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Mar 31, 2023

Headwaters Foundation Works to Refine Strategy

It is important to us to undertake this process in a collaborative, community-centered way that honors the fact that Headwaters Foundation’s resources belong to the people of Western Montana.

Brenda Solorzano, Chief Executive Officer

2023 marks Headwaters Foundation’s fifth year of grantmaking and the final year of its first strategic plan. Our team has begun a ‘strategic refinement’ process in partnership with social impact consulting firm, FSG. This process will help us focus on the most impactful strategies going forward, deepening our ability to advance our mission to work side-by-side with Western Montanans to improve the health of our communities.

We are currently in Phase I – Landscape Analysis

To help inform this process, FSG worked with the UM Center for Children, Families and Workforce Development to gather information related to health disparities and outcomes in our state. Check out this slide deck, which presents data on the most pressing needs of low-income children and families in Montana, the root causes of those needs and what it might take to address them.

FSG also conducted interviews with Headwaters staff and Board Members to gain insights on key health issues and input on the Foundation’s future approach and priorities. Our team then gathered for an initial workshop with FSG to digest and respond to interview responses and state health data and plan for next steps.

Next, we’ll move into Phase II – Stakeholder Input

FSG has begun to analyze information from years of grantee reporting conversations and will soon conduct interviews with a core group of our grantee partners. They will also send a survey to all Headwaters grantees to ask them which approaches they view as the most effective to date, and where additional investments could yield the most positive change for Western Montanans.

To help us center the needs and perspectives of those most impacted by health disparities, we are working with FSG to organize listening sessions with community members from populations that face increased barriers to health. These groups include (but are not limited to) rural and low-income families, single parents, Native Americans and LGBTQ youth.  

Our strategic refinement process will wrap up by the end of this year. We will announce the next strategic framework and begin to implement changes in 2024. Watch for an update this summer, when we’ll share what we learned from the community during Phase 2! Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram) to stay up-to-date.