Bush Foundation

Location: 101 5th St. E, Ste. 2400 St. Paul MN 55101

EIN: 41-6017815

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Phone: (651) 227-0891

Fax: (651) 297-6485

Website: www.bushfoundation.org

77%

23%

What was the overall relationship with the funder?

How many hours did the grant application process take?

20 hours

Median

83%

17%

How would you rate this funder's accessibility?

67%

33%

How successfully do you think the funder is accomplishing its current philanthropic goals?

Important Information

2017 Deadlines: Deadlines vary by program. Visit www.bushfoundation.org for details as deadlines are established. Effective September 2016, Community Innovation Grant program has no deadline - apply anytime!

Types of Grants Awarded: Project, Operating, Sponsorship, Other (Fellowships)

Geographic Focus: Minnesota Statewide, North Dakota, and South Dakota

Interests/Priorities

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dako-ta and the 23 Native nations that share the geography. The Foundation aims to inspire and support creative problem solving to make these regions better for everyone.

The Foundation implements its vision through the following programs:
• Community Innovation and Leadership: Community Innovation and Leadership programs are awarded through competitive grant and fellowship processes open to all eligible applicants in the region. Grants support innovation through community-powered problem solving that allows communities to develop and test new solutions to community challenges.
• Community Creativity, Education, Native Nation Building, and Social Business Ventures: Each of these initiatives makes a handful of large investments every year to accomplish a particular goal.
• Ecosystem: Ecosystem grants sustain organizations that create unique and significant value for Bush Founda-tion grantees, Fellows, Rebuilders and more.
• Communications and Convenings: The Foundation shares stories of the people and organizations it invests in, and supports events that inspire, equip and connect people across the region.

Key Personnel

President: Jennifer Ford Reedy

Strategy and Learning Vice President: Allison Barmann

Community Network Vice President: Duchesne Drew

Program Operations Director: Kelly Kleppe

Financial Summary

For Fiscal Year 2015

Total Assets: $895,000,000

Total Grants: $32,518,493

Change in Assets FY 2015: -3%

Amount of Grants to Minnesota Nonprofits: 72%

Sample Grants to Minnesota Nonprofits in 2015

Largest Grant: $4,000,000

Smallest Grant: $1,000

Average Grant: $163,709

Top descriptors for this funder

8Worth the time to pitch6Culturally sensitive6Positive leader in the field5Openminded4Builds relationships4Risk taker3Friendly3Responsive3Unclear objectives3Multiyear funding2"Gets" nonprofits and issues2Gives more than money

Advice from a Friend

Bush Foundation

Oct 11, 2017

Grant Applicant - applied in 2016

We found their guidelines less than clear and despite multiple conversations with Bush personnel, we don't feel that they were interested in learning about us, the context of our proposed project, or recognizing the importance of our intended impacts. I'm sorry, but we felt under appreciated by the personnel that we talked with.

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Response from Bush Foundation

Oct 11, 2017

We're sorry you feel underappreciated. We try to be clear and open with grant-seekers about what is a fit within our funding. Sometimes we aren't clear enough that the project isn't a fit. We don't want people to waste time applying if they aren't a fit.
Thank you for leaving feedback. We'll keep working on getting better and being more clear. Feel free to contact staff at any time to get feedback on why your project wasn't a fit.

Oct 04, 2017

Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

Bush has long and good history, but in past several years they are hard to figure out. Seem to be interested in long processes to identify problems, but less so in funding programs that can solve issues.

Cons

Bureaucratic, Risk averse

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Response from Bush Foundation

Oct 05, 2017

We understand that people find our program language difficult to understand. We’re rewriting our descriptions to simplify our language and to make our messages clear. Thanks for your feedback! We want to be as accessible and inclusive as possible.

Oct 04, 2017

Reviewer 198 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2014

Always best to have a conversation with a staff person from the program you are applying in, have a list of specific questions you have in advance of this conversation. Staff very friendly and helpful.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Risk taker, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Bush Foundation

Oct 04, 2017

Thank you for the feedback and the suggestion. We do appreciate it when people talk to us before applying. Contact info for our program staff is available on our website, and some programs use a scheduling service where grant-seekers select the time they want staff to call them.

Aug 31, 2017 2

Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

Our organization has applied four times to this funder, and never made it past the first round. Each proposal - prep/discussion/ideation, writing, reviewing, re-writing - takes at least 25 hours, and probably more when adding other peoples' time. The staff there is very accessible, but the amount of human capital that goes into each application process, with low probability of return (although big return for a lucky few), raises many questions to me about meta cost-benefit to our sector.

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Response from Bush Foundation

Aug 31, 2017

Thanks for your feedback. We appreciate your time and will share this information with staff for consideration.

Aug 28, 2017 1

Grant Applicant - applied in 2015

Contact staff ahead of time. They will be honest and open with you about your idea. They have not been great in my experience for ongoing support for programs or gen op, but they are pretty good about having accurate guidelines available and supporting projects that are a fit.

Pros

Culturally sensitive, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Bush Foundation

Aug 28, 2017

Thanks for your review!

Aug 23, 2017

Reviewer 836 - Professional in the field

I have always found the Bush Foundation to be incredibly approachable. They have a great staff who are willing to have conversations through out the application process.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money, Risk taker, Friendly, Builds relationships, Openminded, Responsive

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Response from Bush Foundation

Aug 23, 2017

Thank you! We appreciate the positivity and we're grateful to know about your experience.

Jul 18, 2017 1

Reviewer 625 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2016

Bush Foundation really knows what it is doing and is VERY thorough indeed. Impressed by their understanding of non-profits and the work the Foundation does.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money, Risk taker, Culturally sensitive, Insightful, Builds relationships, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Openminded

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Response from Bush Foundation

Jul 26, 2017

Thank you!

Jun 23, 2017 1

Reviewer 827 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2016

The Community Innovation grant program is NOT a great way to try to secure funds for your existing work - either general operating or program. No matter how skilled you are at making your existing work look like the hottest new thing, they'll see through it. They're really looking to fund new ideas that are shared by multiple groups within a community. If you're serious about this grant opportunity, get ready to split the grant amount with at least one another nonprofit/group.

Pros

Risk taker, Culturally sensitive, Friendly, Builds relationships, Likes site visits, Openminded

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Response from Bush Foundation

Jul 26, 2017

True, we are looking for applicants who collaborate and innovate in order to solve problems in their community. We hope grant-seekers will set up an inquiry call with our staff to find out if their program/idea is a good fit for this grant before applying. Learn more about our Community Innovation program and how to set up an inquiry call that works with your schedule on our website: https://www.bushfoundation.org/grants/community-innovation-grants

Jun 15, 2017 3

Grant Applicant - applied before 2014

Bush is very much into their jargon and logic-models. They play favorites and tend to be more supportive of organizations they like rather than taking a consistent view of program quality or effectiveness.

Pros

Culturally sensitive

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Response from Bush Foundation

Jul 26, 2017

Thanks for your feedback.
In 2017 we set a strategic goal to simplify our language and make it accessible, relevant and consistent. This is a work-in-progress and we hope it will clarify our funding opportunities even more.
In 2016 we launched a Grantee Database to share the grants we award and the range of grantees who receive them: https://www.bushfoundation.org/grantees
We’re always trying to expand our audience and reach new potential grantees. Feel free to contact us if you’d like more information about opportunities we offer: https://www.bushfoundation.org/contact-us

Jan 24, 2017 1

Grant Applicant - applied in 2016

They try hard to be open and accountable but in all their efforts, their decisionmaking still seems very opaque.

Pros

Reasonable character restrictions, Culturally sensitive

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Response from Bush Foundation

Jul 26, 2017

Thank you for the feedback.

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