Community-Led Grantmaking

Why Headwaters Makes Grants 

Headwaters invests in organizations across Minnesota that use community organizing as a core strategy to make transformative change. We do this because we believe that the people who are most affected by society's injustices hold the power to heal society. 

We know that the journey toward justice, systems change, and liberation takes time and needs resources.  As you search our website to get familiar with our grant programs, please contact us: We want to hear about you, your community, and the people who lead your work.

How Headwaters Makes Grants in Four Steps

Headwaters does philanthropy differently. We rely on people from the community to participate in all of our grantmaking programs. Staff invite and train people how to do everything from fundraising, reviewing grant proposals, leading site visits, and making final grant decisions. 

Step One


Program staff read proposals to make sure that organizations meet basic eligibility requirements and that application materials are complete.

Step Two


Community grantmakers use program-specific criteria to review proposals and select applicants for site visits.

Step Three

Site Visit

Program staff and community grantmakers visit applicants to learn more about their work and community.

Step Four

Final Selection

Community grantmakers present what they learned during site visits. Together, they make final recommendations to our Board of Directors.