The Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grants (Up to $200,000 Grants Available)

The Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grants (Up to $200,000 Grants Available)

Deadline: Rolling Basis

Applications are currently open for the innovation grants! The Community Innovation Grants, from the Bush Foundation, supports communities to use problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable and sustainable solutions. The grants allow communities to develop and test new solutions to community challenges.

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. The foundation encourages individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area and has invested nearly one billion dollars in grants to thousands of organizations and individuals.


  • The Foundation provides grants of $10,000 to $200,000.
  • Grants of $500 to $10,000 are available from intermediary partner organizations such as: Headwaters Foundation for Justice (MN), The Consensus Council (ND) and the South Dakota Community Foundation (SD).


  • Grants must be used for projects located in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.
  • Grants must be used for a charitable purpose and may be awarded to 501(c)(3) public charities or government entities (including schools). Coalitions or collaboratives are eligible to apply, but only one organization may receive the grant.
  • For organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status, the Foundation accepts Community Innovation grant applications from fiscal sponsors. The fiscal sponsor organization must submit the grant application and, if the grant is approved, becomes the grantee and receives the funds.
  • The grant does not prioritize specific issues and instead is open to projects that address all sorts of community needs. Communities can be defined in terms of geographic community, and it could be a community of common interest or racial/cultural identity.
  • At least 50% of Community Innovation grants will be for projects that address racial and/or economic disparities.
  • Applicants’ projects can be at various stages of the innovation process including identifying the need, increasing collective understanding of the issue, generating ideas, or testing and implementing solutions. Proposals can focus on one area or span multiple stages.

Selection Criteria

  • Community Innovation Grant Program Fit
    • Does the project use inclusive, collaborative and resourceful processes to pursue an innovative solution to a community challenge?
    • Is the process likely to lead to a community innovation
  • Implementation
    • Is the project plan thoughtful, realistic and does it address the identified community need?
    • Does the applicant have the capacity to execute the work effectively or have a plan to meet the needed capacity?
  • Impact
    • Is the project likely to make a significant, sustainable difference, now or in the future?
    • Will the project inspire or inform others?
  • Additional Considerations
    • Size of community
    • Size of applicant organization
    • Size of grant request
    • Demographics of communities served
    • Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography

Application Process

 Selection Process 

  • Initial Review: Members of the Community Innovation team will evaluate applications and select finalists on a rolling basis. They will communicate their decision via email approximately six to eight weeks from the date the application is submitted.
  • Finalist Review: A member of the Community Innovation team will schedule a phone call with finalists to discuss the application. Additional information may be requested. The Community Innovation team then makes its final decision and notifies the applicant organization. The entire selection process – from the received date of the application to final decision to award a Community Innovation grant – will take four months. Organizations can expect to receive their grant payment about one month following the final decision.

For more information, view the Information Packet or visit Community Innovation Grants.