Community Innovation Grants

Bush Foundation

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Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $200,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

Location of residency: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

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About this funder:



Through our grants programs we invest in organizations working on issues that are important to their community and key to advancing work in our focus areas.

Community Innovation grants fund problem-solving projects that make the region better for everyone.

What We Fund

There are many steps between identifying a problem and implementing a solution, especially if you are engaging your community, making the most of existing resources and working collaboratively with other organizations along the way. 

Your problem-solving process can be at any stage, including: identifying the need, building shared understanding of the issue, generating ideas or testing and implementing solutions. Proposals can focus on one area or span multiple stages.

See infographic here.

You define your community

You identify and define your community. For example, it could be a geographic community, a community of common interest or a racial/cultural identity.

You define the issue

We fund projects that address all sorts of community problems.

Selection Criteria

Community Innovation Grant Program Fit

  • Does the project use inclusive, collaborative and resourceful processes to pursue an innovative solution to a community challenge?
    • Inclusive: meaningfully engaging key stakeholders - thoughtfully identifying those needed to create the intended change and, whenever possible, including those directly affected by the problem.
    • Collaborative: a true joint effort, with partners willing to share ownership and decision-making as they pursue an innovation together.
    • Resourceful: using existing resources and assets creatively to make the most of what a community already has.
  • Is the process likely to lead to a community innovation - a breakthrough in addressing a community need that is more effective, equitable or sustainable than existing approaches?


  • Is the project plan thoughtful, realistic and does it address the identified community need?
  • Does the applicant have the capacity to execute the work effectively or have a plan to meet the needed capacity?


  • Is the project likely to make a significant, sustainable difference, now or in the future?
  • Will the project inspire or inform others?

Additional Considerations

  • We seek a final portfolio of Community Innovation grantees with balance across:
  • Size of community
  • Size of applicant organization
  • Size of grant request
  • Demographics of communities served
  • Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography
  • Type of issue addressed

At least 50% of Community Innovation grants will be for projects that address racial and/or economic disparities. For the purposes of this grant program, the Bush Foundation defines this as proposals that seek to actively reduce structural and/or systemic gaps in access, outcomes, opportunities or treatment based on race/ethnicity or economic standing.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Community Innovation grants may be awarded to 501(c)(3) public charities or government entities (including schools).
    • Coalitions or collaboratives are eligible to apply, but only one organization may receive the grant.
  • For organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status, the Foundation accepts Community Innovation grant applications from fiscal sponsors.
    • The fiscal sponsor organization must submit the grant application and, if the grant is approved, becomes the grantee and receives the funds.
    • Our fiscal sponsorship overview provides additional information.
  • Grants must be used for projects located in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.
  • Grants must be used for a charitable purpose.