Communications Director (BF)


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:
  • 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.
  • Community Innovation grants and the Bush Prize, where the Foundation supports organizations who are trying or demonstrating innovative approaches to solving community problems.
  • 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:
  • Education – Make education more relevant for all students.
  • Native Nation Building – Strengthen tribal governance.
  • Community Creativity - Make art central to problem solving.
  • 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 others.

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 Foundation’s 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 Foundation’s 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 Foundation’s 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 region’s future will be defined by how well every person in it does — at home, in school, at work and in the community. This region’s 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 don’t. 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 people’s 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 Bush’s 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 Foundation’s 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 Foundation’s 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 Foundation’s communication activities and assets in order to build public understanding of and promote the Foundation’s strategy. The Communications team works to maximize the impact of the Foundation’s investments by amplifying, linking and promoting the great ideas and people that we’ve invested in.

The team’s main priorities are:

  • to refine and maintain the Foundation’s 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 we’ve invested in through a proactive media relations strategy. 

This team is one of the three on the Foundation’s 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:
    • Manages and refines the Bush Foundation brand and other communications assets.
    • Maximizes communications channels such as the website, marketing collateral, social media, etc.
    • Engages Bush Fellows and other key allies in the work of the Foundation.
    • Utilizes established and new media partnerships.
    • Builds networks of individuals and organizations.
    • Uses storytelling to capture and share lessons, stories and data related to the Foundation’s work.
    • 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 useful. 
  • 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.

To Apply:

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

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