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 and to lead more effectively.


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, 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, particularly those that build capacity and momentum toward our specific goals. We are currently focused on four areas, and we may fund events related to our work in:

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.

  • 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 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.

Applications that are started but not submitted within 24 months of being started will be deleted from our system.


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 2019

  • Application open January 2 - January 31, at 12:00 noon Central (we will confirm receipt).
  • Finalists selected and all applicants notified of decisions the week of February 25.  
  • Award notices and grant agreements emailed on April 5; signed agreements due April 19.
  • Grants/payments mailed the week of April 22.
  • Event should take place May 1 or after.

2nd Round 2019

  • Application open April 23 - May 23, at noon Central (we will confirm receipt).
  • Finalists selected and all applicants notified of decisions the week of June 17. 
  • Award notices and grant agreements emailed on August 9; signed agreements due August 23.
  • Grants/payments mailed the week of August 26.
  • Event should take place September 1 or after.

3rd Round 2019

  • Application open July 23 - August 22, at noon Central (we will confirm receipt).
  • Finalists selected and all applicants notified of decisions the week of September 23.
  • Award notices and grant agreements emailed on November 15; signed agreements due November 29.
  • Grants/payments mailed the week of December 2.
  • Event should take place December 1 or after.

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