Community Innovation Program Manager (BF)

We’re seeking an intellectually curious, highly analytical professional with great interpersonal skills to join the Bush Foundation’s Community Innovation team. We are a collaborative and curious bunch of people who are passionate about learning, equity and making the most impact we can in this vast and varied region. If you have these skills and share these interests, please consider applying!


The Bush Foundation is a private foundation based in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Foundation was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth. Today, we invest in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the geography. We work to inspire and support creative problem solving — within and across sectors — to make our region better for everyone. You can learn more about us at, including our perspective on equity:

This position is part of the six-person Community Innovation (CI) team. The CI team inspires and supports community problem solving through two programs — Community Innovation Grants and the Bush  Prize   for Community Innovation. Through these programs, the CI team provides encouragement, support and resources to communities striving to solve problems throughout the region.

Job Purpose

The CI Program Manager will be responsible for actively sourcing and cultivating grant proposals from people all over the region and providing coaching and support to grantees. They will also provide some day-to-day leadership for key elements of the CI team’s programs. The specific responsibilities for this CI Program Manager will vary based on the qualifications and experience of the successful candidate and the other team members.

Core Responsibilities

  • Cultivate and source strong grant proposals across the region, by:
    • Building relationships with people and organizations from a wide variety of communities and on a wide variety of issues.
    • Presenting information about the Community Innovation programs and community problem- solving concepts.
    • Identifying promising applicants and helping them strengthen their proposals and navigate the Community Innovation selection processes.
  • Review and select grant proposals to receive funding, applying program criteria, using independent judgment and working closely with other team members.

  • Provide feedback and coaching to declined applicants, in particular to those projects that show great promise.

  • Provide coaching and support to grantees in order to bolster their problem-solving efforts.

  • Demonstrate content expertise on collaborative problem solving and community engagement practices in both internal and external settings.

  • Review, develop, implement and improve team workflows and projects. Work with staff across the Foundation to ensure strategic and operational coordination between programs and teams.

  • Contribute to cross-foundation work and learning that advances the Foundation’s overall strategic goals. This would include activities like participating in ad hoc work teams, equity projects, strategic initiative work and organization-wide workshops and committees.

  • Actively demonstrate core organizational values in performing all duties.

Key Characteristics and Qualifications

  • At least five years’ experience in public, nonprofit or related private sector field (including consulting and coaching). Experience with collaborative problem solving and community engagement is a plus.
  • Experience with grantmaking, either as a funder or a grant recipient, or experience with similar activities such as proposal review, developing and presenting recommendations would be a plus.
  • Track record of curiosity and familiarity with a wide array of issues and current events. Knowledge of communities in the region is a plus.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent critical analysis skills and ability to convey complex, nuanced analysis both verbally and through concise, clear writing.
  • Demonstrated success at building and maintaining relationships and working collaboratively AND demonstrated ability to exercise independent judgment and move forward with minimum direction. This person needs to be comfortable and skilled at working both ways.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively interact, communicate and collaborate with people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple priorities concurrently and effectively, and to lead projects in a collaborative manner.

Reports to: Mandy Ellerton, Community Innovation Director

Classification: Exempt

Working conditions: General office environment. Some travel is required, up to 25%. Periodic adjustments to work schedule may be necessary.

Our Values

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.

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.

Two Ways To Apply

  • Send a cover letter and resume to; must include “CI Program Manager” in the subject
  • Mail a cover letter and resume to Gao Lee - Talent Development Team, Re: CI Program Manager, Bush Foundation, 101 Fifth Street East, Suite 2400, St. Paul, MN 55101

Please apply by noon Central time on Friday, February 22 to ensure that your application be given priority consideration. Your application may not be considered if you apply after this date.

The Bush Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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