Relationships move at the speed of trust. Some of us have heard this phrase before; for those of us who live this phrase in our daily work, it’s a powerful truth. Since 2014, the Bush Foundation has partnered with Headwaters Foundation for Justice, South Dakota Community Foundation and The Consensus Council as intermediaries for our Community Innovation grant program, helping us reach further and have far more impact than we could alone.
When we launched the Community Innovation (CI) program, we knew we needed help to bolster it. Plenty of organizations who were doing community problem-solving work didn’t know who the Bush Foundation was, and we wanted to reach them. Many of them could benefit from grants at a lower dollar amount than the CI grants the Foundation was making. We also knew we could further philanthropy in the region by working with local folks to select grantees. We needed trusted partners who could help us build relationships and accomplish these goals. What we didn’t know is how much we could gain by having these three entities as our partners in this work.
Our intermediary partners administer CI grants under $20,000 and maintain deep relationships in their communities. Because of these partners and their connections across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations in the region,
- Over the past six years, our intermediary partners have awarded over $6.2 million through 641 grants, reaching far more nonprofits than the Bush Foundation could have reached alone.
- The CI grant program’s processes, from outreach and promotion all the way through selection, have improved because of our partners’ connections as well as their feedback.
- More organizations are problem solving in new and different ways at all levels across our region.