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Bush Foundation names 23 fellows for 2015

The Bush Foundation today announced 23 new fellows for 2015.

The new fellows, from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Indian nations, will get up to $100,000 over one or two years to pursue learning experiences that will make them better leaders.

The foundation says they can use the fellowship “for advanced education, extensive opportunities for networking, and access to leadership resources, workshops and trainings.”

Bush Foundation President Jennifer Ford Reedy said:

“Bush Fellows have a unique opportunity to pursue the knowledge, connections and experiences that they believe are necessary to become more effective leaders. Investing in individual leadership is investing in the future well-being of our region. The extraordinary accomplishments of Fellows over the last 50 years are a testament to that.”

This year’s fellows were selected from 600 applicants; during interviews they “described their vision and passion for transforming their communities, their capacity to be a transformational leader and how a Bush Fellowship would help them achieve their vision and grow their capacity,” the foundation said.

There have been 2,200 Bush Fellows over the years; some notables include former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson and Fond Du Lac Tribal Chairwoman Karen Diver.

The 2015 Bush Fellows are:

  • Jennifer Almanza, Inver Grove Heights, MN — intends to earn her doctorate of nursing practice in midwifery to increase the pool of culturally responsive providers to serve women of color in the metropolitan area.
  • Sarah Bellamy, St. Paul, MN — co-artistic director of Penumbra Theatre Company, will work with innovative leaders to harvest the best thinking on how arts, education and advocacy can work together to create lasting social and economic equity.
  • Natalie Bergquist, Pierre, SD — CEO of Lower Brule Community College will pursue a doctorate in higher education, with a focus on tribal college leadership.
  • Malcom Chapman, Rapid City, SD — a city council member and community volunteer, he will learn how to convene organizations to instigate change on a bigger scale.
  • Laura Connelly, Grand Rapids, MN — will strengthen her leadership skills to be a more effective agent of change for rural families seeking freedom from domestic violence.
  • Matthew Ehlman, Hermosa, SD — has raised millions of dollars for Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation and for other nonprofits through The Numad Group, he will complete a Ph.D. in philanthropic studies to increase his capacity to establish a rural philanthropy institute focused on research and bringing accurate data to decision-making in rural areas.
  • Irene Fernando, Minneapolis, MN — co-executive director at Students Today Leaders Forever, will further her education in the areas of leadership theory, management structures and organizational design.
  • Chris Francis, Madison, SD — an artist, advocate and administrator, will seek a master’s degree that will provide him with the credentials to teach at the college level. 
  • Amelia Franck Meyer, Minneapolis, MN — runs a foster care agency and will improve her strategies for transforming the child welfare system.
  • Elena Gaarder, Minneapolis, MN — wants to build successful alliances and partnerships and increase her knowledge of social enterprise and worker cooperative models that have transformed the economics of communities across the U.S.
  • Latasha Gandy, New Brighton, MN — a leader with Students for Education Reform, will pursue a J.D. and executive leadership training to tackle the opportunity gap in education.
  • John Glover, Spearfish, SD — will seek better understanding of the impact of diversity and inclusion, and improve his nonprofit management skills to enhance his work as professor and higher education leader at Black Hills State University and as CEO of Native Educational Endeavors.
  • R. Scott Gray, Golden Valley, MN —  head of the Minneapolis Urban League, wants to build the skills needed to be a national thought leader on social enterprise. 
  • Trista Harris, Burnsville, MN — president of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, will study futurism and foresight, and learn from forward-thinking leaders at such places as the Oxford Scenarios Program, Silicon Valley and Aspen Institute, to help the philanthropic community prepare for and shape the future.
  • Ty Hegland, Fargo, ND — will explore cooperative models — similar to those used in agriculture and energy — for delivering services to an aging population.
  • Kevin Killer, Pine Ridge, SD —  the youngest Native American ever elected to the South Dakota Legislature, and one of only two tribal members in the state’s House of Representatives, will build leadership skills to inspire and amplify tribal voices in community decision-making and to provide Native communities with an asset-based approach to the future.
  • Eric Mahmoud, Brooklyn Park, MN — founder of the Harvest Network of Schools, will pursue advanced education and training from the country’s most effective educational practitioners and shadow successful educational CEOs from around the country to expand his successful Harvest Network.
  • Adam Perry, Minneapolis, MN — a senior program director at Arts Midwest, will grow his competency in cross-cultural communications and nonprofit management to continue his transition from “operator” to “leader.”
  • Tea Rozman Clark, Minneapolis, MN — formed Green Card Voices, an organization that combats stereotypes by empowering immigrants to tell their stories and will build her nonprofit manager skills to grow Green Card Voices into the largest video library of immigrant stories in the country.
  • Kashif Saroya, Blaine, MN — takes a week of vacation from his position with Ecolab to organize and volunteer at the Muslim Youth of Minnesota’s summer camp, and will pursue an MBA to increase the knowledge and networks he needs to play an executive leadership role in the corporate sector.
  • Ernesto Velez Bustos, Owatonna, MN — executive director of Centro Campesino, will develop a system that inspires a new generation of youth leaders through study and mentorship, transferring what he learns to his community to build the social, economic, political and cultural wealth of Latinos.
  • David Whitesock, Vermillion, SD — works to use “big data” to promote a holistic approach to treating addiction; he will explore ways to help nonprofits measure social impact and to be smarter at applying precious resources toward solving community problems such as addiction.
  • Alex Zeibot, Minneapolis, MN — attended a deaf school in Leningrad, Russia, seeks to develop an effective curriculum that helps deaf children overcome the literacy gap and will earn his Ph.D.

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