Fund of the Sacred Circle



The Fund of the Sacred Circle (FSC) supports Minnesota- and Wisconsin-based Native American organizations that address systemic injustices. General operating grants of $5,000 to $10,000 are 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 recently invested in a new initiative to strategically address this imbalance.

For FSC inquiries, please contact Program Officer Crystal Wabnum: or 612-400-6261.

If you are a current FSC grantee who has questions about our web portal, contact Grants and Program Associate Noelle Martinez: or 612-400-6262.





This page will update in 2020.

Organizations are invited to apply for a Community Innovation Grant offered in partnership with the Bush Foundation. The next round opens February 18, 2020.


FSC awards general operating grants between $5,000 and $10,000. 

No, Headwaters does not use the Minnesota or Wisconsin Common Grant Application. You must use our FSC 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 Grants and Program Associate Noelle Martinez: or 612-400-6262.

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.

FSC grants are not currently being offered.


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 received a FSC 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.