Our Investments in Racial Equity

Frequently Asked Questions

how to apply

When can I apply to get a grant from the community trust funds?

The steward organizations are currently conducting deep community engagement and developing the grant programs. It will take time to develop the programs to make sure they are set up to serve the community well, so we expect the community trust funds to open for applications from individuals in late 2022 or early 2023. We encourage you to stay informed by signing up for NDN Collective's newsletter and Nexus Community Partners' newsletter.

How can I apply for a grant to address racial wealth gaps?

In addition to seeding the community trust funds, we committed $50 million to address racial wealth gaps through our regular grantmaking programs. About $25 million has been invested toward that goal so far. The Community Innovation (CI) grant program is our largest grant program and it is open for applications all the time. If your organization has an idea you think could be a good fit for a CI grant, we’d love to know about it! Explore the CI program to learn more

steward organizations

Who are the steward organizations for the community trust funds?

The Bush Foundation selected NDN Collective (based in Rapid City, SD) and Nexus Community Partners (based in St. Paul, MN) to steward the community trust funds to address racial wealth gaps. As steward organizations, they will design and operate the grant programs that will distribute $100 million to individuals to build stability and generational wealth by improving access to opportunities such as education, homeownership and entrepreneurship.

How were the steward organizations selected?

The steward organizations were selected through a rigorous and open process that was guided by Black and Native community leaders. NDN Collective and Nexus were chosen for their passion, clarity, and commitment to building wealth in Black and Native communities as well as the trust and respect they have earned from the people they serve.

Why did you choose to work with steward organizations?

We think it’s important that the community trust funds be developed and managed by organizations that have deep understanding of and connection to their communities. They will have broad responsibility for managing the community trust funds, including managing the fund’s assets and administering the grant programs. 

Community trust funds

How can individual grants from the community trust funds be used? 

The community trust funds will provide direct support to individuals for wealth-building activities. The specifics will be determined by the steward organizations. The goal of these grants is to build stability and generational wealth by improving access to opportunities such as education, homeownership and entrepreneurship. 

Research shows that activities like going to college, buying a home and starting a business make a difference in building wealth. The community trust funds will help more people have these opportunities. When individuals advance their education, put down roots through homeownership, or grow a small business, both their family and their community is strengthened. 

Why are the community trust funds focused on building assets?

While racial justice is about far more than just economics, addressing racial wealth gaps is an important way to build racial equity. Wealth disparities are tied to social and economic disparities in areas like education, future earnings and health. We believe that restoring and building wealth will help address these inequities. By investing in asset-building, we can help build wealth to support opportunities for people today and generations to come. 

Why will the community trust funds support individuals directly?  

Wealth is generational. Inheriting assets is a big part of that, of course. Beyond inheritance, if your family has resources to support you through college, help with a down payment on a house or provide start-up money for a business, it makes a big difference in your ability to build wealth.

These trust funds are intended to be a community resource to help build that same kind of opportunity. Giving funds directly to individuals helps families and communities control their economic destinies and build a foundation for future opportunities. We think helping individuals succeed and prosper will also help their communities succeed and prosper, which makes the region better for everyone.  

Why are the community trust funds focused on Black and Native Americans?

Throughout our country’s history, Black and Native American communities have experienced unique and profound injustices. Current racial wealth gaps are the product of centuries of race-based policies, and race-neutral actions are not sufficient to address them. Learn more about racial wealth gaps

We recognize that racial wealth gaps impact other communities of color, and that poverty affects people of all races. Our $50 million commitment to address racial wealth gaps through our regular grantmaking is intended to fund efforts within and across communities of color. All of our ongoing grant programs are open to all individuals and organizations in our region.  

How are the community trust funds being funded? 

The funding for the community trust funds is above and beyond our regular grantmaking payout. We issued $100M in social bonds in fall 2020 and are using the proceeds to create these community trust funds. This approach to financing is allowing us to put more money into the communities we serve now, even as we work to ensure the most possible long-term community benefit from the assets Archie Bush left to the community. For more information about social bonds, please see our social bond FAQs

How can I be involved?

For these community trust funds to have the most possible impact, we hope many people will be involved and contribute! To receive updates from the Bush Foundation, subscribe to our e-newsletter. If you are interested in being involved with or contributing to the community trust funds, we encourage you to sign up for NDN Collective's newsletter and Nexus Community Partners' newsletter.


Why did you commit to addressing racial wealth gaps?

While the Bush Foundation has a long history of investing in racial equity, we, like many others across the country, heard the urgent call to bring more money, more directly to communities that have been most acutely affected by historic racial injustice — Black and Native communities. Our approach is inspired by a proposal Edgar Villanueva made in his book “Decolonizing Wealth.”

Addressing racial wealth gaps is just one part of racial justice, and racial disparities are profound and persistent. Real and lasting change will require a lot more work from a lot more people. We have been excited to see other institutions committing to do more to address wealth gaps through hiring, lending, educational supports and other important strategies. We see these trust funds as a complement to these efforts and hope the funds help people prepare for and take full advantage of these other opportunities. We are glad to be part of this larger ecosystem of organizations and individuals working to build a more just and equitable future.

Do you consider this to be reparations?

We think of our commitment to addressing racial wealth gaps as being in the spirit of reparations. Our intention is to be reparative and restorative. We want to address the wealth and opportunity gaps that are a result of historic racial injustice by helping to build wealth in the most impacted communities.

We know that “reparations” means different things in different communities. As we talked with community leaders, we heard different reactions to the term. We realize the concept of reparations is much bigger and more complex than what we are doing. At the same time, we believe there is an opportunity for private organizations, like the Bush Foundation, and individuals to consider what reparative actions they can take.