Organizations to receive inaugural Bush Prize for Community Innovation

(Saint Paul, MN – Dec. 19, 2013) – The Bush Foundation has awarded its first annual Bush Prize for Community Innovation to nine organizations across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.  The Bush Prize honors and supports organizations with a proven record of creating innovative solutions to address community challenges and opportunities. Their innovations must be developed through inclusive, collaborative processes focused on making the most of community assets and must be more effective, equitable or sustainable than existing approaches.

The 2013 Bush Prize winners from South Dakota and the Native nations that share the same geography are:

Behavior Management Systems (Rapid City)The Black Hills region’s largest and most comprehensive provider of community-based behavioral and mental health services, Behavior Management Systems (BMS) helps over 11,000 people of all ages cope with the stresses of life every year. BMS is a leading member of the Black Hills Behavioral Health Collaborative, a coalition of more than 40 organizations established in 2007 to address serious gaps in access to affordable behavioral health services.

Four Bands Community Fund (Eagle Butte)Established in 1998 to address the lack of business development on Cheyenne River, Four Bands Community Fund has earned a reputation for developing innovative approaches to improve the economic status of tribal members. One recent example is “Making Waves,” an initiative that emphasizes the importance of social networks, supports entrepreneurial activities, encourages success stories, and promotes public education campaigns that help youth and adults implement healthy money management into their lives.

Project PRIME: Promoting Reflective Inquiry in Mathematics Education (Spearfish/Rapid City)A partnership of Black Hills State University, Rapid City Area Schools and Technology and Innovation in Education, Project PRIME has worked for over a decade to improve the teaching and learning of K-12 mathematics within Rapid City Area Schools, strengthen teacher preparation at Black Hills State University, and create a vibrant professional learning community across all three organizations.

For more information about each Bush Prize winner visit

Each Bush Prize winner will receive a flexible grant equal to 25 percent of their program’s current fiscal year budget, up to $500,000. The Foundation will also provide grants in the amount of $10,000 to 21 organizations that made it to the final round of the selection process, but did not receive a Bush Prize. In all, the Bush Foundation will award more than $3.5 million through the Bush Prize program.

“The collective record of accomplishment of the Bush Prize winners is a testament to what can be achieved by intentionally, thoughtfully and continuously engaging the community in the problem-solving process. Each organization has established a culture of innovation that has led to positive impact in their community,” said Bush Foundation President Jennifer Ford Reedy. “The Bush Prize not only provides the winners with resources to support their work, our hope is that it also inspires others to think differently about how to approach problem-solving in their community.”

“When it comes to community innovation, we believe process matters. The best way to achieve innovation is by involving the community every step of the way,” said Molly Matheson Gruen, the Bush Foundation’s community innovation manager. “It was heartening to see so many organizations and communities across the region that are working to improve quality of life for their citizens in a way that ensures all voices are heard and that the solutions will endure.”

The Bush Foundation received nearly 300 applications for the inaugural Bush Prize. Winners were selected by advisory committees made up of community representatives from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The Bush Prize, together with the Community Innovation Grant Program, is part of the Bush Foundation’s effort to enable, inspire and reward community innovation. Community Innovation Grants support organizations working to create or implement an innovative solution to address a community need or opportunity. The Bush Prize and Community Innovation Grant program are open to all 501(c)3s and government agencies operating within the region served by the Bush Foundation. The Community Innovation Grant program will open a new application period in January 2014. The Foundation will begin accepting applications for the 2014 Bush Prize in April.


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