Supporting our community
The Bush Foundation is adjusting to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic alongside the rest of our region, country and world. We’re thinking about how we can be most supportive and useful to our community as we also figure out how to manage ourselves and our work. We don’t yet know what the greatest needs will be or the best ways to support them. We do know that the economic hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic will be challenging for many. Here’s what we’re doing right now to support our staff, partners and community:
2020 Bush Prize cancelled to support COVID-19 relief
We are cancelling the 2020 Bush Prize program in order to redirect funds to aid people dealing with the economic effects of the outbreak in our region. The Bush Prize is an important program to us and to the organizations that receive it, and it is an extraordinary step for us to cancel it. We think this extraordinary moment calls for it. We are very sorry for any disappointment this causes for organizations that were planning to apply. All other grant programs will continue as planned.
Disaster assistance in our region
We are committed to finding ways our support can reach people across the region. With the money repurposed from the Bush Prize, we have made several large grants to response efforts assisting communities during this time of need:
- $1 million to the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund.
- $500,000 to the South Dakota Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Response Fund.
- $500,000 to the Dakota Medical Foundation’s Critical Safety Net Fund serving North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.
- $500,000 to the NDN Collective Covid-19 Project to provide immediate relief to Indigenous communities in our region.
We also joined the collaborative of the Saint Paul Bridge Fund, which provides resources directly to individuals and businesses in our hometown.
Additionally, we are expediting consideration of Community Innovation grant applications related to COVID-19.
Flexibility around grants
Our grantees are balancing a lot right now, and we want to support them to focus where they need to by offering flexibility around their grants. We have reached out to all current grantees, and are working with them to adapt grant terms as needed.
Adjustments to our operations and Bush Foundation-hosted events
We have transitioned to remote work until further notice. Meetings scheduled at our office will be rescheduled or held virtually. Individual staff members can still be reached by email or phone as usual (visit our staff page for contact information).
We have decided to postpone bushCONNECT from Fall 2020 to Fall 2021. We sincerely appreciate all of our programming and recruitment partners working with us to make this change, and we are excited about what we’ll do together in 2021! We may offer content or connection in some smaller ways yet this year — please stay tuned.
We will redirect some of the bushCON 2020 budget to our COVID-19 response funding. In the spirit of bushCON, and knowing that the creative community has been hit especially hard by event cancellations and that they are using their many talents to enable innovative problem-solving, the Bush Foundation has committed $250,000 of its response dollars to support artists and culture bearers.
We are still hosting our annual education learning event online, on May 19. Learn more.
We are a region of caring and resilient people and we know people will find creative and kind ways to respond to this unprecedented time. We want to be as helpful as we can. We will continue to monitor and respond to new information about the COVID-19 pandemic, and will share updates as we develop and adjust our plans. Please contact us with any questions or suggestions for how we can be most useful to people experiencing hardship during this difficult time.
Jen Ford Reedy
Bush Foundation president