When asked what leaders need to more effectively lead change, the number one answer they gave us is more opportunities to connect with one another.

The events below are opportunities to do just that. Build and strengthen your connections with leaders across various networks in our region. Be inspired to think bigger and think differently about what's possible in your community. Equip yourself with new skills, tools and knowledge to more effectively lead change.


bushCONNECT (bushCON) 2020 is returning next fall on October 5, 2020! In order to create the best bushCON yet, we need a dynamic and diverse network of recruitment and programming partners. 

Learn more and apply

Accepting applications through 9/26, 2019, at noon Central.

Recurring Events
Million cups graphic

Aberdeen, SD
1 Million Cups is a free, national program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation in 2012, the program is based on the notion that meaningful connections are made over one million cups of coffee. 1 Million Cups is led by more than 500 volunteer organizers in 35+ states, one U.S. territory, and six time zones – and growing every day.

1 Million Cups Aberdeen is held every Wednesday from 9am - 10am to empower entrepreneurs in the community.

million cups graphic

Fargo, ND
1 Million Cups is a free, national program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation in 2012, the program is based on the notion that meaningful connections are made over one million cups of coffee. 1 Million Cups is led by more than 500 volunteer organizers in 35+ states, one U.S. territory, and six time zones – and growing every day.

1 Million Cups Fargo is held every Wednesday from 9:15am – 10:15am at the Stage at Island Park, except for the months of August and December.

million cups graphic

Rapid City, SD
1 Million Cups is a free, national program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation in 2012, the program is based on the notion that meaningful connections are made over one million cups of coffee. 1 Million Cups is led by more than 500 volunteer organizers in 35+ states, one U.S. territory, and six time zones – and growing every day.

1 Million Cups Rapid City is held every Wednesday from 8:30am – 9:30am at the Black Hills State University-Rapid City Campus.

Woman at Morning Fill Up

Rapid City, SD
Morning Fill Up is a series of public gatherings to inspire and engage members of The Garage, as well as residents around western South Dakota, to put their creative energies into action for the betterment of the entire community. Since the inception of Morning Fill Up, creators of the morning talk have sought to bring guests who can speak to timely, important issues that impact residents of the region — and people across the country.

Creative Morning Fargo Icon

Fargo, ND
The Fargo Chapter of Creative Mornings provides an open environment where anyone from the general public can gather and be inspired by makers, designers, artists, business leaders, non-profits, for-profits, solopreneurs and creative professionals. After all, everyone is creative and everyone is welcome!

Events are held on the last Friday of every month.


North Dakota Reception

September 19, 2019

Bismarck, ND | Join us in Bismarck! We invite you to join us as we celebrate and connect with the people and organizations working to make our region better. This will be a fun, laid-back affair where you can connect with Foundation staff and board members, Bush Fellows, Rebuilders and a host of representatives from organizations we invest in across our region.

Office Hours

September 19, 2019

Bismarck, ND | We be hosting Office Hours in Bismarck with our partners Northwest Area Foundation and Otto Bremer Trust. These meetings offer a chance for us to share our grant and program information, as well as help us to better understand the challenges and opportunities that exist across our region. Visit our webpage to learn more and register for a meeting!

Minneapolis, MN | Join Lunar Startups in celebrating the hard work, dedication, and progress of the first six founders to participate in the Lunar Startups program. This non-traditional pitch event will mix classic demo with real stories of grit, perseverance, and growth, showcasing what it REALLY means to be an entrepreneur.

Fusion Conference

October 01, 2019 to October 02, 2019

Bowman, ND | Fusion Conference is a high-caliber conference aimed at personal, professional, and community growth. Fusion gathers business owners, entrepreneurs, community leaders, professionals and more to connect and learn through high energy and experienced speakers.

Minneapolis, MN | Over 1,000 diverse leaders from business, education, arts and community service will come together to move Minnesota forward through honest conversation about race.

Rural Arts and Culture Summit

October 03, 2019 to October 05, 2019

Grand Rapids, MN | The Rural Arts and Culture Summit is a biannual, practitioner-driven gathering that celebrates and expands the field of rural arts-based community development by providing a space for learning, relationship building and celebration about the role of art and creativity in building strong, healthy and resilient rural communities.

Minneapolis, MN | POWERING INCLUSION is an ongoing event series designed to equip leaders to lead through a lens of Race + Place + Income, positioning the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) region as a hub for talent, investment, and innovation to increase our economic competitivenes

Minneapolis, MN | Intentionally integrated with Pollen’s editorial, Pollen Live brings the isolated, digital reading experience into real-life community, drenches it in multimedia goodness, and drives attendees towards deeper connection and action.

PEN 2019 National Conference

October 03, 2019 to October 05, 2019

Minneapolis/Saint Paul, MN | Surrounded by abundant lakes, ponds and wetlands and by the shore of the Mississippi River, conference attendees will re-imagine progressive education for the 21st Century. While honoring the historical sources of progressive philosophy, this conference will be a space that co- constructs, elevates and embraces new narratives, reflective of “respectfully collaborative and critical relationships between students, educators, parents/guardians, and the community.”

MIT Solve at Pine Ridge

October 04, 2019 to October 06, 2019

Pine Ridge Reservation, SD | Join the 2019 Indigenous Communities Fellows, MIT staff & faculty, Fellow alumni, tribe members, students, and leaders from other cross-sector organizations this fall. Throughout these two days, they will encourage knowledge exchange and build partnerships for native-led projects—from beekeeping to regenerative agriculture to Indigenous fine art.

Bismarck, ND | During a presidential address in 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt articulated “Four Freedoms” which he believed embodied the fundamental human rights that a functioning democracy would fight to protect. These freedoms represent the four cornerstones of the American Dream: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. GameChanging thinkers will take the stage to represent each of these freedoms and provide their insight into how Roosevelt’s vision has—or hasn’t—been realized. 

Innovation Expo

October 08, 2019 to October 10, 2019

Rapid City and Sioux Falls, SD | The Innovation Expo is a conference focusing on connecting entrepreneurs, innovators, angel investors, venture capitalists, and the many others who are involved in developing startup companies. The event will consist of speakers, breakout sessions, and networking focusing on the entrepreneurial community.

NIEA Convention and Trade Show

October 08, 2019 to October 12, 2019

Minneapolis, MN | The 2019 NIEA Convention theme, "Celebrating 50 Years of Building Education Nations: Strengthening and Advancing Native Control of Native Education" recognizes the role educators and communities play in shaping the future leaders of Native education. The five-day convention will not only celebrate the successes realized in Native education over the past 50 years but also look forward to the future and making strides in ensuring that Native students thrive in the classroom and beyond.

Twin Cities Startup Week

October 09, 2019 to October 16, 2019

Minneapolis, MN | In every corner of the Twin Cities Metro Area there is a hacker, builder, artist, engineer, and entrepreneur whose efforts power the future economic vitality of this great state. During this week, we celebrate their efforts in the form of attention, praise, and investment... if you feel so bold. It's an entire week of Minnesota-made innovations on display.

TEDxSt. Cloud

October 10, 2019

St. Cloud, MN | The power of ideas worth spreading continues to gain power, visibility and engagement. Meet members of the emerging TEDxStCloud community and help us turn ideas into action.

Food | Ag | Ideas Week

October 10, 2019 to October 15, 2019

Minneapolis/Saint Paul, MN | Food | Ag | Ideas Week is an annual multi-day series of speakers, events, tours, and demo showcases in Minneapolis and St. Paul designed to drive highlight innovative ideas, drive connectivity across the sectors and invite leaders to join Minnesota's entrepreneur and innovation ecosystem.

6th Annual Native Alliance Leadership Summit

October 11, 2019 to October 13, 2019

Prior Lake, MN | The work of the Native Alliance at Teach for America involves bringing awareness to communities. Native corps members, alumni and staff are invited to come together for workshops, networking, coalition building, and community experiences.

Fargo Ideas

October 16, 2019

Fargo, ND | Inspired by the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, CO, Fargo Ideas will bring the festival's spirit of inquisitive discussion and the exchange of ideas to the Fargo-Moorhead region.

Strengthening the Circle

October 21, 2019 to October 24, 2019

Keystone, SD | Strengthening the Circle aims to build the capacities of experienced and emerging Native-led nonprofit organizations that are working to improve economic development, education, and social services on or near reservations. This Native Nonprofit Leadership Program consists of a four-day workshop for forty executive directors and Board members with follow-up training and technical assistance.

MCN 2019 Annual Conference

October 24, 2019 to October 25, 2019

Rochester, MN | MCN's annual conference is the perfect opportunity for professionals from every corner of Minnesota's robust nonprofit sector to join together, celebrate the sector, learn from one another and prepare for another year.

SPACC Equity Summit II

October 24, 2019

Saint Paul, MN | The 2019 Equity Summit II will be a regional call to move the needle, decreasing the economic disparity gaps in the region, increasing workplace inclusion and making equity a standard in doing business.

Saint Peter, MN | The summit will convene regional leaders as a catalyst for learning, networking, and innovation to promote welcoming and equitable communities.

Mankato, MN | The Women's Leadership Conference: Racial & Gender Justice is a leadership development and community-building event for women, especially women of color, from across southern Minnesota, which is focused on the racial and gender injustices facing Minnesota women. The conference is unique and highlights women as catalysts for change while preparing hundreds of women to lead by providing: skill-building; opportunities to develop new networks of connection that can be leveraged to effect change; and education and support around the intersecting issues of race and gender in our communities.

Minneapolis, MN | Giant Steps is celebrating 10 years of fostering honest conversations, unlikely collaborations, and community-building amongst creative entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial creatives. This year, they'll be talking about lifting up others while building your own business and/or social enterprise and/or artistic career.

2019 Overcoming Racism Conference

November 15, 2019 to November 16, 2019

Saint Paul, MN | The 2019 Overcoming Racism Conference is dedicated to dismantling white supremacy's power, structures, and the culture that enables it to thrive.