The Time to Lean in is Now. Give to the Communities First Fund

March 18th, 2020


We’re here and we’re with you. This is the way we’ve always gotten through, and is how we’ll keep getting through the next days, weeks, and months.

Like you, Headwaters can see how this current moment is much more than a public health crisis. The coronavirus is magnifying how systems and institutions keep letting our communities fall through the cracks. Executive Director Maria De La Cruz shared, “There’s no doubt we need to be patient, nimble, and compassionate. I think our social justice work is evolving and will call out new priorities over time. My ask is that we stay focused on creative solutions and commit even more deeply to support and show up for our brilliant, resilient communities.”

Our grantee partners—the majority of which are led by and serve Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC) are telling us in real-time about how their communities are absorbing more social, political, and economic consequences than they did before the outbreak. For example:

  • Asian Americans are experiencing an increase in racist, xenophobic acts.
  • Low-wage restaurant, retail, and service industry employees are working fewer hours as social distancing becomes a best practice.
  • Hourly wage earners lack the paid sick time they need to care for themselves and their families.
  • People who face losing their housing are advocating for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.
  • People who experience intimate partner violence are unsafe in their own homes.
  • Healthcare workers on the frontlines are trying to keep up with the demands of a pandemic in under-resourced facilities.
  • Uninsured and underinsured people are avoiding the healthcare they deserve because it is financially out of reach.
  • Undocumented people and people who are in the immigration system do not feel safe asking for medical attention because they want to avoid deportation.
  • Low-income families with school-aged children struggle to figure out childcare and nutrition needs in the face of school closings.
  • Places of worship, typically a community’s lifeline during a crisis, have made the difficult choice to cancel in-person worship and prayer services—increasing feelings of social isolation.

In response, we set up the Communities First Fund on March 15th.

Our goal is to raise $1,000,000 from all corners of the Headwaters donor network as quickly as we can. In our first day, we secured $544,000—over half of our goal.

AND we’re not stopping once we meet our goal. Our fundraising work continues. We’re encouraging donors like you to double down for organizations that stand up for collective liberation, justice, and racial equity.

The time to lean in is now. We welcome gifts of all sizes. Your dollars, combined with those from your fellow donors, will directly help our grassroots network of BIPOC-led grantee organizations across Minnesota.

We’re currently focused on raising funds. Grantees: please stay tuned about how to access those funds.

Contact Director of Individual Giving Mary Delorié with questions or to make a gift. You can also give directly on our website.

In radical solidarity,
Maria De La Cruz, JD
Executive Director