(St. Paul, Minn) — The Bush Foundation Is Committing $100 Million In New Funding To Seed Two Community Trust Funds To Directly Support Wealth Building For Black And Native Communities In Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota And The 23 Native Nations That Share The Same Geography. This Funding Commitment Is Above And Beyond The Foundation’s Regular Grantmaking.
The Foundation Will Seek One Or Two Steward Organizations To Receive The Funds And Design And Operate Grant Programs To Distribute The $100 Million. The Grant Programs Are Intended To Serve Individuals Who Need A Financial Boost To Access Wealth-Building Opportunities Such As Education, Homeownership And Entrepreneurship.
“Our Purpose Is To Make Our Region Better For Everyone, And We Believe That Addressing Racial Wealth Gaps Is One Of The Most Important Things We Can Do For Our Region,” Said Bush Foundation Grantmaking Director Jackie Statum Allen, Who Is Co-Leading The Initiative With Fellow Grantmaking Director Eileen Briggs. “We Are Committing These Funds In A Reparative And Restorative Spirit. This Is Not Reparations — That Is A Much Bigger Concept — But We Do Think Of It As Reparative Action. We Are Excited To See Other Institutions Pledging To Do More To Address Racial Wealth Gaps And Are Eager To Complement Those Efforts And Encourage More Action.”
The Foundation’s Commitment Is An Effort To Address Racial Wealth Gaps That Reflect The Impacts Of The Taking Of Land, Slavery, And Other Race-Based Policies Throughout U.S. History. In 2019, The Median Black Household In The U.S. Had 13 Cents Of Wealth For Every $1 Of Wealth Of The Typical White Household. As Of 2000 (The Last Year Native American Wealth Was Measured Systematically), The Typical Native American Household Had 8 Cents Of Wealth For Every $1 Owned By White American Households.
“Current Racial Wealth Gaps Are The Result Of Generations Of Unjust Policies Targeting Native And Black Communities,” Said Briggs. “There Are Direct Through Lines From Broken Treaties To Unemployment Rates, From Indian Boarding Schools To High School Dropout Rates, From Slavery To Incarceration Rates, And From Redlining To Homeownership Rates.”
Briggs Notes That Wealth Gaps Are Generational And Impact Entire Communities. “Having Money To Pay For College Or Make A Down Payment On A House Significantly Affects Your Ability To Build A Strong Family And Help Your Community. These Trust Funds Are Intended To Be A Community Resource To Support Opportunities Like Education And Home Ownership.”
The Decision To Seek Steward Organizations To Receive The Funds And Design And Manage The Grant Programs Was An Important Choice, Allen Said. “We Think It’s Imperative That These Funds Be Stewarded By Organizations That Have Deep Understanding Of And Connection To The Communities They Will Serve.”
Stewarding Organizations Will Be Selected By The End Of 2021. An Informational Webinar For Potential Stewarding Organizations Will Be Held Tuesday, April 20, At 2 Pm (Cdt). Interested Organizations Are Encouraged To Learn More, Register For The Webinar And Apply At Www.Bushfoundation.Org/Stewardsearch.
The Foundation Issued $100 Million In Social Impact Bonds In Fall 2020 To Finance The Community Trust Funds. “Racial Wealth Gaps Are Profound And Persistent,” Said Jennifer Ford Reedy, Bush Foundation President. “It Is Clear That Eliminating Them Will Require Greater Commitment Than We And Others Have Made In The Past. We Are Ready To Do More, And We Hope Others Are Motivated To Invest In And Grow These Community Trust Funds.”
In Addition To The $100 Million In New Funding, The Foundation Will Also Direct $50 Million Through Its Regular Grantmaking Programs Over The Next Five Years To Support Community-Driven Approaches That Address Racial Wealth Gaps Within And Across Cultural Communities.