Headwaters welcomes Fran Hutchins as newest board member

We’re excited to welcome Fran Hutchins as our newest board member! Fran quickly developed a sense of justice growing up in Alabama as a queer and mixed Asian kid in the 90s. As soon as they could, they started working to promote justice in their community –  advocating for housing justice, LGBTQ+ rights, economic justice, and immigration rights. Today, Fran is the Executive Director at Equality Federation, the national strategic partner to state-based organizations working to win equality. Get to know Fran with us.

How did you end up in Minnesota?

I spent time in Chicago, California, Massachusetts and Maine and I never thought I’d end up in Minnesota. But I’m really glad we did. My wife, who is a professor at the University of Minnesota, got a job here so we moved in 2020. One of the first things I did when I got here, even before the murder of George Floyd, was to try and get connected to community-based organizations here and really learn the landscape of who was doing what and when.

How did you get to know Headwaters?

When I moved to Minnesota, I talked to a friend who was here and they said, “You should check out the Headwaters.” I was somewhat familiar with Headwaters but I did some more research and talked to some staff, including Mary Delorié, Director of Individual Giving.  Through my conversations, I learned how unique Headwaters’ funding is.

Sometimes, you give money to a community foundation and it just kind of sits in a fund and the donor decides where it goes. And I don’t want to be the one who decides where it goes because I’m not on the ground with those communities. So, once I learned about Headwaters’ innovative community-led grantmaking, I knew I wanted to get involved.

Headwaters is currently writing its next chapter and you’re going to be a part of it. What are you excited for?

All organizations go through transition. But one of the things that I’ve noticed with Headwaters is the thoughtfulness and the the care with which staff and the board are undergoing this transition. It’s not always easy, but coming out on the other side of this, I know we’ll have a strong organization that’s going to continue to fund the community, be there for the community and most importantly, be deeply committed to our mission and values.

What social justice issues in our communities move you to action?

I think that the community has been pretty clear on what social issues we need to pay attention to, especially here in in the Twin Cities. Racial justice and Indigenous justice are really important. I’m personally really concerned with gender justice, especially as Minnesota is about to become a safe haven for people who need to receive abortion care. I also work professionally for queer and trans justice, so I worry about our community, especially after tragic violence like what we saw recently in Colorado Springs.

Since you moved to Minnesota, what has surprised you the most?

Oh my gosh, how many things people do during winter! Winter hobbies. I still don’t have one. I just of kind of thought that people hunkered down during the winter but people are out! I see people running!

Favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities?