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Eligibility & Selection Criteria

The following eligibility requirements and selection criteria provide a framework to help you determine whether your organization is a good fit for the Bush Prize and should help you craft your application. For more detailed information, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions.


There are a few minimum requirements that organizations must meet in order to be eligible for the Bush Prize:

  1. Bush Prize grants must be used for a charitable purpose.
  2. Organizations that are 501(c)(3) public charities or government entities (including schools) are eligible for the Bush Prize. Groups of organizations (such as coalitions or collaboratives) are eligible to apply, but only one organization may receive the grant.
  3. The Foundation accepts Bush Prize applications from fiscal sponsors. The fiscal sponsor organization must submit the grant application and, if the grant is approved, becomes the grantee and receives the funds. The Bush Foundation fiscal sponsorship overview provides additional information.
  4. Prize winners must be located in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or one of the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. The specific community innovations highlighted in the Bush Prize application must also have occurred within that geography.

Wondering if your work is a fit with the Bush Prize? We're here to help.

Selection Criteria

There are countless examples of stand-out community innovations throughout the Foundation’s region. The following questions will help us prioritize which applicants best fit our strategy:

  1. Does the organization have a pattern of innovative solutions—breakthroughs in addressing community needs that are more effective, equitable or sustainable than existing approaches?
    • Did these innovative solutions make a significant difference?
    • Could the organization inspire or inform others?
  2. Does the organization have a pattern of using inclusive, collaborative and resourceful processes?
    • Inclusive: meaningfully engaging key stakeholders, thoughtfully identifying those needed to create the intended change and, whenever possible, including those directly affected by the problem.
    • Collaborative: with partners willing to change to be more effective together
    • Resourceful: making the most of existing community strengths and resources
  3. Does the organizational leadership foster a culture of innovation?
  4. Is the organization stable and strong in terms of governance and finance?

Additional Considerations

We will seek a portfolio of Bush Prize winners with balance across:

  • Size of community
  • Size of applicant organization
  • Demographics of communities served
  • Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations
  • Type of issue addressed

The Foundation is committed to addressing racial and economic disparities. At least 50% of Bush Prize winners will be organizations that address these disparities. For the purposes of this grant program, the Bush Foundation defines this as organizations that seek to actively reduce structural and/or systemic gaps in access, outcomes, opportunities or treatment based on race/ethnicity or economic standing.

Learn more about how to applyselection & timelineour relationship with Prize winners, or read the FAQs about the application process. Questions? Email