Commitment to Education

Education has been a priority for the Bush Foundation from its earliest days. It has taken different forms through the years — supporting faculty development at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and tribal colleges, groundbreaking research in early childhood development, the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative and the Bush Educators Program.

Today, we are open to funding whatever issues communities believe are most important to make our region better for everyone. While we don’t have a specific program focused on education, we continue to believe that educational opportunity is a significant and critical factor in making our region better for everyone. We need an education system, both formal and informal, that helps all kids reach their full potential. We believe that if we are serious about wanting every student to succeed, we need to radically rethink how we can support and develop every student.

This belief is what drives our commitment to the idea of student-centered learning, an approach that makes education relevant to students in terms of:

  • WHO THEY ARE: Creating learning environments that welcome and support students from all cultures and backgrounds.
  • HOW THEY LEARN: Customizing learning to help students learn in a manner and at a pace that meets their individual needs.
  • WHERE THEY WANT TO GO: Helping students imagine their future and provide them with supports tailored to get them there.

We also believe student-centered learning will better prepare learners for success in our changing world. Student-centered learning enables students to have more agency in their own learning and be self-directed problem solvers. We believe this type of educational approach will produce people with far better capacity to create opportunities and solve problems to make our region better for everyone.

We also see student-centered learning as an effective approach to achieve greater equity in education. When students experience school in ways that addresses their unique needs and aspirations, while honoring who they are and the communities from which they come, they are more likely to be engaged and thrive.

Our most significant investments to encourage the spread of student-centered learning are partnerships with organizations that build the capacity of schools in our region to individualize education. Those partners are: KnowledgeWorks, NACA Inspired Schools NetworkBlack Hills Special Services Cooperative - Technology & Innovation in Education (TIE); Modern ClassroomsAchieve Twin Cities; MN Zej Zog; Thunder Valley CDC; and SCL Collective via South Central Service Cooperative.

We also support Education Evolving to host events that bring people together to be inspired, equipped and connected as they work on amplifying student-centered learning in their schools and communities. The annual convening, Student-Centered Learning For Equity, honors who students are, how they learn and where they want to go. The event nurtures a movement and builds capacity for student-centered learning through powerful speakers and breakout sessions.

For anyone working in education and seeking Bush Foundation support, the path is the same as any of our open grant programs. See all of our grants and opportunities.