Since 1992, Heron has worked to help people and communities help themselves. Always the servant leader, Heron has understood from its earliest days that its impact is rooted in the success of others. Heron values the collective wisdom of its partners — on the ground in communities and within the capital markets — and uses that wisdom to help the foundation think differently.
Over the past 25 years, those values have led Heron to challenge what we perceived as broken conventions in philanthropy. The foundation began making general operating grants when restricted grants were the norm. Heron committed to investing in alignment with its mission when others expected it to focus exclusively on financial returns. And Heron constantly works with partners to leverage different tools (financial and non-financial alike) in service to mission.
Heron is currently working to shift from traditional philanthropy toward a model of participatory philanthropy, ceding the authority to make investment decisions to local integrated capitals committees in a number of communities across the U.S. It is in the process of forming its first committee with a diverse group of founding members that are trying to create a shared vision for their community.