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Bush Foundation Launches New Grant Programs to Support Community Innovation

(St. Paul, MN – May 29, 2013) – The Bush Foundation is announcing today the launch of new grant programs that enable, inspire and reward community innovation. The programs support efforts to create and implement great ideas that make communities better and include prize grants of up to $500,000.

“The ‘community innovation’ we are driving is about more than clever, new ideas. It’s about changing the way people come together across our region to make progress on critical issues,” said Allison Barmann, vice president of strategy and learning. “In a time when there are not enough resources to support existing community infrastructure, much less create new, there is a critical need for creative efforts to get more value from our public and private dollars.”

In 2008, the Foundation set a goal of increasing the percentage of communities that believe they are effective at solving problems. These new programs represent the next phase in our community problem-solving efforts. The Community Innovation programs provide two opportunities for which nonprofit organizations may apply: Community Innovation Grants and the Bush Prize for Community Innovation.

The Community Innovation Grants support innovation through community-powered problem-solving: inclusive, collaborative processes focused on making the most of community assets. The Foundation thinks of this as civic R&D, allowing communities to develop and test new solutions to community challenges.

Nonprofit organizations and government entities of all sizes are eligible to apply for Community Innovation Grants ranging from $10,000 up to $200,000. First round applications are due on Thursday, July 11, 2013, at 5 p.m. CDT. For more information about Community Innovation Grants, including how to apply, visit

The Bush Prize for Community Innovation publicly recognizes and rewards organizations that have successfully partnered with their community to create innovative solutions, and provides creative capital for the organizations to use however they choose.

Nonprofit organizations and government entities of all sizes with a track record of creating innovative solutions are encouraged to apply for the Bush Prize. Winners will receive a flexible grant of 25% of the current fiscal year program or organizational budget, up to a $500,000 grant, as well as promotion and recognition. Applications for the 2013 Bush Prize are due on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 5 p.m. CDT. For more information about the Bush Prize, including how to apply, visit

“We’re excited about the role the Bush Foundation can play in creating an environment that fosters community innovation,” Bush Foundation President Jennifer Ford Reedy said. “Funders are increasingly calling on nonprofits and the public sector to rethink their work and collaborate in new ways. At the same time, many of us have narrowed our funding focus areas, making it harder for organizations to get the creative capital they need to innovate. We hope these new grant programs will provide encouragement and financial support for organizations to think bigger and think differently about what’s possible for their communities.”

The application process for both the Community Innovation Grants and the Bush Prize are open to all 501(c)3s and government agencies, with staff and community panels making final grant decisions. Grants and prizes will be awarded in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. At least 50% of the grants and prizes will be awarded to projects and programs that address racial and economic disparities.

In June, the Community Innovation team will hit the road to promote these new grant programs in communities all across the Bush Foundation’s region. They’ll be hosting public “coffee chats” and community meetings around Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. For more information about the Community Innovation programs, visit

About the Bush Foundation

Our mission is to be a catalyst for the courageous leadership necessary to create sustainable solutions to tough public problems and ensure community vitality. The Foundation was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, and today works in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area. Learn more at


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