Over Half of 2021 Bush Fellows Are Minnesotans
This year’s class of fellows includes 18 Minnesotans. Bush Foundation

Over Half of 2021 Bush Fellows Are Minnesotans

Each recipient will receive up to $100,000 to continue their work, which ranges from tackling racial disparities in education and health care to reshaping how the judicial system handles non-violent crimes.

Minnesotans comprise over half of the 2021 class of Bush Fellows. On Tuesday, the St. Paul-based Bush Foundation unveiled the 24 individuals chosen for its yearly fellowship. Eighteen fellows hail from Minnesota.

“These 24 Fellows are committed to strengthening their capacity to lead large-scale, equitable change,” said Anita Patel, Bush Foundation’s VP of grantmaking, in a press release. “In this time when our region faces reckoning around racial justice sparked by the murder of George Floyd, inequities exposed by Covid-19, and challenges to Native sovereignty, we need leaders who can imagine new systems and transform existing ones. We find inspiration in the vision these Fellows offer our region as they work inside and outside of systems to foster new and just approaches.”

The Bush Fellowship program is open to residents from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations within those areas. The Fellows must be 24 years old or older.

Over the next couple years, each Fellow will receive up to $100,000 to pursue “education and learning opportunities” to help them drive change in their communities. Fellows have the flexibility to use the funding to pursue education, leadership training, networking, or mentorship.

This year’s fellows were chosen from a pool of 538 applicants. The latest list includes TCB 100 honoree Rachel Hardeman.

“The inspiring thing about the Minnesota Fellows is that across diverse backgrounds, identities, sectors, and areas of expertise, they are compelled to take on systems-level change to work toward racial equity,” Patel said. “They all spoke in their applications about why now—at this moment is history—they want to grow their leadership in service to their communities. Their commitment and willingness to put themselves out there, even as they are incredibly busy responding to current needs in their communities, is something we deeply appreciate.”

Here are the 18 Minnesotans that will participate in the Bush Fellowship program:

  • Kahin Adam (Saint Cloud) – educator, community organizer, and the only psychotherapist in St. Cloud specializing in the treatment of patients who have experienced trauma
  • E.G. Bailey (Minneapolis) – filmmaker behind New Neighbors, which was featured at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival
  • John Lee Clark (St. Paul) – leader of a movement to reengineer homes, education, and the arts to build a world where members of the DeafBlind community can live on their own terms
  • Antonio Espinosa (Maplewood) – senior corrections officer at the Stillwater prison, creator of “Art from the Inside,” an initiative that supports people who are incarcerated
  • Sandra Gabriela Filardo (Eden Prairie) – assistant Hennepin County attorney
  • Rachel Renee Hardeman (Golden Valley) – associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and leader of the Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity
  • Salma Hussein (Brooklyn Park) – co-founder of Girls Initiative in Recreation and Leisurely Sport (GIRLS)
  • Guled Ibrahim (St. Louis Park) – City of Minneapolis attorney
  • Nathan Caleb Johnson (Minneapolis) – architect behind the Rondo Commemorative Plaza
  • Naomi Ko (Savage) – creator and star of the Nice TV pilot, which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, founder of the Asian Pacific Islander American MN Film Collective
  • Brian Lozenski (Mounds View) – historian dedicated to eliminating the racial disparities in education
  • Michelle Tran Maryns (Minneapolis) – foreign service officer, led design of the U.S. Department of State’s first-ever mobile app
  • Natalie Nicholson (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation) – former Olympian and world champion curler, nurse and co-leader of the Indigenous Breastfeeding Coalition in Minnesota
  • Dziwe Willard Ntaba (Minneapolis) – physician experienced in global health and emergency medicine at the University of Minnesota’s Medical School
  • Funlola Otukoya (Minneapolis) – investment analyst at the McKnight Foundation seeking to expand venture capital funding for people of color
  • Justin Terrell (Richfield) – head of the Minnesota Justice Research Center
  • Mai Thor (Oak Park Heights) – leader who has helped design more accessible and inclusive systems for people with disabilities
  • Michael Jon Westerhaus (Minneapolis) – doctor dedicated to erasing the state’s health inequities through anti-racism in clinical practices and teaching

To read more about these and other fellows, visit this page.