Insights intoCommunity Problem SolvingFrom Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grantees

Community Innovation Grants support communities working together to solve problems. Recipients of these grants have taught us that while working with others to solve problems is critical, it takes longer than anticipated and rarely goes as planned.

Tip: Expect problem solving to take longer than you think it will.


44% of grantees wish they could go back in time and tell themselves to extend timelines.


37% requested to extend original grant timelines, with some doing so several times.

Tip: Take time to build relationships
and figure out how to work with collaborators.

59% of grantees say that building relationships, collaboration structures and decision-making processes were critical to their success.

Tip: Be flexible, prepare to adapt and make time to reflect and learn.

39% of grantees significantly changed strategy, which helped them make progress while dealing with unexpected challenges.

Tip: Be realistic about the capacity and resources you and your collaborators will need.

Relationships among collaborators can suffer without a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and what will be needed to get the work done.

Talk with your partners about investing in training, education and resources.

Learn more about how successful community innovation happens:

Read more lessons from grantees in our Learning Logs.

Apply for a Community Innovation grant.

Contact us with questions.