|Jacquie Berglund (Photo Bonni Allen)|
Since launching the world’s first charitable beer company in 2000, Bush Fellow Jacquie Berglund has turned FINNEGAN’S into one of the flagship brands of the social enterprise movement, investing 100 percent of profits in locally grown produce that to fill food shelves across the Midwest. Over the last 14 years, the positive buzz she’s built for such brews as “Finnegan’s Irish Ale” and “Dead Irish Poet Stout” has also made Berglund a sought-after guru on the social entrepreneur circuit, fielding dozens of calls and emails every week from like-minded start-ups hoping for her help.
“The number one thing everyone always wants to know is if I had investors, but I didn’t. I had $500 in the bank,” says Berglund. “I’m what you call a professional boot-strapper.”
Sharing what she’s learned with other businesses committed to more than the bottom line is one of Berglund’s passions, but with just six employees behind FINNEGAN’S 10,000-barrel operation, finding time to answer every request isn’t easy. So when a friend encouraged her to consider whether a $100,000 Bush Fellowship could help her do more good, Berglund took a closer look at the program; turned out the Foundation was seeking applicants with “a record of success,” “generosity of spirit” and the vision to create a greater impact.
"The success of the Program and of the Fellows may not be shown by any immediate results, nor by quick changes either in the man or his work; rather, program success will be measured by the broad-gauge responsibilities and leadership activities of each Fellow over the 10 to 20 years after he leaves the program."
“I’d already been doing some soul-searching about how I wanted to give back, and I had a project I’d been working on in my head,” she says. “Just being asked to think about what I could do with a Bush Fellowship helped me get some clarity on what my next chapter was going to be.”
Last March, Berglund learned she’d received a 2014 Bush Fellowship, a gift of time and money that she’s investing in what she calls the “FINNovation Lab,” a business incubator aimed at growing other socially responsible start-ups.
“The hardest part of the Fellowship for me so far has been putting the money into what I need to be the best leader I can be in five or 10 years,” says Berglund, who just hired a coach to help her make the most of her $100,000 Fellowship stipend. “I have to admit I’d never heard of the Bush Fellowship before, so I still can’t believe that an organization is investing money in the givers and the rescuers and the people in my field who are trying to figure out how to do good. I feel really honored — and also really motivated to do more.”
“This program is designed to seek out and develop broad-gauge men who can be effective leaders.”
If Jacquie Berglund never imagined she’d be a Bush Fellow, it’s a safe bet that Archibald Bush could not have imagined it either. Though Archie was a boot-strapper himself, starting his journey from Granite Falls to the Fortune 500 with just $25 in his pocket, he was also a teetotaler who saw little redeeming value in beer. More to the point, the fellowship he first outlined was never intended for women, seeking only “experienced men between the ages of 25 and 40 so that they may train themselves further for major leadership in business, government, the professions and union management.”
|Founder Archibald Bush early in his career with 3M.|
In fact, the very first fellowship program was created in the image of the Bush Foundation’s founder, a quick-on-his feet square dance caller who quit school in the eighth grade to help out on his family’s farm. In 1908, at the age of 21, Archie Bush set out for Duluth, attending business school at night and landing a bookkeeping position recently vacated by William McKnight, the future chairman of the board of 3M. A natural-born salesman and fast study, Bush helped save the company from near bankruptcy, riding the firm’s turn-around all the way to a rosewood paneled office, where he served as McKnight’s second in command and chair of 3M’s executive committee.
While he’d built a fortune worth more than $200 million at the time of his death in 1966, Bush himself believed he might have accomplished even more if he’d had time to look up from his desk and take the long view of the business climate and his own career path. “The Bush Fellowship really came from Archie’s own observation that if he’d had a mid-career opportunity to strengthen his skills and refocus, he could have been a more effective leader in the later part of his career,” says Susan Showalter, a 1983 Bush Fellow, who served as a long-time consultant to the Foundation.
“In his own career, Archie Bush saw that great ideas are nothing without the people to power them," says Bush Foundation President Jen Ford Reedy. "And so investing in individuals is one of the things we do that feels most directly tied to his philanthropic lineage.” While every initiative created over the last 50 years, from the first Bush Leadership Fellows Program to the current Native Nation Rebuilders Program, has expanded on Archie Bush’s original aim, Reedy says they’ve all shared the same premise. “Every fellowship we make is a statement of our belief in the power of people to get things done. It’s true that investing in individuals can be a little riskier than funding organizations or ongoing programs, but for us the higher risk means there’s a higher return, too. If you look at the extraordinary people the Foundation has backed over the last 50 years, there’s no question that providing fellowships has given the region a great rate of return.’’