Leadership matters. Leaders shape our communities, institutions, nation and the world. They define culture, take action and make decisions that have long-standing and wide-ranging impact on people and communities.
All of us have a role to play in creating a region where each person can thrive, but the people we choose as leaders, and follow as leaders, make a huge difference in our shared direction.
Our annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a reminder of this. His life is a reminder of the difference a courageous, tenacious leader can make. His life is a reminder of how leaders can help inspire communities to change minds, change systems and change history.
Leadership comes in many forms. We know that, and it is why the Bush Foundation invests in leadership in all forms — people working inside and outside systems, people in formal and informal roles, institutional leaders and those not affiliated with specific institutions. We need leaders working in a lot of different ways to make our region better for everyone, including leading the critical fights against anti-Black racism and oppression, and for racial equity overall.
At the Bush Foundation we are committed to supporting leaders from all backgrounds. The life experience and perspectives that leaders bring to their roles matter a lot. We all benefit when decisions are made by leaders who represent us and can consider issues from a wide range of perspectives. That means investing in leaders who have different lived experiences, skills and the curiosity to understand multiple points of view in order to create just organizations and systems. It also means working to have as much diversity as possible among decisionmakers.
We are excited to share the “Who Leads” project, developed in partnership with Wilder Research and Minnesota Compass. This is a new dataset and resource on the diversity of who holds positions of institutional leadership in Minnesota, across sectors. A lot of people in a lot of organizations have been talking about diversity, equity and inclusion for a long time. Yet the data indicates there has been little meaningful change. This data set will help all of us track whether we are really making an impact on who is developed and selected for positions of institutional power in Minnesota.
In a time when we have seen a confederate flag in the United States Capitol, there can be no doubt that we have work to do, that we must nurture leaders who are working to eradicate racism and oppression. The Bush Foundation remains committed to inspiring, equipping and connecting people leading change across our region to build the collective strength we need for a just community.