History

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and people who power them. Looking back, this has been the case since the Foundation was founded in 1953. The specific initiatives, programs and tactics may have changed and evolved, but the work has always been rooted in the organizations and people who think bigger and think differently about solutions to problems in their communities.

Intentionally broad from the beginning, Archibald and Edyth Bush set up the Foundation to fund and be “operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes, including encouragement of art.” This open-ended approach, though a source of some complication following Archie’s death, has ultimately set the stage for some of the Foundation’s most influential work.

Our first president following the death of Archie was Humphrey Doermann. Leading the Foundation from 1971 to 1997, he was a major force in establishing a state-of-the-art grantmaking process based on due diligences and consultation, for which the Foundation is known. Following his retirement, Anita Pampusch guided the Foundation to a new level of operational professionalism by investing in management systems and building a best-practice grants administration function. From 2007 to 2011, Peter Hutchinson set the direction of much of the ambitious work we are doing today. Jen Ford Reedy became president in 2012 and is leading its current work.

Though the approaches of these presidents have varied, the Foundation has been consistently involved in supporting individuals and organizations across the areas we fund today—leadership, community innovation, education and Native nations

Building on the legacy and lessons of the past, the Foundation is now focused on supporting the ideas and people who are working in their communities to find solutions to their unique issues. As the programs continue to evolve, our emphasis is on encouraging the region to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in their communities. And to do more good. Every year.

Archie & Edyth: The Beginnings of the Bush Foundation