2014 Bush Prize winner Community of Care is making it possible for rural elderly to safely live in their homes as long as possible. (Photo: Wes Eisenhauer)
2014 Bush Prize winner Community of Care is making it possible for rural elderly to safely live in their homes as long as possible. (Photo: Wes Eisenhauer)

The Bush Prize for Community Innovation

Applications open Spring 2015.

The Bush Prize for Community Innovation

The Bush Prize for Community Innovation honors and supports innovative organizations with a track record of making great ideas happen. Winners receive a package of recognition, including a flexible grant of 25% of the organization’s last fiscal year budget, up to $500,000.

We award at least two Bush Prizes in each of three areas we serve: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.

Meet the 10 winners of the 2014 Bush Prize.

  • Bush Prize grants must be used for a charitable purpose.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Selection Criteria

Does the organization have a pattern of innovative solutions?

  • Are these breakthroughs in addressing community needs more effective, equitable or sustainable than existing approaches?
  • Did these innovative solutions make a significant difference?
  • Could the organization inspire or inform others?

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 

Does the organizational leadership foster a culture of innovation?

  • 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 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.

How to Apply
Application Support Materials

We will begin accepting applications for the 2015 Bush Prize in spring 2015.

Selection Process

Initial Review

The Foundation’s Community Innovation Team reviews all Bush Prize applications and selects finalists.

Finalist Review

The Community Innovation Team conducts a site visit and reference review to learn more about your organization. A panel of community leaders reviews and selects Bush Prize winners from the Minnesota applicant pool. The Foundation’s North Dakota Advisory Committee and South Dakota Advisory Committee review and select Bush Prize winners from their respective applicant pools. Bush Foundation Board members may also participate in the selection process.

If a member of the selection committee has a conflict of interest with an organization being considered for the Bush Prize, they will not be a part of any selection discussion or decisions for that year. The Foundation defines “conflict of interest” as being a staff or board member of, or having a contractual relationship, with an organization.

All selections ARE based on program eligibility requirements and criteria.

Working with Bush Prize Winners

The Foundation hopes to build a supportive relationship with Bush Prize winners by:

Working Together

We’ll create a grant agreement including an agreed-upon timeline, reporting schedule and use of funds. The Bush Prize grants are flexible and can be used to advance the charitable purpose of your organization. Funds must be used to support work in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or one of the 23 Native nations.

We’ll be responsive and direct in our communication with you, and will continue to be available to you throughout the grant period. We hope to build a relationship that is supportive when you want us to be, without being in your way. We want you to be able to focus on what you do best.

Learning and Evaluation

We want to know if we’re making a difference, and will ask you to participate in the evaluation of the Bush Prize program, including your experience being a Prize winner. We will use what we learn together to improve the program over time.

We will ask you to share how you used your funds and key lessons learned (successes as well as challenges) as part of your interim and final grant reports. These reports will be shared publicly on the Foundation’s website.

We’ll invite you to participate in Foundation-sponsored events for Bush Prize winners to meet one another, share the stories of their work and learn together.

Sharing Your Story

We want to publicly recognize you as a Bush Prize winner. We’ll ask you to provide basic content about your work and to participate in a short, Foundation-produced video that tells your story. We’ll share these videos on our website and through other media.

We may request that you share periodic, informal updates for the Foundation’s media promotional opportunities.

We will invite you to partner with us in various ways to help others learn from your successful innovation experience(s).

We're here to help

For more information, or to talk with someone on the Community Innovation Team, call 651-379-2266 or email CommunityInnovation@BushFoundation.org.

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