Fund of the Sacred Circle

Details

Description

The Fund of the Sacred Circle has supported Minnesota- and Wisconsin-based American Indian organizations that address systemic injustices. General operating grants of $5,000 to $10,000 have been awarded to organizations that focus on language and cultural revitalization; land and environmental restoration; sovereignty and treaty rights; and self-determination and civil rights.

According to Native Americans in Philanthropy, foundations invest less than half of one percent of grant dollars in Native communities. Headwaters can do a better job and has placed the Fund on a one-year pause. We plan to use this time to redevelop our strategies that will provide Foundation-wide support to organizations led by and for Indigenous people. Please check back throughout 2019 for updates. 

Questions: 

If you are a current Fund of the Sacred Circle grantee who has questions about our web portal, contact Operations Director Julie Remmelts at 612-400-6260.

If you have general questions about the Fund of the Sacred Circle, contact Associate Executive Director Maria De La Cruz at 612-400-6263.

Criteria

The Fund of the Sacred Circle is on a pause throughout 2019. The following is only intended for informational purposes. Check back for updates throughout the year.

Basic Eligibility Criteria

  • Headwaters Foundation encourages emerging and established organizations at all stages of work to apply for funding.
  • To be selected for funding, organizations must be a legally incorporated entity with 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) status. Organizations with a fiscal agent are also eligible to apply.
  • Headwaters does not fund individuals.
  • Organizations must carry out their work in Minnesota or Wisconsin.
  • Headwaters’ support cannot be used for partisan efforts.
  • Organizations must satisfy reporting requirements for all previous Headwaters Foundation grants.

Ineligible Organizations and Activities

  • General operating requests from organizations that primarily provide direct services to individuals and families.
  • Publications, reports, workshops, classes, conferences, media events, arts, theater productions, research, or litigation efforts unless they are part of an ongoing community organizing effort.
  • Environmental work unless it is aimed at achieving social justice goals (i.e. environmental justice). For example, Headwaters Foundation generally does not fund recycling or resource conservation projects, but we do fund community organizing projects addressing environmental threats that disproportionately harm communities of color or low-income communities.
  • Projects sponsored by a government agency. For example, Headwaters Foundation would not fund a project led by a public school district. However, we would fund a project led by communities of color that partners with public schools to address the academic achievement gap for students of color. The project must be community driven and led by those most directly affected by the problem.
  • Individuals, endowment funds, or capital campaigns.
  • Headwaters Foundation will not consider incomplete applications.

Funding Criteria

  • Organization addresses the root causes or conditions of injustice through community organizing.
  • Organizing strategies impact social, economic, and political institutions or systems that perpetuate injustice.
  • Leadership in the organizations is constituent based, led by, and accountable to American Indian communities.
  • Organization works in collaboration and/or in alliance with others.
  • Organization has limited access to mainstream funding sources.

Prioritizing Community Organizing

We believe that the communities most affected by inequity already hold the knowledge of what needs to be done to upend those inequities. Headwaters makes grants to organizations that prioritize community organizing as the core strategy to engage and build power in their communities to advance equity. We recognize that there are many different approaches to community organizing and value diversity in our funding. 

All of our Fund of the Sacred Circle grantee partners share the following characteristics:

  • Led by the people most directly affected by the issues the organization is working on.
  • Continually builds leadership from within its own membership, base, or community.
  • Works to understand and address the root causes of the issues, not just the symptoms.
  • Brings people together to build power they wouldn’t have individually.
  • Uses that power to create institutional and structural change, which includes altering unjust power relations.
  • Sees itself as part of a larger movement for social change, and works towards strengthening that movement.

Proposal Must Include

  • Answers to all application questions, board and staff demographics, and financial information.
  • If your organization received a grant from Headwaters Foundation's Fund of the Sacred Circle less than 12 months ago, please complete an interim progress report.  
  • All required attachments, see below.

If 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) organization your proposal must include:

  • 1 copy of IRS Letter of Determination or 1 copy of Certificate of Incorporation (only if you don’t have a Letter of Determination)
  • 1 copy of your most recently completed 990 (if your organization does not complete a 990 please attach your organizations most recent 990EZ or 990-N)

If you have a fiscal agent your proposal must include:

  • A letter from the fiscal agent’s Executive Director verifying your fiscal relationship, dated within the last six months;
  • 1 copy of the fiscal agent’s IRS Letter of Determination or 1 copy of Certificate of Incorporation (only if you don’t have a Letter of Determination);
  • The fiscal agent’s most recent audited financials (if your fiscal agent does not have audited financials please provide their most recent 990, 990EZ, or 990-N);
  • Your year-end income and expense report (not your fiscal agents year-end income and expense report); and
  • Your year-end balance sheet (not your fiscal agent's year-end balance sheet).

To see examples of the community organizing work Headwaters Foundation supports, including profiles of successful grantees and a list of our grants for the last several years, visit our grantee page.

 

Deadlines

The Fund of the Sacred Circle is on a pause throughout 2019. The following is only intended for informational purposes. Check back for updates throughout the year.

Organizations are invited to apply for a Community Innovation Grant offered in partnership with the Bush Foundation. The next round opens on January 9, 2019.

FAQ

Headwaters Foundation offers the Fund of the Sacred Circle grant opportunity once per year. The next opportunity to apply will be in Summer 2017. 

The Fund of the Sacred Circle awards general operating grants between $5,000 and $10,000. 

No, Headwaters Foundation does not use the Minnesota or Wisconsin Common Grant Application. You must use Headwaters' Fund of the Sacred Circle criteria and questions to write your proposal.

If you have used our web portal for a prior grant application, you can log in here. If you are a new grant applicant, please register through our web portal.

For questions about our web portal, contact Operations Director Julie Remmelts or 612.400.6260.

Headwaters Foundation places community leadership at the center of our grantmaking process.  We believe that the people most affected by injustice and inequity hold the wisdom and power to transform our society.  The Fund of the Sacred Circle puts decision-making in the hands of experienced Native community leaders, who understand the priorities of and have relationships in urban, rural, suburban and reservation communities.  Our leaders review grant proposals and make funding decisions based on their knowledge of community and the fund’s focus and criteria.

Fund of the Sacred Circle grants are offered once per year. Prospective grantees must submit their applications online no later than 5pm on the day of the deadline. We will send funding notifications approximately four months after the deadline.

 

Yes. Current Community Innovation Grant, Social Change Fund, or Giving Project grantees are eligible to apply for funding from the Fund of the Sacred Circle. 

Proposal Must Include

  • Answers to all application questions, board and staff demographics, and financial information.
  • If your organization received a grant from Headwaters Foundation's Fund of the Sacred Circle less than 12 months ago, please complete an interim progress report.  
  • All required attachments, see below.

If 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) organization your proposal must include:

  • 1 copy of IRS Letter of Determination or 1 copy of Certificate of Incorporation (only if you don’t have a Letter of Determination)
  • 1 copy of your most recently completed 990 (if your organization does not complete a 990 please attach your organizations most recent 990EZ or 990-N)

If you have a fiscal agent your proposal must include:

  • A letter from the fiscal agent’s Executive Director verifying your fiscal relationship, dated within the last six months;
  • 1 copy of the fiscal agent’s IRS Letter of Determination or 1 copy of Certificate of Incorporation (only if you don’t have a Letter of Determination);
  • The fiscal agent’s most recent audited financials (if your fiscal agent does not have audited financials please provide their most recent 990, 990EZ, or 990-N);
  • Your year-end income and expense report; and
  • Your year-end balance sheet.

Headwaters encourages emerging organizations of all sizes and at all stages of work to apply for funding. However, if you are selected for funding, your organization must be a legally incorporated entity before we will release your grant funds. Organizations with a fiscal agent are also eligible to apply.

Incorporating as an organization is an option for groups with annual revenues under $25,000 with no employees. Please note, donations are not tax-deductible and many other foundations require IRS tax status for funding. For more information about incorporation in Minnesota visit the Secretary of State or Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

Headwaters Foundation supports organizations that have a 501(c)(3) status and 501(c)(4) status; our support cannot be used for partisan efforts.

Please click here to see past Fund of the Sacred Circle grantees and to read their project descriptions. 

If your organization has received a Fund of the Sacred Circle grant within the last 12 months you will be required to submit a progress report. This progress report will be part of the online application.