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Bush Foundation selects 24 committed leaders for 2024 Bush Fellowship

SAINT PAUL – Today, the Bush Foundation announced the 2024 Bush Fellows, a group of 24 individuals whose bold vision and leadership are shaping communities in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.

The 2024 Fellows are:

Rod Adams

Minneapolis, MN

Mari Avaloz

Saint Paul, MN

Autumn Cavender

Granite Falls, MN

Adrean Clark

Saint Paul, MN

Trahern Crews

Saint Paul, MN

Lachelle Cunningham

Minneapolis, MN

Roberto de la Riva

Minneapolis, MN

Frederick Edwards, Jr.

Fargo, ND

Michelle Goose

Duluth, MN

Monica Hurtado

Minneapolis, MN

Arlene Krulish

Saint Michael, ND

Jouapag Lee

Roseville, MN

Jamil Stamschror-Lott

Minneapolis, MN

Lily Mendoza

Rapid City, SD

Manka Nkimbeng

Columbia Heights, MN

David O’Hara

Sioux Falls, SD

Aysha Price

Minneapolis, MN

Kasim Abdur Razzaq

Saint Paul, MN

Leslie Ellen Redmond

Minneapolis, MN

Antony Stately

Prior Lake, MN

Irma Márquez Trapero

Saint James, MN

Moira Villiard

Duluth, MN

May Lee Xiong

Cottage Grove, MN

Amber Zora

Rapid City, SD

"This year's Fellows represent transformational leaders with deep love for their communities,” said Adora Land, grantmaking director at Bush Foundation. “We are excited to be a part of their leadership journey as they continue to have greater influence and change within our region.”

About the Bush Fellowship

The Bush Fellowship supports accomplished leaders to take their leadership to the next level, to have more and bigger impact in and across communities. The Fellowship is distinctive in its flexibility, allowing Fellows to define what they need to become more effective and equitable leaders. More than 2,000 people have received support from the Fellowship over more than 60 years.

This year, 582 people applied for the Bush Fellowship. Fellows were selected through an in-depth process that included interviews and mentoring sessions with community leaders, Bush Fellow alumni, and Bush Foundation staff. Applicants shared their vision for the impact they want to have, identified what they need to develop their leadership capacity to have that impact, and created a plan for how they would use the Bush Fellowship opportunity to make their vision a reality. At each stage of the process, selection committees included individuals who reflect the diversity of the region, including different sectors, geography, genders, and racial and ethnic identities. Bush Fellow alumni provided the initial review of all applications, and community leaders made the final selection decisions.

"The Bush Foundation believes in investing in people who power great ideas and big change,” said Anita Patel, vice president, grantmaking for the Bush Foundation. “We are excited to be with these Fellows on their leadership journey and eagerly look forward to what they will do next.”

The Bush Fellowship is open to anyone aged 24 years and older who has a track record of leading change and seeks to build the ability to have even greater impact. Applicants must live in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or one of the 23 Native nations that shares the same geography.

About the Bush Foundation

The Bush Foundation works to inspire and support creative problem solving — within and across sectors — to make the region better for everyone. They do this by investing in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share this geography.

The Foundation works through open grantmaking programs to develop, test and spread great ideas to make our region better, and to inspire, equip and connect people to lead change effectively.

The lives of Archie and Edyth Bush, who created the Bush Foundation in 1953, continue to inspire the Foundation’s work today.

About the 2024 Bush Fellows

ROD ADAMS | Minneapolis, MN

Rod Adams is committed to building economic power for Black and brown communities. Growing up in Chicago, he saw how poverty and crime affected people differently based on their race and these early experiences shaped his awareness of systemic disparities. Now, he is the founder and executive director of the New Justice Project, an organization that focuses on building power for Black Minnesotans through leadership development, political education and access to equitable jobs and housing. As a Bush Fellow, he will earn a bachelor’s degree in public policy at the University of Minnesota and build more sustainable leadership practices that help him do even more for those he serves.

MARI AVALOZ | Saint Paul, MN

Mari Avaloz wants to ensure Latine communities have access to the culturally specific support they need to navigate complex health care systems when dealing with cancer. Her own experience as a primary caregiver to her sister, Maria, who died in 2019 from a rare form of ovarian cancer, exposed her to not only the challenges her own family faced, but even greater challenges experienced by other Latine families to receiving quality care when there are barriers like language, documentation and familiarity with navigating systems. With her Bush Fellowship, she plans to enroll in an intensive Spanish immersion program, obtain a graduate social work license, learn from other healthcare leaders in the Latine and cancer community and complete courses to expand her leadership in the healthcare field. Her hope is to honor her sister’s legacy by helping more Latine families overcome the challenges of a cancer diagnosis and care process.

AUTUMN CAVENDER | Granite Falls, MN

Autumn Cavender (Upper Sioux Community) is revitalizing traditional birthing practices to support Indigenous community health. She draws on the wisdom she acquired from her Dakota culture to address the needs of the communities she serves. Autumn developed her own midwifery practice and helped found a national Indigenous midwifery organization, encouraging more Indigenous people to pursue a midwifery career. She wants to build on this work in ways that help bring culturally based childbirth programming to more communities and inspires the possibility of a new kind of birth center based on Dakota/Lakota practices. She hopes that strategies like this can bring new energy and focus to rural healthcare. To make this change possible, she will grow her understanding of different kinds of care treatment methods and build a support network with leaders working on similar issues across other Dakota/Lakota communities.

ADREAN CLARK | Saint Paul, MN

Adrean Clark is breaking communication barriers as an American Sign Language-speaking (ASL) Deaf woman and forging her own path as an artist and writer. When she saw a scarcity of places for ASL Deaf creatives to publish their work, she co-founded a publishing company to showcase the work of sign language speakers, regardless of their hearing status. She also established an online dictionary for written ASL that eventually became the ASLwrite method. She now hopes to create opportunities for Deaf communities to heal from the trauma of linguicism. With her Bush Fellowship, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, to expand her research on how ASL is represented on paper. She hopes her visual language approach will influence educators to incorporate culturally appropriate visual materials, and to allow the ASL Deaf community to feel confident in expressing themselves in written ASL and other sign language-centric mediums.

TRAHERN CREWS | Saint Paul, MN

Trahern Crews is a visionary leader whose work spans across social justice, reparatory justice and community empowerment. As a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Minnesota, he played a key role in propelling the global reckoning on race following George Floyd's murder. With a deep commitment to reparations and economic justice for Black Americans, Trahern’s efforts have led to the creation of legislation like the Saint Paul Recovery Act and the Minnesota Migration Act, aiming to rectify historical injustices and build generational wealth for Black communities. To grow his leadership skills and influence to drive social change, he will spend time engaging more deeply in educational initiatives, expanding his network and enhancing his public speaking skills to better advocate for his community.

LACHELLE CUNNINGHAM | Minneapolis, MN

Chef Lachelle Cunningham is a major force in the local food scene, driven by a passion for community restoration and connection through food. Every part of her work as a chef is designed to help others heal. She is the founder of Chelle’s Kitchen and was the first Executive Chef of Breaking Bread Cafe. Through Healthy Roots Institute, she provides food education, culinary training, and business coaching. During her Bush Fellowship, Chef Lachelle will expand her strategic planning and fundraising skills, explore diverse foodways and systems, and incorporate holistic healing practices into her work. She will work with a coach to further build out her leadership capacity and grow her resilience to ensure she has continued impact within her community.

ROBERTO DE LA RIVA | Minneapolis, MN

Roberto de la Riva is driving change within the housing sector. He is a first-generation Latino-American with a passion for social justice and equity, from his early days organizing at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse to championing the rights of tenants with the Mexico Solidarity Network in Chicago. In Minneapolis, he co-founded Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia (United Renters For Justice), leading a housing movement that has returned millions of dollars to tenants and prevented evictions. To continue creating large-scale change, Roberto plans to further his work on the Sky Without Limits Cooperative, which is demonstrating the potential for community-owned housing cooperatives. As part of his Fellowship, he will learn more about the formation of institutions, while also undergoing an in-depth study of the work he has already done to see where he can improve and how he can lead in more meaningful ways.

FREDERICK EDWARDS, JR. | Fargo, ND

Frederick Edwards, Jr., has dedicated his life to building unity and belonging. Raised in north Minneapolis as the youngest of 10 children, he faced heartbreak early in life, losing loved ones to gun violence. He found support in community leaders and programs and turned his grief into writing poetry — something he credits for saving his life. He moved to North Dakota for college and faced and embraced the limited cultural diversity of his new surroundings, which sparked the idea for Umoja (which means unity) Writing Workshops, a student-centered program within Fargo Public Schools that is rooted in his vision to create an ecosystem of belonging for all youth. Through that work, he has spearheaded culturally relevant curriculum and invested in the leadership development of youth in the Fargo-Moorhead area. He will use his Bush Fellowship to travel to places where he can increase his knowledge of oppressive systems and how to overcome them, earn a Ph.D. in educational leadership and find the time to heal himself as fully as possible.

MICHELLE GOOSE | Duluth, MN

Michelle Goose (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) is working to revitalize Ojibwe language and culture to build confidence and connection for new generations and break the cycle of intergenerational trauma. As an Ojibwe mother and educator, Michelle has seen how barriers to family language learning have reinforced intergenerational trauma for Ojibwe people and is eager to open doors for others in the Ojibwe community. She co-founded an adult Ojibwe immersion academy, developed an Ojibwe language certificate program and organized a bilingual playgroup to help learners of all ages enhance their language skills and connect to community. She will use her Bush Fellowship to take a sabbatical. She will use the time to immerse herself in Ojibwe language and culture and pursue trainings, workshops and courses to improve her knowledge around Indigenous language education. She will also travel to connect with and learn from other Indigenous communities.

MONICA HURTADO | Minneapolis, MN

Monica Hurtado is committed to building collective power to uplift marginalized communities and drive change. Originally from Colombia, Monica’s journey is marked by a passion for systems change and service. After immigrating to Minnesota in 2001, she played a pivotal role in establishing the transformative "Aqui Para-Ti'' program, offering tailored healthcare support to the Latinx community. This experience inspired her to create change beyond the healthcare field, and to transition her leadership skills to community organizing. She now serves as a public policy director at Voices for Racial Justice. With her Bush Fellowship, Monica will travel to see and learn from different traditional and innovative organizing practices in communities throughout the U.S. and internationally. She also will develop her skills and practices related to mindful meditation to strengthen her own leadership.

ARLENE KRULISH | Saint Michael, ND

Arlene Krulish (Spirit Lake Nation) believes she has a calling to end drug addiction in tribal communities. Growing up on the Spirit Lake Reservation, she saw the inadequacies of the health care system and its harmful effects on Indigenous communities. She earned a degree from the University of North Dakota School of Nursing and returned to her Spirit Lake Tribe, working for decades to improve access to and quality of health care on the reservation. Now, she is focused on helping people overcome addiction and feels ready to lead this change, drawing from both Western medicine and ceremonial practices. Through her Bush Fellowship, she plans to enroll in a nurse practitioner program with a psychiatric mental health specialization, which would make her the first nurse practitioner enrolled in the Spirit Lake Tribe. She is also excited to gain mentorship and connect with other leaders and Fellows leading similar change.

JOUAPAG LEE | Roseville, MN

Jouapag Lee wants to help Hmong people heal from intergenerational trauma and foster healthy family and community connections. Inspired by her upbringing as the oldest child of Hmong refugee parents, her work is focused on freeing her community from unjust systems of oppression and creating spaces that elevate collective wellbeing. After losing her own mother and grandmother, while becoming a mother herself, Jouapag took time to consider what true healing means. She became a founding member of the Hmong Healers Collective to share practices for healing within her community. Now, her vision for change is growing. She hopes to create a culturally grounded space for Hmong American millennials to learn the histories of oppression and trauma and explore what collective healing could look like in their community. She believes reaching millennials is key to bridge the gap between ancestral and modern healing. Through the Bush Fellowship, she will seek a trauma-informed coaching certificate, strengthen her written Hmong language skills, work with a coach to develop sustainable business practices and travel to Laos and Thailand to further connect with her Hmong roots.

JAMIL STAMSCHROR-LOTT | Minneapolis, MN

Jamil Stamschror-Lott wants to improve mental health diagnoses for Black students and ensure they get the help they need. He understands that when Black students are misdiagnosed, they are often wrongly placed in special education systems. He and his wife started a private practice, Creative Kuponya, to provide culturally responsive services — outside of the traditional medical model — to better support his community and grow the number of Black male therapists. He is now working to build a pathway for more Black men in Minnesota to become therapists. During his Fellowship, he will build coalitions, consult with leaders who have similar ambitions and seek personal training in fields like operations, nonprofit management and culturally specific therapeutic models.

LILY MENDOZA | Rapid City, SD

Lily Mendoza (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe) is influenced by the powerful matriarchs in her family and is committed to fostering a strong sense of cultural identity and resilience among the Lakota people. She believes her most significant contribution to her community is creating the Red Ribbon Skirt Society, an organization that addresses the difficult issues surrounding Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, helping families share their stories and influences national policies. With her Bush Fellowship, Lily will keep building on this work. She will seek teachings from Lakota elders, tribal leaders and sacred sites, and take time to heal herself so that she can lead from an informed Indigenous perspective and help more families find healing in Lakota lifeways.

MANKA NKIMBENG | Columbia Heights, MN

Manka Nkimbeng is using research and policy to address health inequities in African immigrant communities. She was raised by her grandparents in Cameroon where access to healthcare was limited. After immigrating to America, she continued to see the ways in which healthcare systems do not work well for everyone. That inspired her career in public health. She works as a researcher and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health where she developed a dementia education program for African immigrants and implemented public health education for Black immigrants. The Bush Fellowship will enable her to continue closing equity gaps in healthcare through coalition-building and conflict resolution. She also will develop an advisory committee for feedback and build her self-care practices.

DAVID O’HARA | Sioux Falls, SD

David O'Hara is a professor, environmentalist and advocate for sustainable change. Raised by a father with deep reverence for land and ecosystems and a mother with a strong commitment to social justice, he learned the importance of working for communal benefit. He champions practical solutions rooted in philosophical pragmatism. From fostering healthy urban agricultural ecosystems, to supporting Indigenous cultures, his work aims to create a more sustainable and just world. As a professor at Augustana University, he established programs that foster a new generation of leaders. The Bush Fellowship will help him expand his work in ways that he hopes will affect his entire state. He will take a sabbatical to travel and enhance his learning. He also plans to take courses that will fill his knowledge gaps in laboratory sciences and visit key sites and meet with groundbreaking individuals around the world to learn from them directly. He hopes to inspire others to embrace the idea that "flourishing is mutual" and the imperative of collective action for a thriving planet.

ALYSHA PRICE | Minneapolis, MN

Alysha Price promotes the power of strong and supportive co-parenting. As a child raised by co-parents, and as a Black co-parenting mother, she is challenging the narrative that single parents within Black communities cannot succeed. Her own experiences inspired her to write the book, “It’s Not Complicated: A Self Help Guide for Mothers Navigating the Obstacles of Co-Parenting.” She soon found that single parents were seeking tools and guidance to co-parent effectively. She is now filling that gap with The Price Dynamic, a social enterprise that inspires dignity and cooperation between single parents. The Bush Fellowship will enable her to work on her own family patterns and to deepen her understanding of the various formal and informal systems that support families. She hopes to build a strong coalition invested in reclaiming and uplifting the Black family experience.

KASIM ABDUR RAZZAQ | Saint Paul, MN

Dr. Kasim Abdur Razzaq is dedicated to helping others achieve mental health and wellbeing. As a mental health professional, he has long been fascinated by how people understand complex ideas. He works to find ways to give people language and meaning for their personal experiences. His experiences as a Black Muslim man have helped him understand the importance of cultural context and roots for the people he helps. He believes true healing for Black communities is tied to understanding the traumas that have affected all Black people. During his Bush Fellowship, he will focus on his own health practices as he works to build his capacity to inspire and support more Black mental health professionals.

LESLIE REDMOND | Minneapolis, MN

Leslie Ellen Redmond works for transformative change through compassionate leadership. As the youngest president of the Minneapolis National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), with a Juris Doctor and a Master of Business Administration, Leslie has demonstrated her leadership in extraordinarily challenging circumstances. She led the Minneapolis NAACP during a global pandemic and the racial awakenings and unrest after the murder of George Floyd. She has spearheaded initiatives like Win Back’s “Day of Remembrance” and the "Don't Complain, Activate" campaign, fostering activism and resilience among youth and community members alike. With her Bush Fellowship, she will focus on radical rest, narrative development, building a stronger network of elders and aligned leaders, and learning from holistic practitioners to help her lead with authenticity and joy.

ANTONY STATELY | Prior Lake, MN

Antony Stately is a transformative leader dedicated to health equity in Indigenous communities. Raised by a single mother who was relocated from the White Earth Indian Reservation during the federal government's Relocation Program, Antony developed a profound understanding of the injustices working against his community. He was also exposed to leaders of the American Indian Movement, who inspired him to fight against injustice. After overcoming an alcohol addiction, he obtained his Ph.D. in clinical psychology and built a career combining healthcare, cultural healing and spiritual care. As the executive officer of the Native American Community Clinic (NACC), he has become known for developing innovative approaches to culturally integrated care, including new models of street medicine and harm reduction for unsheltered people. He will use his Bush Fellowship to deepen his understanding of Indigenous leadership practices, build connections with Indigenous thinkers, elders and changemakers, and learn about innovative models in health and wellbeing in Native communities.

IRMA MÁRQUEZ TRAPERO | Saint James, MN

Irma Márquez Trapero is on a mission to redefine leadership in Latine communities by placing mental health and healing at the forefront. Drawing from her own experiences as a queer Latina woman and a formerly undocumented immigrant, she advocates for compassionate and inclusive spaces that honor cultural heritage. In 2019, she co-founded LatinoLEAD, a leadership network working to shape policy and perceptions that advance collective influence, success and power within the Latinx community. With her Bush Fellowship, she will deepen her understanding of nonprofit management, culturally specific leadership development and mental health practices. She also will focus on her own healing journey to bring empathy, authenticity and joy to her leadership.

MOIRA VILLIARD | Duluth, MN

Moira Villiard is elevating underrepresented stories through art and community organizing. A Fond du Lac Ojibwe direct descendant, Moira found strength and confidence through art. She is a lead director for the Chief Buffalo Memorial project, a series of community-painted murals along Lake Superior that serve as a site of prayer, education and activation. She also co-organizes a community art installation titled “Waiting for Beds,” which explores the effects of long wait times for social services. Moira leads on behalf of her ancestors, hoping to leave behind a better world for future generations. She will use her Bush Fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in human rights and travel for creative research and reconnection with her ancestral history.

MAY LEE XIONG | Cottage Grove, MN

May Lee Xiong is reimagining education to support Black, Indigenous and people of color to thrive in schools that celebrate their diverse identities. She grew up in Minnesota feeling disconnected from her own Hmong culture. After hearing the stories of her resilient immigrant parents, she began to truly embrace her heritage. As an educator leading Hmong language revitalization efforts, she helped co-create the Hmong Studies and Hmong Dual Language programs at Phalen Elementary School in Saint Paul. With her Bush Fellowship, she will seek ways to deepen her understanding of language revitalization and build her skills to advocate for transformative changes in public education.

AMBER ZORA | Rapid City, SD

Amber Zora is promoting peace through art that lifts up the experiences of veterans and others affected by war. As an interdisciplinary artist and Iraq War veteran, Amber seeks to challenge dominant narratives about militarism, war and dehumanization. She has exhibited her work in local and national galleries, curated anti-war exhibits and taught art classes. With her Bush Fellowship, Amber will work on facilitation and other leadership skills, and build relationships and knowledge in the anti-war field through studio visits with artists and travel to museums around the world that have curated work around war and conflict. She hopes to build a network of artists who are veterans or have been affected by war from around the region and find new ways to promote their work.

https://www.bushfoundation.org/news/new-fellows-big-ideas-bold-leaders?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTAAAR2pZht3yvK8pv7phMjstY8IqsUcU-CjgbKlI7D0T1ghljAOZETwzj1k8Bg_aem_AZVvHHTUX63WdzzJ8IdxlV7NPE7Utn2QXHGZ1VKS0LZ6IKlFjdVG8kC3GRWVi-yG_c3takwXhGD_yPZFKjUZhSgv

 

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