We start with community.

We believe that the people living and working in our communities have the answers to the deepest issues facing Western Montana’s children and families. So every day, we work side-by-side with communities to guide the region’s resources to improve the well-being of all Montanans, especially those who have not had the chance to be heard. Because by discovering solutions together, we can build a healthy and thriving Western Montana.

The Need

New ideas require new perspectives

Change is hard. But embedded in the old problems are old biases and inequities. Many people living in our communities haven’t had a chance to participate in decisions that affect their day-to-day lives. It is time to invite new voices to the table, better balance the access to resources, address a necessary change in the power dynamic between funder and grantee. It’s time to change the conversation and change the system to better serve all of our communities.

We are a state that cares about each other, but have to do better.

Montana has always been a place for resourceful people: people who make the most out of whatever they have and lend a hand. When we look at the data, some people in our communities are being left behind, especially children. To reverse this downward trend, we need to identify and improve the factors that negatively affect the health of our communities.

Our Approach

We are community-driven and start from a place of trust.

We work with grantees to create lasting change by sharing power and putting decisions about community problems in the hands of those who are working to solve them. By leading with empathy and trusting community expertise, our funding model now accurately, and authentically, fits the unique needs of the communities we serve. We are democratizing philanthropy one relationship at a time. In 2021, Headwaters will invest approximately $4.5 million into community-driven solutions to reduce social and economic barriers to Western Montanans’ health and wellbeing—particularly for families living in poverty and American Indians—through four core grantmaking programs: Early Childhood Initiative, American Indian Health and Wellbeing, Policy Engagement Fund, and GO! Grants. 


Our work lives in stories about our grantees, our communities and finding solutions to the issues that keep people in Western Montana from being healthy. 

A little thank you from Headwaters Foundation.