Grow our capacity to do more good

Percent change in total assets between 12/31/2022 and 12/31/2023
Why it’s important to us

Our only source of revenue is the investment earnings from our endowment — the funds left to us by Archie Bush. We don’t fundraise and we don’t sell things. Our ability to make grants is wholly dependent on our investment returns so it’s imperative that we manage those investments well.

Archie intended the Bush Foundation to be around to benefit communities in perpetuity. To continue providing at least the same level of benefit to communities over time, the earnings on our investments must cover what we pay out plus the rate of inflation.

How we’re doing

Financial markets rebounded in 2023 after a difficult 2022. Our endowment was up 8.7% for the year and is currently valued at $1.3 billion. Because financial markets can be volatile resulting in positive or negative returns in any given year and because we are a long-term investor, we use the average of our total assets over the last three years to determine the annual dollar amount for our grantmaking. This approach works to minimize the impact of up-and-down markets and allows us to provide a more consistent grantmaking budget to the communities we serve.

We care about how our investments are doing over the long-term — really since 1976 as that is when we started our current investment approach. And we are pleased with how our portfolio has been performing (we can report that over the past 5- and 10-year periods we are in the top 5% of returns among peers, which has allowed us to significantly grow our grantmaking over that time).

By stewarding Archie’s original gift of around $200M well, we have been able to pay out more than $1 billion to the community and have more than $1 billion in our current endowment to fund future community needs.

What’s next

We will continue to invest our assets to allow us to do the most good for the communities we serve. This generally means having a long-term perspective around how we invest, and investing wisely to give us the flexibility we need to be as responsive as possible to our region. This also means continuing to grow our commitment to impact investing by investing more dollars in businesses and initiatives that support equity, sustainability or that grow the economic vitality of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native Nations that share this geography.