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By Laura Billings Coleman

Here’s a little of what’s been going on at the Bush Foundation.

Celebrating 60 Years
 Bush Foundation Board Chair Pamela Moret acts as emcee for the event.

Alot has changed since 1953. Archie and Edyth Bush could never have imagined that the Foundation they created would be funding innovations in online education or supporting community engagement with immigrants from Somalia. There was no Internet in 1953. There wasn’t even a country of Somalia.

While much has changed in 60 years, some things stay the same. At the core of the Bush Foundation is the drive to do the most possible good with the resources the Bushes left to the community.

The Board and staff of the Foundation spent much of 2013 looking back on its 60 years of investing in great ideas and the people who power them. We’ve produced a series of videos and a written history to highlight some of the Foundation’s work through the years which you can find at http://www.bfdn.org/BF60.

The 60th anniversary celebration culminated in November 2013 with a “family reunion.” Nearly 700 current and former Foundation staff, Board members, Fellows and Rebuilders gathered to reminisce and to celebrate the impact of the nearly $1 billion the Foundation has granted to the community since 1953.

In recognition of its 60th anniversary, the Foundation has also made three “tribute grants” to honor its founders.

  • In Archie’s hometown of Granite Falls, Minnesota, we’re helping to build an applied sciences lab at the Yellow Medicine East High School.
  • In Saint Paul, Minnesota, where the Bushes made their home, we contributed to the Arts Partnership, a model of just the kind of collaborative, pragmatic, civic leadership we imagine Archie would be involved in, if he were alive today.
  • We partnered with the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation in Winter Park, Florida, to honor Edyth’s passion for the arts by refurbishing the green room and dressing room of a place where she was personally involved—the Orlando Repertory Theatre. 

 

Bush family reunion

What happens when nearly 700 members of the “Bush family” gather to celebrate 60 years of investing in great ideas and the people who power them? Lots of smiles and hugs, renewed connections and the beginning of countless new collaborations to come. See more photos from the November 2013 event at bfdn.org/BF60photo.
 

Rebuilders Reunite

In June 2013, the first four cohorts of Native Nation Rebuilders came together for a reunion. Nearly half of the more than 60 Rebuilders named between 2010 and 2013 attended the first-ever event. Over two days, they were able to strengthen ties within and across cohorts, with some meeting each other for the first time.  A Rebuilder said about the reunion, “There’s so much passion for tribal nations—inspiring to see the talent and innovation throughout the region.” Another appreciated the opportunity to “see what other cohorts are up to.”

Native Nation Rebuilders complete a two-year program focused on strengthening their leadership skills and nation-building knowledge so they may be instrumental in moving their nations, in cooperation with elected leadership, toward realization of their tribes’ unique goals. The Foundation announced a fifth Rebuilders cohort in March 2014 (meet them at bfdn.org/C5Reb) and will open applications for Cohort 6 on July 15, 2014. Learn more about the Native Nation Rebuilders Program at bfdn.org/Reb.

We've Moved!
The Bush Foundation and Minnesota Philanthropy Partners share office space.

After nearly 60 years in Saint Paul’s First National Bank Building, the Bush Foundation moved in August 2013, packing 36 staff members and 60 years of paperwork into our new location on the 25th floor of the U.S. Bank Center on East Fifth Street. While the actual distance traveled was across just one skyway, the moving process had begun more than three years earlier when Bush and MN Partners began discussing co-locating to a space that could meet the needs of both organizations moving forward.
“Like many nonprofits, we were interested in finding ways to make the best use of our resources through partnerships in our community,” says Greg Keane, the Foundation’s CFO, who oversaw the project.

Visitors to the Bush Foundation now arrive at a 24th-floor reception area (above) shared with MN Partners. The modern and airy floor includes a cafeteria, conference rooms and other collaborative spaces designed by HGA Architects. One floor up, all Bush Foundation staff now work with smaller offices, larger conference rooms and better technology—all aimed at increasing staff collaboration and productivity. A communal kitchen space connects to a small “living room” for collaboration and conversations, overseen by new portraits of Archie and Edyth Bush (see page 33) by Bush Fellow Frank Gaard (’84).

Keane says the space may look like a serious upgrade to visitors, but “everyone is surprised to learn that we’re actually saving money with this move—nearly $46,000 a year that we can put back into the community.” (Read what the Foundation learned from the move in our new “Learning Papers” series at http://www.bfdn.org/learn.)

Stop by to see our new digs and be sure to update your files with our address:
Bush Foundation
101 Fifth Street East, Suite 2400
Saint Paul, MN 55101

Trending in 2013…

@schufman
Processing #nsnp2013 Day 1 with a glass of wine, and I keep coming back to this piece of paper from @BushFoundation

Facebook/Twitter
  6.4 million impressions - up 677% from 2012
  4,004 likes/follows - up 48%

BushFoundation.org
  168,458 visits - up 62%
  100,482 unique visitors - up 59%

@Alliempls
Read the profiles of the @BushFoundation #BFP2014. And use that anytime someone doubts change can happen. Wow.
(See bfdn.org/2014BFP.)

@Paiger33
Thanks to a @BushFoundation grant the Brookings Supports Breastfeeding group is talking all things babies & mamas.
http://bit.ly/1kYhdXZ

@Ktandrea
Still noodling on the conversation from #workredux this AM. Thanks to @jjmillard, @cloudcarvings and @BushFoundation for doing the good.