What it takes to be a Bush Fellow

July 14, 2015

The Bush Foundation is accepting online applications for the Bush Fellowship until noon Central on Thursday, July 30. As individuals from across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that shares the same geography consider the program criteria, they begin asking themselves whether or not they should apply. According to Anita Patel, the Foundation’s leadership director, the most common question she and her team gets during this time is, “What makes an ideal candidate?”

“The first thing people will want to recognize is that the Bush Fellowship is not about a program, project or an organization; it’s uniquely about a person and his or her potential to become an even stronger community leader,” Patel said. “Ideal candidates are extraordinary achievers with equally extraordinary personal goals. They recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and are already passionate, influential leaders who would tap into new levels of potential, impact and focus through a Bush Fellowship.”

Patel emphasized how critical it is to have a clear plan for what the candidate would do as a Fellow. Whether it is pursuing a master’s degree, attending conferences or working with a mentor, the candidate’s plan is key to a successful, compelling application.

The Bush Fellowship Program has a two-stage application process. The initial application asks for background information, including an introductory plan proposal and three references. Semi-finalists will be chosen this fall, and asked to complete additional application materials. Finalists will be invited to interview with a selections panel in late winter; new Fellows will be announced in March 2016.

Patel says that her best advice for prospective applicants who aren’t sure how to get started is, “Make sure you get out of your own head. Ask your friends and colleagues what they see in you.”

Once selected, Fellows receive flexible $100,000 grants that are designed to support transformational learning and growth. Starting in the summer of 2016, the new Fellows will spend 12 to 24 months formalizing and implementing their development plans. Monthly learning logs, written by each Fellow, will be published on the Foundation’s website in an effort to share overall progress.

Program details and a link to the application can be found on the Foundation’s website. Contact the Leadership Team for support: 651-379-2249 or Fellowships@BushFoundation.org. Or, sign up for a webinar scheduled for the afternoon of July 21 to ask questions and learn more about the program directly from staff. 

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