Foundation Targets $100 Million at Wealth Gaps

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The Bush Foundation will seed two community trust funds with $100 million to address wealth disparities caused by “historic racial injustice” and commit $50 million through regular grantmaking programs to address “systemic issues that perpetuate racial wealth gaps.”

The St. Paul, Minn.-based foundation will directly invest in Black and Native American communities across its region through grants to individuals in an effort to build stability and generational wealth by “improving access to opportunities such as education, homeownership and entrepreneurship.”

The Bush Foundation was established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edythe. The foundation, led by president Jennifer Ford Reedy since 2012, invests in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and 23 Native nations.

The foundation’s estimated payout for 2020 was $50 million with a targeted payout for 2021 of $49.8 million, according to foundation leaders. The long-term payout strategy is to continue to meet or exceed the required IRS minimum 5% payout over time. The foundations reported assets of $969.6 million on the most recent federal Form 990.

“These community trust funds are about investing in people’s dreams. As Native and Black women, we come from communities that know plenty about the power of dreams and prayers for future generations,” Jackie Statum Allen and Eileen Briggs, grantmaking directors, said in a message posted on the foundation’s website. “It is easier to build wealth when your family already has wealth. Our communities have had many unjust hurdles to clear in order to access the things that can build stability and generational wealth, like homeownership and starting businesses. The purpose of these community trust funds is to remove some of those obstacles,” they wrote.

The foundation will seek one or two steward organizations to hold the community trust funds and design and manage all the details of the grant programs on behalf of the communities.

“We know this is just one effort in the movement to eradicate racial disparities and build a more equitable future, but we hope it will be transformational for the individuals and families reaching for their dreams.”