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Communications Director at
the Bush Foundation

Ballinger | Leafblad is proud to present the following

information on behalf of our client, the Bush Foundation, in its
search for a Communications Director.
presenting our client
Bush Foundation
The Bush Foundation is a private foundation based in St. Paul, Minnesota focused on investing in
great ideas and the people who power them. Established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush
and his wife, Edyth, the Foundation works in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South
Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Learn more about their work at


The Foundation uses its resources financial and otherwise to inspire and support creative
problem solving, within and across sectors, to make our region better for everyone.

The Foundation does this in two primary ways:

1. by supporting people and organizations working on the issues that are most important to
their communities. The primary programs in this area include:
o Communications and Convenings, where the Foundation shares stories of the people
and organizations they invest in, and creates and supports events that inspire, equip and
connect people across the regions served.
o Community Innovation grants and the Bush Prize, where the Foundation supports
organizations who are trying or demonstrating innovative approaches to solving
community problems.
o Leadership Programs, connecting leaders with people and ideas through the Bush
Fellowship Program and Change Network.

2. by advancing specific strategic issues that are a priority to the Foundation through our
strategic initiatives. Their current strategic initiatives include:
o Education Make education more relevant for all students.
o Native Nation Building Strengthen tribal governance.
o Community Creativity - Make art central to problem solving.
o Social Business Ventures Help people do good through business.
In 2013, the Bush Foundation adopted five operating values that guide the way we work. They are:

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

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 overall quality of life while
also closing opportunity and achievement gaps.

Steward Well. We demonstrate appreciation for the Foundations history and thoughtfully build on its
legacy. We hold ourselves to high standards of integrity and accountability and conduct ourselves in a
way that 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.

Equity is central to the Bush Foundations purpose: to inspire and support creative problem solving, within
and across sectors, to make the region better for everyone. Below is the statement that both guides their
work and expresses their aspirations.

Please see for more information on the

Foundations approach to equity and inclusion.


Diversity of thought is a critical ingredient in creativity and innovation. Communities are smarter and
stronger when they draw from a wide variety of experience, perspective and wisdom.
The Bush Foundation is about place a region of three states and 23 Native nations. This regions
future will be defined by how well every person in it does at home, in school, at work and in the
community. This regions future, therefore, depends on institutions and systems that work well for all
people. Too many do not.

This is not just about whether organizations are intentionally excluding or disadvantaging people.
Racism, for example, is not only hateful acts. Racism, can also be embedded in policies and practices
that are well-intended and meant to work for all, but just dont. Organizational failings, big and small,
combine to systemically exclude and disadvantage people. These barriers limit individual opportunity
and limit our collective regional potential.

Every person in our region can impact institutions and systems. Institutions and systems are created and
perpetuated by people. To change institutions and systems is to change the minds and the actions of
people. There is a role for all of us to play.

At the Bush Foundation, we believe that bridging cultural differences and adapting organizations to
work well for everyone are essential skills for leaders to be relevant and effective whatever their
purpose and whatever their politics. These are skills one has to learn and practice.

It is learning about and understanding your own history and context and why you think and act
the way you do. It is learning about and understanding other peoples history and context and
why they think and act the way they do. And it is empathetically adapting to work effectively
across differences.

It is the ability to examine policies and practices to see who may be excluded or disadvantaged by
them, regardless of the intent. And it is the ability to work with those affected by policies and
practices to design and redesign them to work well for everyone.

Within the Bush Foundation, we are working on these skills to bring an equity lens to all we do.

Without a doubt, definitions of and conversations about equity and inclusion have changed since
Archibald Bushs generation. Our stated commitment to uplifting the whole region has not. We have
struggled at times to live up to our aspirations; at times our actions have contributed to social, economic
and racial disparities. Those shortcomings are real opportunities for us to think and act differently about
how we advance equity in our region.

As a charitable foundation, we have a particular obligation to live up to high standards of diversity,

equity and inclusion. We have a power in the issues we raise, the questions we ask, and the people and
organizations we fund. For us to be effective in addressing issues in communities throughout the region,
we must be sensitive to and savvy about differences such as culture, race, income, gender identity,
geography, physical ability, religious belief, or any other difference that is meaningful in understanding
an issue and how it might be addressed. We see equity as part and parcel of excellence. And we are
committed to becoming excellent.

As we work toward being more equitable, we plan to publicly share our successes and setbacks in hopes
we can be useful to others. We do so with humility and recognition that we are and will always be
a work in progress.
The Foundations communications strategy is an essential part of its effort to inspire, equip and
connect people working to make our region better for everyone. As such, communications is much
more than a support function. The Foundation thinks of communications as a program. In addition to
strategic communications work, the team manages event sponsorship grants and produces major
events and convenings. They also play a vital role in lifting up the projects and people the Foundation
has invested in by developing and distributing compelling narratives.

Major projects include:

In 2014, the Foundations annual report was reimagined as an alumni magazine, designed to
showcase the work of and build connections among current and past Bush Fellows and grantees.

In 2014, the Foundation implemented a new, large annual event called bushCONNECT (bushCON for
short) designed in partnership with more than 30 other organizations. This event brings together
leadership hubs from around the region along with Foundation grantees and current and past Bush
Fellows. This strategy has expanded since then to include major events in North Dakota, South
Dakota and Greater Minnesota. In 2017, the Foundation took bushCON on the road, sponsoring
scholarships for more than 200 people from the region so that they could attend premier events like
the Aspen Ideas Festival and Poptech. bushCON will return to the Twin Cities in 2018.

The Communications Director advances the goals of the Bush Foundation by providing strategic
leadership of and daily direction for the Communications Team to assure effective management of
the Bush Foundations communication activities and assets in order to build public understanding of
and promote the Foundations strategy. The Communications team works to maximize the impact of
the Foundations investments by amplifying, linking and promoting the great ideas and people that
weve invested in.

The teams main priorities are:

to refine and maintain the Foundations website
to create and deliver amazing events and materials that introduce and connect leaders in
this region to each other and
to lift up the projects and people that weve invested in through a proactive media relations

This team is one of the three on the Foundations Community Network team -- Communications,
Leadership Programs and Community Innovation -- that share similar goals of inspiring, equipping
and connecting individuals and organizations in the region to effectively lead change.

Provide thought leadership across the Foundation on strategic and tactical communications.
Provide leadership, direction and operational management to the four members of the
Communications team.
Create and continually refine a strategic communications plan that:
o Manages and refines the Bush Foundation brand and other communications assets.
o Maximizes communications channels such as the website, marketing collateral, social
media, etc.
o Engages Bush Fellows and other key allies in the work of the Foundation.
o Utilizes established and new media partnerships.
o Builds networks of individuals and organizations.
o Uses storytelling to capture and share lessons, stories and data related to the Foundations
Play a significant external role, representing the Foundation in the community and influencing
regional dialogue and action.
Implement and direct internal and external communication initiatives, including Foundation
special events and networking convenings.
Maintain positive reactive and proactive media relations.
Direct planning and budgeting for the Communications team.
Work with other program teams to develop, plan and budget for their communications
strategies. Participate in proposal review and selection for grant and fellowship programs
across the Foundation.
Serve as part of Management Team and ensure cross-foundation alignment on strategic
direction and operations.
Actively demonstrate core organizational values in performing all duties.


At least seven years of experience and demonstrated success leading and managing complex
work projects in highly collaborative and dynamic organizations. Supervisory experience is
required, with demonstrated ability to lead a team effectively.
Knowledge of the region, communities and media in the area where the Bush Foundation
works is a plus. Experience working in or with rural/non-metro media partners is especially
High degree of responsiveness and ability to manage multiple projects with tight deadlines.
Persuasive and clear written and verbal communication skills.
Strategic and tactical experience using social media and other communication tools.
Strong relationship-building skills, with experience engaging a broad and varied group of
organizations and people, and comfort working at all levels of organizations in a wide variety
of community and organizational settings.
Demonstrated ability to effectively interact, communicate and collaborate with people from a
wide range of cultural backgrounds.
For more information about this position, please join an informational webinar on Thursday, October 26
from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. central time. Click this link at any time to sign up for the webinar. If
you wish to remain anonymous on the webinar, please sign up as Archibald Bush. A recording of the
webinar will be available at this same link after the webinar airs live.

For additional information and/or to apply for the position please email a cover letter, current resume
and compensation requirements to Lars Leafblad via Review of candidates
will begin immediately.

The Bush Foundation is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer