Foundation News

Behind the Scenes at the Bush Foundation

By the Numbers: 2015

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By the Numbers: 2015

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Bush Foundation President Jen Ford Reedy attended a White House event focused on efforts to create opportunity for Native youth. The event drew leaders from across the country, including Blandin Foundation President and Bush Foundation Board member Kathy Annette. 


Reedy participated in a panel discussion with, from left to right, Broderick Johnson, assistant to President Barack Obama and Cabinet Secretary; Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; and Dr. William Bell, president and CEO, Casey Family Programs.

Convening

Abiding by one of its five operating values to “Work Beyond Ourselves,” the Bush Foundation is committed to sharing what its grantees and Fellows are learning over the course of their journey. One way the Foundation does this is through Learning Logs. The logs draw insight from grantee reports and are designed to inform and inspire others across our region and beyond.
Community Innovation grant recipients publish interim and final Learning Logs during their grant term. It provides grantees with an active experience to pause and reflect on their own journey, and to gain insight into what fellow grantees are accomplishing.
“I hope reading these reports will inspire the broader field to shift how they think about problem-solving by reading about the experiences of grantees that are in the midst of doing it,” says Community Innovation Program co-director Molly Matheson Gruen. “The Foundation has a really unique platform to be able to do that. In some ways I see us as a megaphone; we can lift up our grantees, and we can connect them in a way that’s particular to our role in the broader system.”
Bush Fellows similarly connect with each other and the community through Learning Logs, published intermittently throughout their Fellowship.
“We hope that sharing the Fellows’ Learning Logs will inspire other people to think bigger and to think differently. It has the potential to influence the region’s leadership landscape,” Leadership Programs Director Anita Patel explains.
As the Learning Logs platform expands, the Bush Foundation will study the impact it has not only on the writers, but also on future recipients of grants and fellowships. Matheson Gruen explains it as a ripple effect: It begins with grantees, followed by inspired applicants, then the greater community.

From Community Innovation grantees & Bush Fellows

LAURA ZABEL
Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts
2014 Bush Fellow

Operate from abundance. Scarcity doesn’t feed you. Figure out what you can offer, maybe it’s money, or time, or space, or partnership or creative thinking and then offer it. Say yes to everything for a while until you learn more about what you should say yes to. Even then, make sure your “reckless yeses” outweigh your “prudent nos.” Share what you’ve learned as freely as you can.

MAKRAM EL-AMIN
Imam of Masjid in North Minneapolis
2014 Bush Fellow

One of my main focuses for my fellowship is to create new narratives of what it means to be a Muslim American. This endeavor can only be achieved with the proper infrastructure and supports. I’ve come to the realization that we must work to develop the support for the vision. This has shifted my focus and has been made a priority for our short-term work. Strategic partnerships are going to be critical to our success.

FARGO-MOORHEAD COALITION FOR HOMELESS PERSONS
2014 Community Innovation Grant Recipient

If you could go back to the start of your grant period and give yourself one piece of advice or learning, what would it be? Why would this have been important?
Calm down, things will move much more slowly than you’d like, but it will be better and stronger because of it. Take the time to create more visual learning and communication tools and talk to consumers experiencing homelessness in a formal manner from day one. Had we known this from the start we would have avoided a lot of personal stress and some interpersonal conflict.

AFRICAN IMMIGRANT SERVICES
2013 Community Innovation Grant Recipient

What are the next steps or plans, if any, for continuing this project?
The impact of our work has evidently put so many possibilities within our reach in ways that were never imaginable a few years ago. Our next step, then, is to build on our successes and breakthroughs, facilitate a broader and deeper community ownership, and respond more effectively to overcome our identified blind spots.

Read more at bushfoundation.org/learning