Event Sponsorship

Accepting applications through February 6, 2020

The Bush Foundation believes in developing and supporting leaders who can create positive change in our region.

To that end, we dedicate a limited amount of funds every year to sponsor select events that inspire, equip and connect people to think bigger and think differently about what's possible in their communities and to lead more effectively.

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We award up to $50,000 to select events. The average sponsorship we give is about $20,000. Events should fall into one of the following categories:

  • Events that bring together a wide variety of people across sectors, geographies and cultural communities to experience engaging programming and discussions that inspire, equip or connect them to more effectively lead change.
  • Events that strengthen foundation and nonprofit networks in the region.

We will also fund a select number of events each year that are critical to advancing the goals of our four strategic initiatives. We recognize that there are many events we consider great examples of this work already occurring; however, we are currently looking to fund events focused on building the capacity and momentum of leaders, organizations and communities in these areas:

The Foundation generally does not sponsor issue-specific events that are not related to our four strategic initiatives named above. We generally do not sponsor fundraisers. View past grants.

  • Organizations that are LLCs, 501(c)(3) public charities, and government entities (including schools) are eligible for event sponsorships. Groups of organizations (such as coalitions or collaboratives) are also eligible to apply, but only one organization may receive the grant or contract.
  • As we work in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography, strong preference will be given to events that take place in our region or that are closely connected to an organization in our region.
  • Event sponsorship funds must be spent in full three months following the date of the event.
  • Event sponsorship funds may not be used retroactively.
  • Events must take place after the date noted below for each round.

Accepting applications through Thursday, Feburary 6, 2020 at noon Central.

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We encourage you to apply well in advance of your event to meet the timelines below. If you produce a series of events throughout the year, consider requesting funding for the entire series in one application.

We use an online application system. We understand this may present a barrier to some applicants, and we will make reasonable efforts to accommodate particular needs on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances. 


  • We recommend using Chrome or Firefox as your web browser to complete the online application.
  • The online application counts characters differently than programs like Microsoft Word. Type your answers directly in the application instead of copying and pasting from another program.
  • Some fields have a character count limit. The application will stop you from typing without warning when you reach the limit.
  • Use plain text to complete your answers. Avoid using bold, italic, underlined or centered text, special characters or bullets. If you need to separate things in list form, use bullet substitutes such as plus signs (+), asterisks (*) or hyphens (-).
  • Your application can be saved to revisit and finish at any time. We recommend that you save early and often! To save a change and continue working in the current tab of the application, click the "Save" button at the bottom of the page.
  • The online application automatically times out when inactive for two hours. In case of a time-out, all text entered after your last save will be lost. Please note that there is no change to the computer screen after this time-out occurs. Save your work often!
  • Applications that are started but not submitted within 24 months of being started will be deleted from our system.

Selection Criteria

We invest in events that: 

  • Offer inspiring, engaging programming.
  • Equip people with knowledge or skills to effectively lead change.
  • Incorporate intentional techniques to build new relationships and facilitate the sharing of ideas.
  • Have clear goals for what participants will get out of the event.

We also consider:

  • Whether events are inclusive of people from different backgrounds and use inclusive practices.
  • The impact the event will ultimately have and size of the event.
  • If event organizers have a plan for measuring success.
  • How closely aligned the event is to the Bush Foundation's goals, and if it will reach an audience that could benefit from the Bush Foundation's grant and Fellowship programs.

Across all our work, we are committed to advancing equity for all people in our region. As we review applications, we will consider whether events incorporate inclusive and equitable practices.


Staff from the Bush Foundation will review proposals each round and make final decisions about whether to fund an event and at what level. This is a competitive application process. 


1st Round 2020

  • Application open January 7 - February 6, at noon Central (we will confirm receipt).
  • Finalists selected and all applicants notified of decisions the week of March 2.  
  • Award notices and grant agreements emailed the week of April 8; signed agreements due April 17.
  • Grants/payments mailed the week of April 20.
  • Event should take place May 1 or after.

2nd Round 2020

  • Application open April 21 - May 21, at noon Central (we will confirm receipt).
  • Finalists selected and all applicants notified of decisions the week of June 15. 
  • Award notices and grant agreements emailed the week of August 5; signed agreements due August 21.
  • Grants/payments mailed the week of August 24.
  • Event should take place September 1 or after.

3rd Round 2020

  • Application open August 25 - September 24, at noon Central (we will confirm receipt).
  • Finalists selected and all applicants notified of decisions the week of October 22.
  • Award notices and grant agreements emailed the week of November 30; signed agreements due December 11.
  • Grants/payments mailed the week of December 14.
  • Event should take place December 1 or after.

If you have questions about this program, please contact us at communications@bushfoundation.org