Performance Scorecard

We exist to do the most possible good with the resources given to the community by Archie Bush, and our performance scorecard is a look into how we’re doing. With the scorecard, we want to both demystify our work and show some of the ways we are trying to do more good every year. We also hope that by sharing this information we can grow public understanding and trust in our work and live our operating values more fully.

To develop the scorecard, we did a lot of community outreach to understand what people wanted to know about us. That outreach also informed our community questions, which serve as a companion piece to the scorecard. It's more than just a typical Q&A. It's another way in which we strive to be radically open. Check them out here.

Follow this link to share any feedback or questions about the performance scorecard, community questions or anything else on your mind.

Curious about what it took to develop the scorecard? Check out our learning paper, Radically Open: Performance Scorecard.

What We Fund

We are, at our core, a grantmaking institution. Our grantmaking includes grants, fellowships, and program related investments. This section highlights indicators related to where our grantmaking dollars are going.

Make the region better for everyone

Percent of 2022 grantmaking to advance racial &/or economic equity

  • Racial and economic equity 71%
  • Racial equity only 14%
  • Economic equity only 6%
  • Neither 9%
Why it's important to us

In everything we do, we’re working to make the region better for everyone. We continuously try to understand who is not doing well and focus our resources there.

One way we track how we are doing is understanding how much of our funding is advancing racial and economic equity.

how we're doing

We’ve had a stated goal since 2012 for at least 50% of all of our funding to advance racial and/or economic equity in the region. We are currently exceeding that goal by quite a bit, as 91% of our funding now meets this standard. This is compared to 18% in 2012.

what's next

Looking ahead, we will continue to look for great opportunities to make a difference on race and class-based equity as well as understanding other gaps that make a big difference in the wellbeing of people in this region.

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Support community-driven change

Percent of 2022 grants & PRIs made through community grant partners & to community-led efforts *

  • Through community grant partners 65%
  • To community-led efforts 22%
  • Other 14%
Why it’s important to us

Change efforts are far more likely to succeed and be sustained when they are owned and shaped by the people most impacted by the change.

We work across three states and 23 Native nations, so we are not truly of any one community. To do our work well, we seek to work in close consultation with organizations that are better positioned to make decisions related to communities.

How we’re doing

In 2022, 87% of our grants and program-related investments (PRIs) were made through community grant partners and to community-led efforts. In the past few years, we have upped our commitment to working with partners to share more power in our grantmaking and work in deeper partnership with communities. We do this in two ways: by supporting work through our regular grantmaking that is shaped and driven by people from the communities affected by those efforts; and through grantmaking partnerships in which other organizations regrant Bush funding.

What’s next

This measure is a tricky one for us and we are working to get better on our definition and how we track it.

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Support Native people and Native nations

Percent of 2022 grantmaking to support Native people and Native nations
Why it’s important to us

We believe that investing in Native people and Native nations is one of the highest impact things we can do. The challenges facing Native communities are profound, and we see extraordinary people and institutions with big ideas throughout Native nations and Native communities in our region.

How we’re doing

In 2022, 68% of our grantmaking went to support Native people and Native nations in the region. This is a high-water mark for the Bush Foundation — and includes a $50 million grant made to create a community trust fund for Native people in the region. In the last few years, we have averaged about 24% of grant payments to Native nations and people.

What’s next

We are committed to influencing the field of philanthropy to invest more to benefit Native people.

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Reduce racial wealth gaps

$ 51M
Progress toward our goal of $50M to address racial wealth gaps by 2025
Why it’s important to us

Wealth matters a lot. Wealth makes a huge difference in a person’s ability to weather challenges and take advantage of opportunities. That’s why wealth is such a big factor in predicting a child’s life outcomes.

How we’re doing

In 2021, we announced we would commit $50 million through our regular grantmaking programs to help reduce racial wealth gaps over the next five years. (This was in addition to the creation of two community trust funds at $50 million each.) Just two years in, we have exceeded our goal and have committed $51.4 million to date.

What’s next

We reached our milestone but are still looking for opportunities for Black, Indigenous and people of color in the region thrive in our economy and build wealth for themselves and those to follow.

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How We Fund

We believe that how we do our grantmaking matters as much as what we fund. This section highlights aspects of our grantmaking approach and why we believe it matters.

Make it easy to work with us

How 2022 Community Innovation applicants rated our process versus others *

  • much better 50%
  • somewhat better 22%
  • about the same 12%
  • somewhat worse 5%
  • much worse 0%
  • did not apply to other funders 11%
Why it’s important to us

We want people who apply for a grant with us to have a great experience — one that’s as simple and helpful as possible. Through a supportive application experience, we hope we can help people develop their ideas and get some value from the experience whether they are funded or not.

How we’re doing

We survey applicants and grantees through all our grant programs and use that feedback to continuously improve the applicant experience so we can do more of what’s working well and stop doing what’s not. For this indicator, we are focusing on our Community Innovation grant program. Our most recent applicant survey data suggests 72% of applicants find our process better than other foundations.

What’s next

We will continue to reflect on feedback and work to improve and adapt the applicant experience.

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Respond to applicants quickly

Initial application response time for 2022 Community Innovation grant applicants

  • 1-2 weeks 12%
  • 3-4 weeks 22%
  • 5-6 weeks 35%
  • more than 6 weeks 31%
Why it’s important to us

We know that the time between submitting an application and getting an answer from us is stressful for applicants, and it puts them in an unproductive holding pattern as they wait. We also balance that desire for responsiveness with the desire to give thoughtful consideration to each application.

How we’re doing

While this is important across all our programs, we are using an indicator for Community Innovation grants because it is a rolling program and so this metric pushes us the most in our day-to-day work. For these applicants, 69% received responses within 6 weeks.

What’s next

This is a new metric for us. We’re excited to be monitoring it and looking for ways we can do better.

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Support people to think bigger and differently

2022 Bush Fellowship applicant rating of how helpful the application process was in thinking bigger & differently *

  • extremely helpful 45%
  • at least somewhat helpful 54%
  • not helpful 1%
Why it’s important to us

Communities in our region can be as strong as the people in them believe they can be. That’s why we want to take every opportunity to encourage people to think bigger and think differently about what is possible. We also know that applicants spend a lot of time and energy to submit their proposal to us.

How we’re doing

We are glad that 99% of Bush Fellowship applicants say the application process helped them to think bigger and think differently. We want to keep up that rate and to shift so more of them find it “extremely” helpful.

What’s next

We are doing a 5-year strategy review of the Bush Fellowship this year and will be considering lots of ideas to improve the applicant experience.

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Bring as many perspectives as possible into decision making

People participating in 2022 grantmaking decisions, by self-identified race &/or ethnicity *

  • Identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color 63%
  • Identify as white only 35%
  • Chose not to respond 2%
Why it’s important to us

We’re making decisions that affect lots of people across our region. We believe the more diverse the perspectives at the table, the better our decisions.

We think about diversity of decision makers in a lot of ways — in background and identity and life experience. For this indicator, we are highlighting race and ethnicity.

How we’re doing

We’ve made progress on this indicator. This reflects an intentional effort on our part to consider the diversity of perspectives among decision makers at the staff, board and community selector level. Currently, 63% of our staff and board members and community selectors who participate in grant and Fellows selection self-identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color.

What’s next

We are continually working on building the skills of curiosity and awareness so that we are able to appreciate and understand how our own experiences and biases might shape our responses.

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Be as open and accessible as possible

Percent of 2022 grantmaking through open processes

  • Granted through Bush Foundation open process 34%
  • To be granted through partner open process 62%
  • Not open process 4%
Why it’s important to us

All of our funding opportunities are done through open process. This is part of our commitment to equity and making sure everyone in the region has the opportunity to (1) know about any funding opportunities we offer and (2) apply if they believe they are a fit.

How we’re doing

In 2019, we set a goal of having 100% of our funding go out through open process. We are currently at 96% — which is a lot better than the 71% back in 2019. This combines the grantmaking through programs we operate and the funding that is regranted through community grant partners.

What’s next

We are working to hit our 100% goal by thoughtfully and respectfully transitioning legacy grants and relationships to open process. We are getting close!

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How We Operate

We want to do good in everything we do — as a grantmaker, an employer, an investor, a consumer, etc. This section highlights some of the ways this shows up in our operating practices.

Use our spending for good

Percent of non-grant payout to businesses owned by people in a priority demographic group *

  • Owned by 1 or more people in priority group 49%
  • Owned by people not in priority group 24%
  • Chose not to respond 27%
Why it’s important to us

Our commitment to do the most possible good with the resources left by Archie Bush goes beyond our grantmaking. We believe all the money we spend should benefit the region as much as possible.

The indicator we have included to show this commitment focuses on the ownership of the businesses who are our vendors and partners. Based on research and data, we have identified six groups of people that face unique barriers and/or have lower success rates in starting and growing businesses: people who identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC); women; LGBTQ+ people; refugees and immigrants; people with disabilities and veterans.

How we’re doing

Currently 49% of our non-grant payout went to businesses owned by people who self-identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC); women; LGBTQ+ people; refugees and immigrants; people with disabilities and veterans. We don’t have a specific vendor goal, but given the fact that these groups make up more than half of the people in our region, we would be glad to see this go higher.

What’s next

We want to improve the response rate for completing our vendor demographic form and are exploring different ways of doing that to get the most complete information possible.

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Grow our capacity to do more good

Percent change in total assets between 12/31/2021 and 12/31/2022
Why it’s important to us

Our only revenue source is the investment income from our endowment — the funds left to us by Archie Bush. We don’t fundraise and we don’t sell things. Our ability to make grants is wholly dependent on our investment returns so it’s imperative that we manage those investments as well as possible.

Archie intended the Bush Foundation to be around to benefit communities in perpetuity. To keep providing at least the same level of benefit to communities over time, we have to earn enough money from our investments to cover what we pay out plus the cost of inflation.

How we’re doing

In the current high-inflation environment, meeting our return goal is difficult. Like most investors, we lost money in 2022. Our endowment went down by 24% — from $1.7 billion to $1.3 billion — which is certainly bad news. Because we are a long-term investor, we don’t react too strongly to results in any given year. And since we use a multi-year smoothing formula to set our payout, we can have a bad year in investments without cutting our grantmaking budget.

What’s next

We have a long-term strategy for our investments and so won’t be making major shifts based on 2022 results. We will continue to make adjustments based on market conditions and investment manager performance.

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Put more of our assets to work for good

Progress toward May 2024 goal of $100M in active impact investments
Why it’s important to us

As a foundation, our grantmaking is the most obvious way we use our assets for good. Less visible but equally important is how we use non-grant investments to advance our purpose. This is guided by our impact investing approach.

How we’re doing

In 2021, we set a three-year goal of having at least $100 million in impact investments. These are non-grant investments we make to advance our two impact objectives: making capital markets more equitable and supporting business and community development in our region. As of May 2023, we have $83 million in impact investments. Of this, $54 million are investments in our endowment, and $30 million are program-related investments (PRIs).

What’s next

We are actively sourcing investments to hit our current impact investing goal by May of 2024. At that time, we will set a new impact investing goal.

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