The eight community activists, all of whom hail from Minnesota, North Dakota, or South Dakota, will receive grants ranging from $25,000 to $75,000 over the first two years of a four-year commitment of service to tackle a specific social or economic problem in their communities. The fellows will use a variety of methods to advance their projects, which include improving educational outcomes by creating better access to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) resources; resurrecting a traditional Native American ceremony to help improve mental health among Native American residents of the region; providing a support system for people with chronic illness or disability or who are aging; and working toward a comprehensive statewide service model for sexually exploited youth.
In order to provide greater flexibility to those interested in applying for a Bush Fellowship, the foundation recently decided to offer several application periods throughout the year.
"For nearly fifty years the foundation has pursued leadership development as a strategy because it brings about such powerful outcomes — our investment in developing one person's leadership capacity flows out to have a direct impact on the broader community," said the program's manager, Martha Lee. "As we've seen in years past, these newest Bush Fellows are starting conversations within their communities about needed change and are persevering through the inevitable conflicts that are part of citizens adapting together to their shared future."
For a complete list of the first group of 2012 Bush Fellows, visit the Bush Foundation Web site.