Ecosystem Grants

Bush Foundation

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Grant amount: Up to US $300,000

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

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:



NOTE: There will be a few Ecosystem grants available to new applicants. Before applying, we strongly encourage you to reach out to Bush Foundation staff, especially if you applied in 2016 and didn’t receive funding, to discuss your organization’s fit with the program.

Ecosystem Grants

Ecosystem grants provide general operating support to help sustain organizations that create unique and significant value for our grantees, Fellows and other organizations.

Some might call these infrastructure organizations or intermediary organizations or just can’t-do-without organizations. We call them ecosystem organizations because they help create an environment for big things to happen in the region by supporting other organizations and leaders

What We Fund

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

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

Selection Criteria

Fit with a Foundation program or initiative

Does the applicant organization advance the goal of a Foundation program or strategic initiative

Does the applicant organization support other organizations and leaders in one or more of the following ways?

  • Providing critical data and analysis
  • Advancing public awareness and policy
  • Spreading great ideas and building capacity
  • Building and supporting networks of leaders

Impact on other organizations and leaders.

Does the applicant create unique and significant value for other organizations and leaders?

How the applicant organization operates.

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

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

Across all our work, we are committed to addressing racial and economic equity in our region. As we review applications, we will consider whether applicants 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.