Ecosystem Grants

Bush Foundation

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Anticipated deadline: Feb 13, 2023 10:00am PST

Grant amount: Up to US $300,000

Fields of work: Indigenous Sovereignty & Rights Business Development Art & Culture Education Entrepreneurship Civic Leadership Development Civic Engagement & Education Show all

Applicant type: Indigenous Group, Government Entity, Nonprofit

Funding uses: General Operating Expense

Location of project: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

Location of residency: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

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About this funder:



Ecosystem Grants

The Bush Foundation works to inspire and support creative problem solving — within and across sectors — to make our region better for everyone. We know problem solving is hard. Our Ecosystem grant program is designed to provide operating support to the programs and organizations that do the most to support the people doing this work. 

Some might call these infrastructure organizations or intermediary organizations or just can’t-do-without organizations. We call them Ecosystem organizations because they create the environment for organizations and leaders to solve problems and make the region better for everyone.

What We Fund

Ecosystem grants provide operating support to programs and organizations that our grantees, Bush Fellows and other organizations rely heavily on to:

  • Provide critical data and analysis.
  • Advance public awareness and policy.
  • Spread great ideas and build capacity.
  • Build and support leadership networks.

We are looking for Ecosystem grantees that support organizations and leaders working to advance the goals of our focus areas.

Organizations may apply to receive as much as $300,000 over three years in operating support. The annual grant amount is typically 25% of the organization’s expenses, up to $100,000 per year. All Ecosystem grantees will receive an additional $10,000 in capacity building funds to build or increase their skills to work across differences. 

Focus Areas

Working Across Issues, Not Focused on a Specific Issue

Community Innovation

Does the organization support other organizations to collaboratively solve community problems?


Does the organization inspire, equip and connect leaders to more effectively lead change?

Working on a Specific Issue

Community Creativity

Does the organization help others to use art and culture to solve community problems?


Does the organization help schools and educators move toward student-centered learning?

Nation Building

Does the organization support tribal governments to exercise sovereignty?

Social Business Ventures

Does the organization support people to start and grow businesses that solve social problems?

Note: We don't award Ecosystem grants to organizations working on specific issues other than these four.

How the Organization Operates

Is the organization stable and strong in terms of governance and finance?

Does the organization operate in a way that aligns with the Bush Foundation's operating values?

Across all our work, we are committed to advancing racial and economic equity in our region. As we review applications, we will consider whether organizations have the skills and orientation to support leaders and organizations working toward that end.

Additional Considerations

We will also consider the diversity of our portfolio across:

  • Size of community served.
  • Size of applicant.
  • Demographics of communities served.
  • Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.

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


  • Ecosystem grants may be awarded to 501(c)(3) public charities or government entities.
    • Organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status may submit an application through a fiscal sponsor.
  • Coalitions or collaborative efforts are eligible to apply, but only one organization may receive the grant.
  • Grants must be used for a charitable purpose that supports people and organizations in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.