Bush Foundation Accepting Proposals for Cohort 2 Community Creativity Operating Partner

The Bush Foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota, is accepting proposals from potential operating partners for Cohort 2 of its Community Creativity program. The operating partner will be responsible for supporting grantees, coordinating capacity-building support, building a peer network among members of the cohort, planning and executing annual all-cohort convenings, and managing communication with grantees.

Community Creativity is a participant-led capacity-building program that supports organizations working to make art and culture central to problem solving on more issues, in more communities, and across more sectors in the foundation’s service region of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the twenty-three Native nations that share the same geography. After an open application process, the foundation invited forty organizations to be members of Cohort 2, which is expected to conclude by the end of 2021. All forty organizations are led by and serve communities of color/Indigenous communities and/or rural communities.

As a participant-led effort, the members of Cohort 2 identify the types of capacity-building support they want and need. This approach is grounded in the belief that the organizations are in the best position to identify what they need to improve their work (though they sometimes may need someone from outside their organization to ask them some questions or provide ideas and resources they may not be aware of). The foundation’s hope is that each organization will make progress toward increasing their positive impact by more deeply integrating art and culture in problem solving.

To help evaluate its progress, the foundation is working with a developmental evaluation consultant, TerraLuna Collaborative, that is embedded throughout the program. The operating partner will be expected to work closely with TerraLuna, providing information to them and making course corrections based on feedback provided by TerraLuna and the foundation, as needed.

The operating partner will be responsible for supporting grantees; coordinating capacity-building supports; building a peer network/community of practice among cohort members; planning and executing annual cohort convenings; and managing communication with grantees. 

The operating partner will need to have strong financial management, contracting, project management, event planning, and communication capacity; the ability to provide technical assistance to organizations with varying capacity-building needs; the cultural agility to work with organizations led by people of color, Indigenous people; and people working in rural communities; and a deep understanding of the role of art and culture in community problem solving.

The foundation is open to proposals from partnerships of more than one organization. If organizations choose to apply as a partnership, they must identify the primary organization (i.e., grant recipient) responsible for subcontracting with other partners, reporting to the foundation, and ensuring all work is completed.

The foundation envisions committing up to $1.75 million from 2019-21 to support members of Cohort 2, including funds for the operating partner's services. At least $1 million will be dedicated to capacity-building support for cohort members. Some of that support may be provided directly by the operating partner, while other supports are expected to be provided by subcontractors selected and managed by the operating partner. The remaining funds, up to $750,000, will be allocated for cohort convenings in 2020 and 2021 and for direct costs of the operating partner.

Proposals will be accepted from both 501(c)(3) public charities, government entities, and other types of businesses. Applicants do not need to be in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, or one of the twenty-three Native nations that share the same geography, but preference will be given to applicants with experience working in the region.

Organizations interested in this opportunity are encouraged to participate in an informational webinar from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. CT on Monday, March 25. To register for the webinar, visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8145731192156376332.

Proposals of no more than ten total pages should be submitted by noon on Thursday, April 11, 2019.  

Bush Foundation staff will review all proposals and select finalists. Finalists will be notified by the end of April and may be asked to meet with foundation staff either in-person or by video conference at that time. Final selection is expected by the end of May, and the foundation hopes to have the operating partner under contract before June 2019.

For complete program details and application instructions, see the Bush Foundation website.

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Deadline: April 11, 2019