribution. Every gift is meaningful, and there are no minimum or maximum amounts.

Capacity Acknowledgement

The Giving Project is a multi-month cohort-based experience that requires a significant commitment of time, talent, and resources from participants. 

Headwaters works hard to create an environment of support for folks to fully participate in the program, and we understand that most folks are already juggling various responsibilities within their lives. We know that, often despite their best efforts, nobody can be everywhere all the time. 

With that in mind, we want to be clear that this program is intensive and completely voluntary. The experience of the Giving Project cohort is negatively impacted when participants aren’t fully present and engaged. It is important to us that Giving Project participants not only have passion for funding social justice movements, but also that they have the time and capacity to fully invest in this unique cohort experience. With the facilitation and support of Headwaters staff, participants will be asked to commit to attend all program sessions, build community across race and class, participate in large and small group spaces, make a personally meaningful financial gift, fundraise, read and score grant applications, and participate in collective decision-making processes. 

After considering your personal situation (other significant commitments, competing demands, work/life balance, mental and emotional capacity, etc.), if you are feeling unsure about your current ability to fully commit to this program, we encourage you to prioritize self-care and consider applying for a future Giving Project cohort. 

Our Impact


Since 2015, $1,690,000 has been invested in grassroots community-based organizations pursuing social justice in Minnesota by HFJ Giving Projects.

$18.5 Million

Since 2010, Giving Projects across the country have trained thousands of donor organizers and moved over $18.5 million to grassroots community organizing, donated from over 20,000 donors.