Event Sponsorship

The Bush Foundation dedicates 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.


We award up to $50,000 to select events that 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. (Examples: TEDx events, IgniteMinneapolis, etc.)
  • Events that strengthen foundation and nonprofit networks in the region (Examples: Minnesota Council on Foundations events, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits events, etc.)
  • Events that advance the Bush Foundation's strategic initiatives. We are currently focused on four specific areas, and we may fund events related to our work in:

The Foundation generally does not sponsor fundraisers or issue-specific events that are not related to our strategic initiatives.

  • 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.

We will accept applications for Round Two, May 1 - May 31, at noon Central.

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.

As of January 2016 we are using a new online application system. Once you’ve started an application in our new system, you can save it and return later to continue working. To return to an in-progress application, login to our online system using the username and password you created when you started your account. Applications that are started but not submitted within 24 months of being started will be deleted from our system.

We understand online application system 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 as soon as possible — but no later than one week before the application deadline — to discuss your specific circumstances. We cannot make accommodations after the application deadline.

We recommend using Chrome or Firefox as your web browser to complete the online application.


Selection Criteria

We look to support events that: 

  • offer inspiring, engaging programming,
  • equip people with knowledge or skills to effectively lead change, and
  • facilitate interaction among participants.

We also consider whether events:

  • are inclusive of people from different backgrounds,
  • have clear takeaways for participants and goals for measuring success, and
  • reach an audience that could benefit from the Bush Foundation’s grant and Fellowship programs.


Representatives from the Bush Foundation will review proposals each round and make final funding decisions. This is a competitive application process. For the 2018 grant cycle, we have modified our description of this program to be clearer about what we aim to support in order to have the most impact on leaders in our region.


1st Round 2018

  • We will accept applications January 2 - February 1, at 12:00 noon Central (we will confirm receipt).
  • Applicants notified the week of April 9.
  • Grants/payments mailed April 27.
  • Event should take place May 1 or after.

2nd Round 2018

  • We will accept applications May 1 - May 31, at noon Central (we will confirm receipt).
  • Applicants notified August 13.
  • Grants/payments mailed August 31.
  • Event should take place September 1 or after.

3rd Round 2018

  • We will accept applications July 24 - August 23, at noon Central (we will confirm receipt).
  • Applicants notified November 12.
  • Grants/payments mailed November 30.
  • Event should take place December 1 or after.

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