The gift of a lifetime- The Waterers

Recently, alot of Native visionaries and artists received a weird email. It said something about a grant, a zoom, and URGENT need to respond.  For many of us, it went ignored, unanswered, and in our busy lives, some were in our spam inbox.  But this email was one not to be ignored.  Soon, many of us were receiving emails from friends and calls from leaders "Answer this email."  

and the rest of the story goes a little like "Surprise! We are sending you a gift because of your hard work." I am paraphrasing here, but as lifelong artists, leaders, and entrepeneurs, the last thing we ever expect is a gift of unrestricted funds from a foundation.  But the Waterers fund is doing things their own way.  In their sweeping moves to decolonize philanthropy they have recognized a series of Native artists, visionaries, entrepeneurs and GIFTED out funds to these folks in support of who they are and what they do.  

Most of our work as community organizers and artists is late nights, silent, and driven from the heart.  It can be scary, lonely, yet incredibly rewarding.

Needless to say, this was shocking to all the folks I knew, and many jokes flew about hackers and checks clearing, but in the end it was true.  The work of this whole group had been seen, appreciated, and honored.  It is truly humbling to receive the "Amplifying Sovereignty Award" from the Waterers Foundation.  Heart Berry will continue to work towards building community, cultural art, forging a path of Indigenous entrepeneurship, and making art that tells our stories.  Miigwech (thank you)-Sarah, CEO and Heart Berry Artist

We want to highlight just a few of the Native visionaries in this pool of amazingness we find ourselves:

 Adrienne Benjamin for her work to share story, the power of the jingle dress, and build makers.

Naawakwe William Howes for his work to teach and revitalize the Ojibwe language.

Fawn Sampson for her work to build Native access to higher education.

Moira Villiard for her community art building and public art.

 Miigwech and Pidamaya to the Waterers Funders, nominators, and most importantly our communities for helping us build toward the future.


The Waterers are a regional group of fund stewards whose vision is to radically transform the paradigm of 'giving' from a scarcity economy model to one of abundance and cooperation. Their mission is to propel the philanthropic field to change how it redistributes funding to prioritize BIPOC Artists and culture-bearers who have been historically exploited. Their values are a compass, both in who receives funds and shapes their process. They boldly diverge from the types of traditional 'grant making' experienced by many. They believe in mending the connective tissue to deepen the roots of relation, and taking risks to build trust and capacity through every step of design and decision making. Their choices seek reconciliation. Learn more at”

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