Bring as many perspectives as possible into decision making

People participating in 2023 grantmaking decisions, by self-identified race &/or ethnicity *

  • Identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color 66%
  • Identify as white only 33%
  • Chose not to respond 1%
Why it’s important to us

We’re making decisions that affect lots of people across our region. We believe the more diverse the perspectives at the table, the better our decisions.

We think about diversity of decision makers in a lot of ways — in background and identity and life experience. For this indicator, we are highlighting race and ethnicity. We know that race and ethnicity are important factors in a wide variety of issues that impact our region. It’s critical to doing our work well that we have the perspectives of people with different racial and ethnic backgrounds informing our decisions.

How we’re doing

Currently, 66% of our staff and board members and community selectors who participate in grant and Bush Fellows selection self-identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color. This reflects an intentional effort on our part to consider the diversity of perspectives among decision makers at the staff, board and community selector level.

For example, in our board recruitment efforts, we consider whether a candidate adds perspectives in terms of things like race, ethnicity, place, sector, age, sex, gender identity and more, as well as life experiences such as poverty and immigration or living with a disability and diversity of political thought. Every five years we do a deep look at what perspectives are missing and create a plan to guide our board member cultivation efforts.

Across both board and staff, we have focused a lot on geographic diversity in recent years. This includes adding more board members from North Dakota and South Dakota and creating additional staff positions focused on North Dakota, South Dakota and Native nations in the region.

What’s next

We continually work to build the skills of curiosity and awareness so that we are able to appreciate and understand how our own experiences and biases might shape our responses. This happens through individual learning and development — at both the staff and board level — as well as organization-wide training and support.

We’ll also keep creating more ways to bring in more rural perspectives through the networks we have and the work we do. Similarly, we are pushing ourselves to bring in more diverse political viewpoints more regularly. We see how our home base in the Twin Cities can affect the language we use to talk about issues our communities are facing — and that can create an invitation or set up a barrier to discussion and understanding.

* Sources for chart: Self-reported by Bush Fellowship selection process participants, and Foundation staff and board members.