On April 23, more than 125 people converged on the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum in Bismarck for a reception hosted by the Bush Foundation. The purpose of the reception was to build and strengthen connections between Bush Fellows, Native Nation Rebuilders, and other Foundation grantees. The reception also created an opportunity for more than dozen Bush Foundation staff members to get out of the office and meet with community leaders.
Earlier that day, a group of Foundation staff traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to visit with tribal leaders. The visit included a tour of the Lakota Immersion Nest, a Lakota language immersion preschool led by Tipiziwin Young, a Native Nation Rebuilder. The students, between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, recently performed for President Obama during his visit to Standing Rock in 2014.
Meanwhile other staff members met with FUSE (a Force to End hUman Sexual Exploitation) the statewide anti-trafficking coalition in North Dakota led by 2014 Bush Fellow Christina Sambor. In its first year advocating at the state legislature, FUSE helped pass 11 bills that address human trafficking, along with $1.25 million in funding dedicated to direct services supporting victims.
The Foundation staff also attended OTA15: Bismarck. More than 150 registered attendees from across the OTA-region – MinnesOTA, North DakOTA, and South DakOTA – filled the historic Belle Mehus Auditorium for a day filled creative networking activities and dynamic speakers, including Candy Chang and Geno Church.