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Saving the Mississippi Headwaters

Fox Advancement Campaign Success Story


Deforestation and polluted runoff have caused the Mississippi Headwaters to decline at an alarming pace. The Mississippi flows from the Headwaters in northwest Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, providing drinking water to millions of people along the way (including 1.2 million Minnesotans). When the water quality is threatened at the source, there are incredible consequences for health and the economy in Minnesota and beyond.

A conservation nonprofit based in Minnesota sought to raise over $20 million to protect the Mississippi Headwaters from further degradation. Their science-based analysis prioritized 200,000 acres that were most important to protect for water filtration, groundwater recharge, flooding and erosion protection, and aquatic habitat.

The Challenge:

To achieve its ambitious fundraising goal, the nonprofit needed to secure support from individual donors, foundations, and corporations. Corporations hadn’t traditionally been a significant source of funding. It was imperative to help corporations understand the value proposition for saving the Mississippi Headwaters.


Fox Advancement worked with the nonprofit to develop a Campaign Cabinet composed of 17 Fortune 500 CEOs and philanthropists in the Twin Cities area. Fox Advancement worked closely with each Cabinet member to develop solicitation strategies for corporate prospects in the region. Additionally, Fox Advancement wrote a business case for support that outlined the economic importance of supporting the project.


The Cabinet raised $7.9 million through their personal gifts and gifts they solicited from fellow C-Suite leaders. When the campaign concluded (exceeding its original goal), Fox Advancement created a plan to transition the Cabinet into a permanent fixture for the organization.

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