Fund of the Sacred Circle

The Fund of the Sacred Circle (FSC) is HFJ’s longest-standing fund. Since the early 2000s, FSC grants have been investing in Native-led organizations in Minnesota that focus on community organizing; self-determination and sovereignty; and systems change.

“In Native traditions, the ways of being—of life—reflect the circle. Native Americans have always known that gifts, like life, move in a circle. When we are open to the spirit of giving, our gift travels in a great arc and is returned to us, increased a hundred-fold. To give is to contribute to values of balance and harmony—equity and justice. A true gift moves in a circle.”

 - American Indian Activist, 2001-2005 FSC program materials

“In Native traditions, the ways of being—of life—reflect the circle. Native Americans have always known that gifts, like life, move in a circle. When we are open to the spirit of giving, our gift travels in a great arc and is returned to us, increased a hundred-fold. To give is to contribute to values of balance and harmony—equity and justice. A true gift moves in a circle.”

 - American Indian Activist, 2001-2005 FSC program materials

FSC Evaluation Event (2023)
FSC Evaluation Event (2023)

History of the Fund

Founded in 1999, the Fund of the Sacred Circle (FSC) is the inaugural and longest-standing community-led grantmaking fund of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice. Its inception in 1999 marked a pivotal moment, as it embarked on a steadfast journey to strengthen greater investment into Native self-determination and sovereignty throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.

For 25 years, the FSC has remained unwavering in its commitment to investing in Native-led organizations and projects through the Native Community Grantmaking Circle. The FSC emerged from the collective vision of Native elders, activists, leaders, allies, and donors united by a common goal: to counter the systemic and historical disinvestment of Native communities, center Native values in FSC grantmaking, and pave the way for Native self-determination. 

Since 1999, the FSC has been Native-led supporting Native-led organizations and projects addressing systemic injustices affecting Native Nations & Communities. The Fund of the Sacred Circle is a permanent resource for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice for American Indian Communities. The Fund supports organizations and projects that address the root causes of injustice. The Fund of the Sacred Circle has four thematic funding areas: 

I. Sovereignty and Treaty Rights 

II. Language and Cultural Revitalization 

III. Land Restoration and Environmental Justice 

IV. Self-determination and Human Rights 

FSC Evaluation Event (2023)
FSC Evaluation Event (2023)

Mission and Vision

Mission 

FSC is a community-led, Native values driven grantmaking fund investing in and supporting Native-led organizations and projects that advance culture and language, land and environmental justice, treaty rights and sovereignty, and self-determination and human rights of Native Nations and Communities throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

Vision

The Fund of the Sacred Circle envisions a world where systems are changed, built, and support social, racial, and environmental justice for Native Nations and Communities.  

Mission and Vision

Mission 

FSC is a community-led, Native values driven grantmaking fund investing in and supporting Native-led organizations and projects that advance culture and language, land and environmental justice, treaty rights and sovereignty, and self-determination and human rights of Native Nations and Communities throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

Vision

The Fund of the Sacred Circle envisions a world where systems are changed, built, and support social, racial, and environmental justice for Native Nations and Communities.  

FSC Evaluation Event (2023)
FSC Evaluation Event (2023)

Community Grantmaking

Grantmaking is entrusted to the collective wisdom, decision-making, and stewardship of the FSC Native Community Grantmaking Circle (NCGC), a vibrant assembly of Native leaders, activists, and community members from diverse Native Nations & Communities. Each Native Community Grantmaker contributes to the collective wisdom, Native values, and meaningful relationships of the NCGC. Through their dedication, Native self-determination and sovereignty are championed at every step in the FSC grantmaking process. 

Native Community Grantmaking Circle (2024)
Native Community Grantmaking Circle (2024)

Community Grantmaking

Grantmaking is entrusted to the collective wisdom, decision-making, and stewardship of the FSC Native Community Grantmaking Circle (NCGC), a vibrant assembly of Native leaders, activists, and community members from diverse Native Nations & Communities. Each Native Community Grantmaker contributes to the collective wisdom, Native values, and meaningful relationships of the NCGC. Through their dedication, Native self-determination and sovereignty are championed at every step in the FSC grantmaking process. 

Evaluation Report

The 2023-2024 Fund of the Sacred Circle Evaluation Report represents one of the first times an in-depth, longitudinal exploration of its story, told from the perspective of former FSC staff, founders, grantees, community grantmakers, and elders that have been a part of its twenty-five year history. Our evaluation centered a relational storytelling approach of listening, learning, and visiting; having conversational interviews instead of a heavy top-down ask-and-answer format; creating space for meaningful reflections; and putting thoughtful intention into identifying themes and ideas from interview transcripts and historical records.

Evaluation Report

The 2023-2024 Fund of the Sacred Circle Evaluation Report represents one of the first times an in-depth, longitudinal exploration of its story, told from the perspective of former FSC staff, founders, grantees, community grantmakers, and elders that have been a part of its twenty-five year history. Our evaluation centered a relational storytelling approach of listening, learning, and visiting; having conversational interviews instead of a heavy top-down ask-and-answer format; creating space for meaningful reflections; and putting thoughtful intention into identifying themes and ideas from interview transcripts and historical records.

Contact Us

We are not currently accepting Fund of the Sacred Circle applications, but will update our website when that changes.

For more information, contact Wakíŋyaŋ LaPointe, Program Officer, Native Communities at wakinyan@headwatersfoundation.org or 612-400-6277.