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Leading with Trust

Trust-Based Philanthropy

Landscape of rolling hills and blue skies

Trust-based philanthropy flips the script on traditional philanthropy. With a core set of values rooted in advancing equity, shifting power, and building mutually accountable relationships, trust-based philanthropy seeks to demonstrate humility and collaboration in what we do and how we show up in all aspects of our work as grantmakers – our culture, structures, leadership and practices. Here’s what this looks like in our grantmaking:

We put our partners at the center of the work by listening, learning from their expertise, and responding to their needs and feedback.
We do our own due diligence and simplify the application and reporting process so that our partners may focus on community needs.
We offer unrestricted, multi-year funding when possible, to allow partners to determine their needs and increase their capacity, flexibility, risk tolerance, and stability.
We support grantee partners beyond grantmaking by providing opportunities to bolster organizational health through networking, leadership development, resilience building, and more.
We encourage transparency and honesty from our partners by not requiring absolute success and perfection.

We’re not getting it right all the time, and we encourage feedback from partners to help us do better. We measure the Foundation’s success as a trust-based funder by regularly surveying our grantees to learn how they perceive our processes and partnership.

Headwaters Foundation is a founding member of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project – check them out to learn more about values and practices that help democratize philanthropy.