The Bush Foundation on Tuesday announced the winners of its 2019 Bush Prize for Community Innovation. Now in its seventh year, the award is given to organizations focused on localized problem solving.
Each of the five 2019 winners—three of which are based in Minnesota—will receive promotional support, materials, and other resources, as well as a grant worth 25 percent of their budgets. In Minnesota, the Hmong American Partnership and the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center will each receive $500,000.
Additionally, the Backus, Minnesota-based Rural Renewable Energy Alliance will net $408,000 from the Bush Foundation.
A panel of three community stakeholders chose the winners from a pool of 81 applicants.
"The 2019 Bush Prize winners exhibit remarkable creativity and tenacity in addressing issues that are most important to their communities," said Bush Foundation president Jennifer Ford Reedy in a news release. "Their problem-solving builds strength not only in their local community but also in the entire region."
Mandy Ellerton, director of the Community Innovation program, added that this year’s winners showed courage.
"They shake loose solutions to seemingly intractable problems by opening themselves up to surprising partnerships, sharing ownership, and bringing together people who don't always agree,” she said. “This method of working takes guts, and our region is better because of [it]."
Based in St. Paul, the Hmong American Partnership (HAP) is a nonprofit addressing the needs of more than 25,000 Hmong immigrants and refugees across the Twin Cities. Its work ranges from refugee resettlement to gang-related violence prevention, workforce development, homeownership assistance, and health and wellness. HAP was awarded a $500,000 grant for a 24-month period of action.
The Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center (MIWRC) is based in Minneapolis and focuses on advocacy and empowering American Indian women and families. MIWRC will receive up to $500,000 for a 12-month term.
Meanwhile, the Backus-based Rural Renewable Energy Alliance will receive up to $408,000 for a year-long term. The organization aims to alleviate energy poverty through solar energy-focused initiatives, tools, and technology.
The remaining winners are Valley City, North Dakota-based Valley City-Barnes County Development Corp. and Brookings, South Dakota-based Wokini Initiative of South Dakota State University. These focus on community development and educational inclusivity, respectively.