Since 2011, Elli has helped the Bush Foundation think about South Dakota and North Dakota across all aspects of grantmaking. From strategy and design to outreach and selection, Elli’s role is to help her colleagues consider and understand North Dakota and South Dakota and the Native Nations that share the geography. Elli is a relationship-builder and a connector, two skillsets that help her in this quest. She works from her home in Hosmer, South Dakota and joins her colleagues for meetings daily using the best high-speed internet rural has to offer.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Elli served as US Senator Tim Johnson’s Tribal Liaison and Staff Assistant. She traveled South Dakota extensively and built deep, meaningful relationships with elected leaders from the nine Native nations as well as non-profit and community leaders in seven western South Dakota counties.
Like many rural folks, Elli spends a lot of time on the road, for work and for her children’s activities. She and her family love the outdoors, traveling and most especially, walleye fishing on the Missouri River. She gives back to her community by serving on the Edmunds Central Public School Board and teaching Sunday School at her church. She is also a participant in the tenth class of the South Dakota Ag and Rural Leaders (SDARL) program.