Our support for community challenges

COVID-19 Racial Injustice

Man facilitating session

bushCONNECT Partners


Application deadline was September 26, 2019.

About bushCONNECT

bushCONNECT (bushCON) is a leadership and networking experience that builds stronger and more meaningful connections among leaders in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.

The goal of this full-day event is to inspire, equip and connect people to lead more effectively, and to think bigger and think differently about how to make our region better for everyone.

bushCON will be held at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, on October 5, 2020, with an opening reception the evening before. This full day of events brings together nearly 1,200 people from across our region for a day of inspiring talks, engaging small-group sessions, conversations with community leaders and interactive networking experiences. 

This will be our fifth bushCON! In order to create the best bushCON yet, we need a dynamic and diverse network of programming and recruitment partners.

What We Fund

Programming Partners

Organizations that know how to produce engaging event programming that inspires, equips and connects people to more effectively lead change in their communities. bushCON programming partners receive funds to develop content for and host their proposed sessions. Each partner will be asked to present their session twice during the day. Funds may be used to cover staff time, speaker fees and travel expenses, and/or session materials, etc. The Bush Foundation will cover registration costs for presenters and one staff person from the partner organization who wants to attend the event, and will cover costs associated with the venue for your session.


Recruitment Partners 

Organizations connected to leadership networks that reflect the region's diverse sectors, geographies and cultures. Recruitment partners receive funds to promote bushCON to leaders who might not otherwise know about the event. Each partner is expected to successfully recruit, register and engage 20 people. Funds may be used to cover staff time, cohort travel expenses, promotional materials and/or cohort networking events before or after bushCON. The Bush Foundation will cover registration for all of your attendees and one staff host.


Key Dates

  • September 26, 2019 | Partner application deadline.
  • Mid-October | Finalists are notified.
  • Early December | Partners are notified.
  • January 2020 | All-Partner video conference.
  • February 2020 | Day-long Program Partner meeting (Twin Cities).

  • April 2020 | Day-long Recruitment Partner meeting (Twin Cities).

  • June/July 2020 | Day-long All-Partner meeting and session previews (Twin Cities – We will survey partners for the best date).

  • October 4-5, 2020 | bushCON 2020 (Minneapolis).

Information for Applicants

Partner organizations must be from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or one of the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.

Organizations that are LLCs, 501(c)(3) public charities and government entities (including schools) are eligible to be either a bushCON programming or recruitment partner. Groups of organizations (such as coalitions or collaboratives) are eligible to apply, but only one organization will receive the grant or contract.

We accept 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.

Programming partners must demonstrate:

  • How their proposed bushCON session will inspire, equip and connect people.
  • How their proposed session will help people to think bigger and think differently about how they lead and/or how they solve problems in their communities.
  • The ability to engage session attendees in conversation and/or participation.
  • The ability to recruit diverse and expert session presenters.
  • That their session will provide valuable takeaways for attendees.

Recruitment partners must demonstrate:

  • The ability to recruit, register and support a cohort of 20 leaders to attend bushCON who will add to the diversity of the participants in terms of geography, sector, race/ethnicity, etc. We are particularly interested in connecting with more people of color and more people who work in business and in the public sector.
  • A willingness to meaningfully engage their cohort before, during and after bushCON. Partners are expected to gather in some way once before the event, once after the event, and on site during the event.
  • How their cohort will benefit from being in the mix at bushCON and how bushCON will benefit by having their cohort attend.

Application deadline for both programming partners and recruitment partners was September 26, 2019, at noon Central.

Application tIPS

Programming Partners

Bush Foundation staff and our event planning partner, Events by Lady K, will review applications and select partners based on eligibility and criteria. 

Recruitment Partners

Bush Foundation staff will review applications and select partners based on eligibility and criteria.

We hope to build a supportive relationship with and among our bushCON partners.

Partners can expect:

  • The opportunity to co-create an amazing and meaningful event experience for leaders across the region.
  • The opportunity to network and shape this event with colleagues in the area.
  • The opportunity to learn with and from other partners as you develop your plans.
  • Templates, timelines and training to support your work on this event.
  • A team of dedicated event professionals who will respond to your requests and questions in a timely manner.

We expect partners to:

  • Attend an introductory video conference and two full-day bushCON partner meetings in the Twin Cities.
    • These meetings will serve as a connection point for partners to get to know one another, increase their understanding of the event, offer input on the event, collaborate with one another and share ideas. We want all partners to be active participants in the collaborative process of co-creating bushCON, and will ask partners to both offer and be open to feedback from other partners.
  • Participate in regular check-ins with the bushCON team to share ideas and updates, communicate about key details and learn the latest developments.
  • Appoint a staff person from your organization as your primary point of contact for bushCON.
    • For recruitment partners, this person will be responsible for managing cohort outreach and communication, registration, travel arrangements, etc.
    • For programming partners, this person will be responsible for providing all session information and coordinating development of session content.
    • If your organization is applying to be both a recruitment and programming partner, we ask that you have two different contacts who will each manage one part of the process.
  • Meet set deadlines and respond to inquiries from the bushCON team in a timely manner.
  • Act as a bushCON ambassador.
  • Participate on event day:
    • Recruitment partners are expected to attend bushCON and host their group at the event.
    • Programming partners are expected to present their workshop sessions at bushCON.

We're Here to Help

For more information or to talk to someone on the bushCON team, call 651-379-2247 or email communications@bushfoundation.org.