Education Initiative

Make Education More Relevant for All Students

For every student in the region to succeed we need an education system that works for all students. This requires a more personal, more relevant approach to education.

The guiding goal for our Education initiative is to make our region the national leader in providing individualized education that meets the needs and ambitions of all students.

We invest in efforts to make education more relevant for all students in terms of:

  • WHO THEY ARE: Create learning environments that welcome and support students from all cultures and backgrounds. 
  • HOW THEY LEARN: Adopt new techniques and technologies for instruction that help students learn in a manner and at a pace that meets their individual needs. 
  • WHAT THEY WANT TO DO: Help students imagine a career and provide tailored supports to get them where they want to go. 

Watch our 2018 webinar to learn more about the Education initiative.

Learn about our approach with our strategic initiatives.

Our Direction

Creating real, sustainable change to the way we approach education will require a lot of people to think bigger and differently about what is possible. That is why our work is fundamentally focused on people. We know that in order to accomplish our goal, we need to inspire, equip and connect people who want to make individualized learning an essential part of the education system.

People who want to know more about individualized learning

promote the power and possibility of individualized learning

We host a number of events for people who want to learn about individualized learning. These events feature national and regional speakers who share insights about individualized learning that they have gained through research and experience, as well as workshops and presentations from researchers, practitioners and students.

Learn about our next event on May 7!

People who are ready to implement individualized learning

support efforts to incorporate individualized learning in schools

In 2017 we partnered with 2Revolutions, a national education design lab, to present an education design experience for educators who want to reimagine the purpose and structure of school.

School Design for Individualized Learning prepares educators to develop individualized learning plans that meet the unique needs and potential of all students. Participants have the chance to obtain funding to implement.

In 2018, we will continue to offer the 2Revolutions design program and launch a new request for proposals process to select and support school intermediaries that help build the capacity of schools in our region to provide individualized learning.

People who have already implemented individualized learning

rolling out a grant to support schools

There are a number of public and private schools in the region that already incorporate individualized learning. We know that the support infrastructure in our region for individualized learning is fairly nascent.

We will continue to work with these schools and existing support organizations to identify gaps in the ecosystem and create strategies to fill those gaps. Together, we will develop a support infrastructure for people and organizations who want to learn more and who want to do more individualized learning in schools. 

Learn about our School Intermediary Grant opportunity, accepting applications through 5/23

Our Investments

We work in consultation with community stakeholders, issue experts, our Board of Directors and others to identify and develop promising investment opportunities.

Our current investements include:

  • 2Revolutions: To create a cohort-based program for schools to build and implement plans for individualized learning.

  • CliftonLarsonAllen and nine Minnesota schools: To conduct a process to identify the needs and shape the beginnings of a community of practice for practitioners of individualized learning.

  • Greater Twin Cities United Way: To expand the College and Career Academies, a program focused on career relevance in greater Minnesota.

  • Black Hills Special Services Cooperative: To spread customized learning models across all South Dakota schools and equip districts with the tools to implement customized learning.

  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: To create a year-long language institution that prepares Native and non-Native teachers to effectively incorporate language and culture into K-12 learning and instruction across all content areas. 
  • Minnesota Chamber of Commerce: To pilot a career network in the Winona area that connects local industry/employers with schools to create meaningful career pathways for students in the area.

Tell us who we should know about. We do not accept unsolicited proposals for funding through our strategic initiatives. However, we do want to know about the people and organizations doing great work in the region.

Learn more about Education Major Investments.

What's Next

We will continue to inspire, equip and connect people who will power the ideas and strategies that will make education more relevant to all students in terms of who they are, how they learn and what they want to do. We will do so through the opportunities highlighted above, while continuing to learn, adjust and/or provide additional opportunities that address specific community needs or areas.

We will use the learning and advice from the Native Education Advisory Group, a group of Native leaders brought together in 2017 to identify key barriers and ideas to increase school success for Native youth, to better serve Native students in our current and yet to be identified investments.

We will explore the technology and policy environment critical for individualized learning ecosystem support, and the role that the Foundation can play in these areas. 


event: leading the way to Individualized Learning  

Together with The School Leadership Project, we invite you to join us on May 7 for a day of learning and connection as we explore student-directed learning in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the Native nations that share the same geography, and celebrate the ways this work joins and enriches groundbreaking efforts to make learning more relevant for students across the country.

Learn more and register


An education design experience that will inspire, equip and connect educators who want to reimagine the purpose and structure of school. Inviting schools to participate in our second cohort during Spring and Fall 2018, and also accepting applications for the first cohort of schools to receive Individualized Learning School Design Grants via 2Revolutions.


We seek to fund school intermediaries with a promising or proven approach to implementing individualized learning in schools, and a track record of working with K-12 schools to incorporate that approach. 

Learn more about this opportunity and apply


Organizations can apply for our Ecosystem grants, which help sustain organizations that create unique and significant value for our grantees, Fellows, Rebuilders and others. 


Business leaders are encouraged to explore opportunities within Bush Fellowships and Change Networks.


Visit our Opportunities page or subscribe to our newsletter to stay current on what we offer.