Grant Making Director, Bush Foundation

The Organization


kp prime search, the retained search division of kpCompanies, is leading the search for two Grantmaking Directors at the Bush Foundation: Grantmaking Director with strategic leadership responsibility for the Bush Fellowship Program and Grantmaking Director with strategic leadership responsibility for the Community Innovation Program.

Both roles call for a strategic and operational leader who can make a big impact across the Bush Foundation’s region of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Both positions represent an exceptional opportunity for forward-thinking leaders who are community-centric and eager to think big about all the ways that philanthropy can drive systems change. The ideal candidates thrive within a complex and dynamic environment, are adept at applying equity principles, and demonstrate openness and adaptability to effectively lead and support changes in external strategy and internal practices and processes.

Additionally, we will be looking for candidates who demonstrate alignment with and excitement for the Foundation’s operating values. These exempt positions report to the Vice President of Grantmaking and have no direct reports but have significant organization-wide responsibility for leading teams and work towards successful outcomes.


The Bush Foundation is a private foundation based in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, and is focused on investing in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. The specific programs and tactics have changed and evolved since the Foundation was founded but the work has always been rooted in supporting the ideas and people who are working to find solutions to the unique issues within their communities. As the programs continue to evolve, the emphasis remains on encouraging the region’s leaders to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in their communities.

The global pandemic, racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd and the economic downturn have had a profound impact on the Foundation’s work and accelerated implementation of strategic changes that were already underway. To support the strategic changes, the Foundation has also transitioned towards an integrated grantmaking structure with all grant programs combined into a single grantmaking team that partners closely with an integrated program operations team.

For more information about the Bush Foundation, please visit www.bushfoundation.org.

The Bush Foundation’s operating values are core to both the way they operate and the strategies they pursue:

  • Spread Optimism. We encourage individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible. We are positive and supportive in our internal and external interactions.
  • Work Beyond Ourselves. We actively seek opportunities to work in true collaboration with others to have more impact. We are willing to both lead and follow. We candidly share what we learn with others.
  • Everybody Matters. We are a champion for both excellence and equity inside and out of the Foundation. We have fair, open and inclusive processes. We work to raise the overall quality of life while also closing opportunity and achievement gaps.
  • Steward Well. We demonstrate appreciation for the Foundation’s history and thoughtfully build on its legacy. We hold ourselves to high standards of integrity and accountability and conduct ourselves in a way we hope would make our founders proud.
  • More Good. Every Year. We are a true learning organization and work to be smarter and more effective every year. We never lose sight of the reason we exist: to do the most possible good with the resources left to the community by Archibald G. Bush.

Position Overview


Each Grantmaking Director provides strategic and operational leadership for the Foundation’s grantmaking programs. The strategy move towards more integrated programming is mirrored in how the Directors work together as part of an integrated and collaborative team that shares leadership and accountability with other Grantmaking staff and Program Operations. They will join a strong team of two other Grantmaking Directors (one with a focus on Ecosystem grants and Program-Related Investments and one with a focus on Native nations), five Grantmaking Officers, a Grantmaking Coordinator and the Vice President of Grantmaking, and partner closely with the Program Operations Director, Program Operations Officers and other staff throughout the Foundation.

All the Grantmaking Directors will be deeply involved in making sure that program-specific strategies and decisions align with and reflect organization-wide grantmaking goals. The core of these roles is to ensure that the programs are implemented with a consistently high standard of accessibility, equity, effective and efficient process, positive communications and supportive interactions with applicants. Here, we provide qualities specific to the individual positions as well as responsibilities and qualifications for the Grantmaking Director roles overall.

1. Grantmaking Director, Bush Fellowship Program

About the Program: The Bush Fellowship is awarded to up to 24 people every year, recognizing both the extraordinary accomplishments and support for the potential of these individuals. The Fellowship is an investment in people so that they can make a large-scale difference in their communities. The Fellowship is a flexible grant of up to $100,000 to help people strengthen and develop their leadership. Each Fellow defines their own vision and creates a unique Fellowship plan to develop the skills and build the relationships that will help make their vision a reality. Learn more about the Bush Fellowship Program here: https://www.bushfoundation.org/bush-fellowship.

This Grantmaking Director provides strategic and day-to-day leadership for the Bush Fellowship Program (BFP), in addition to serving as an active resource and leader on all of the Foundation’s other funding opportunities.

· We are seeking a leader of leaders. We are looking for someone who has a track record of community leadership themselves and deep experience coaching other leaders to catalyze individual, organizational and systems-level change.

· We’re looking for someone who is excited and experienced at spotting and supporting potential and established leadership in a wide variety of contexts. This would be demonstrated through experience mentoring, coaching, training and actively working with people – peers, partners, direct reports, coworkers – to further their leadership potential.

· This person will have understanding and experience of what it takes to drive systems-level change and derives joy from working with others to do the same.

· This person will have an understanding of the field of leadership development (broadly defined) and demonstrated experience networking and collaborating with others to lead change within the field.

· We’re looking for someone who can assess a full landscape of possibilities and possesses the vision and decision-making fortitude to look for highest impact candidates for the Fellowship and other Foundation programs.

2. Grantmaking Director, Community Innovation Program

About the Program: Community Innovation grants invest in great ideas and the people who power them. They support organizations coming together to solve community challenges, and efforts that help people lead in strong, equitable and connected ways. These grants are flexible in a lot of ways. They can be used to develop new ideas, test ones organizations already imagined or spread proven ideas for more impact. Community Innovation grants are meant to be transformation capital. They are an investment in an equitable future where every person has the opportunities and the support they need to thrive. Learn more about the Community Innovation Program here: https://www.bushfoundation.org/community-innovation-grants.

This Grantmaking Director provides strategic and day-to-day leadership for the Community Innovation (CI) Program, in addition to serving as an active resource and leader on all of the Foundation’s other funding opportunities.

· We’re looking for someone who is enthusiastic and experienced at spotting and supporting opportunities where transformative social and community change can happen. This would be demonstrated through experience developing or advancing community partnerships, cross-sector collaborations, funding partnerships, collaboratives or other similar initiatives.

· We are seeking someone who knows how change happens in complex systems and across sectors and can help people and groups imagine how to spread great ideas.

· We are looking for someone who can understand both the most pressing current and emergent issues throughout the region, the dynamics and players involved in addressing those issues, and knows philanthropy well enough to figure out what role philanthropy can play to make a difference.

· In a region filled with great ideas, we are searching for someone who can decipher the highest impact, most transformational ideas and help others to do the same.


  • Lead and manage strategy and vision for the program they lead, centering and applying equity in how and what we do.
  • Oversee relationship management for the program they lead, and dependent on the role, develop and maintain relationships with grantees, past, active, and potential Fellows.
  • Ensure strategy coherence and alignment with other grantmaking strategies at the Foundation.
  • Review and select grantees across grant programs, working closely with Grantmaking Officers, other Grantmaking Directors and cross-Foundation teams.
  • Partner with Program Operations staff to design and deliver effective selection process and high-quality programming and support.
  • Source and develop potential major investments, working closely with other staff members and the Bush Foundation’s board to review and analyze potential opportunities for risk and impact.
  • Represent the Foundation externally by actively participating in and contributing to community discussions and activities, including providing issue leadership or support in priority areas as needed.



· Experience and demonstrated success – likely to be at least 7 years – in building and maintaining strategic partnerships with external and community stakeholders in a similar role or organization.

· Enthusiasm for working in a collaborative work setting where shared decision-making and joint problem-solving is the norm.

· Proven ability to recognize and support transformational ideas and strategies that will drive systemic disruption, equity and change.

· Significant experience leading complex work projects, including motivating and inspiring top performance from colleagues who are not direct reports.

· Knowledge of the region, communities and issues in the region the Bush Foundation serves.

· Experience in representing an organization in external partnerships, collaborative efforts successfully managing expectations, building trust and moving collaborative work forward.

· Concrete examples of strong relationship-building over time with a broad and varied group of people across communities and at all organizational levels.


· An established network of community and cross-sector partners.

· Experience working throughout the Bush Foundation funding region, particularly with rural/non-metro communities.

· Experience as a funder and familiarity with power dynamics of being in a role such as this.

· Experience making and presenting recommendations to committees and boards.


Candidates must currently live in or be willing to move to the Bush Foundation region – Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Most staff live in either Minneapolis or St. Paul, Minnesota or its surrounding suburbs. Foundation staff are currently working remotely with discussions underway about how and when to re-open the Foundation’s office space in St. Paul, Minnesota.

When travel is safe again, some travel will be required (up to 25% with significant flexibility), mostly in the region served by the Bush Foundation.


You can learn more about both of these positions by watching the recording of the Bush Foundation’s informational webinar (https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=W1nWONlQs-8), held on July 22, 2021. The Foundation embeds simplicity and equity in its approach to compensation.

Salaries are ties to external benchmarks and regularly reviewed to make sure that employee contributions are fairly valued and that Foundation pay is competitive in attracting talented people.  All employees doing the same jobs are paid at the same rate, regardless of tenure or experience to avoid embedding disparities in the pay structure.



(All submissions received in strictest confidence.)

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume no later than 9:00pm Central Time on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. You can apply in the following ways:

1. Apply via email Joelle Allen at joelle@kpcompanies.com.

2. Apply on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/2646024721/?capColoOverride=true

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