Bush Foundation exec Duchesne Drew offers insight on their $900M endowment

Duchesne Drew (Photo Courtesy: Bush Foundation)

As the community network vice president for the Bush Foundation, Duchesne Drew oversees and integrates the work of three teams: communications, community innovation, and leadership programs. He shares, “A key part of my role is building partnerships with related organizations and leaders as well as helping to link and grow a diverse mix of networks across the region. My teams’ key programs include The Bush Fellowship Program, Ecosystem Grants, Community Innovation Grants, The Bush Prize for Community Innovation and bushCONNECT.”

Drew was prepared to serve in this role because as a 25-year veteran in journalism, he worked as a reporter, editor and newsroom manager who worked at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Dallas Morning News, as well as served on numerous boards and in other volunteer roles in the community.

He adds, “I love being able to apply the skills, insights and community connections I developed as a journalist to philanthropy.”

Read what else he has to say.

As community network vice president, what is your commitment to the community?
I’m committed to listening to people’s plans for themselves and their communities and to helping them understand if the Bush Foundation might be a resource for them. I want to make sure that people across our region – Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography – are aware of and feel meaningfully invited to apply for our fellowship program and grants when they see alignment between their work and our grantmaking priorities. And, I try to help them understand when we aren’t a good fit. My first job out of college was in fundraising. I don’t want busy people to waste their time climbing the wrong tree.

What would you say are your/the foundations top three to five commitments to the community?
We strive to:
-spread optimism and to encourage leaders to think bigger and think differently about what’s possible;
-collaborate with others and share what we’re learning so we can have a greater impact;
-advance excellence and equity internally and in the community;
-operate with integrity and accountability; and
-engage in continuous improvement so we can be more impactful.

How important are diversity and inclusion to the Bush Foundation?
Diversity, inclusion, and equity are core to our values. They shape our internal culture and drive much of our external work. It’s not just lip service, it shows in the grants we make, the partnerships we form and the stories of success that we promote.

In what ways does the Foundation implement diversity and inclusion?
We are committed to growing in this space individually and collectively and to advancing diversity, inclusion, and equity across the region. For starters, our staff is incredibly diverse. About half of our 40 staff members are Indigenous or people of color and we are diverse in many ways beyond race and ethnicity. More importantly, we bake being more inclusive and equitable into our staff professional development goals and into the grantmaking we do. This is a priority and an area where we are committed to growing.

The Bush Foundation has a mantra – “Think bigger. Think Differently.” How do you communicate and apply this?
We really want people, organizations, and communities to push past the standard and obvious approaches and answers. We encourage our applicants to consider what they could accomplish if they really pushed themselves. For our Fellowship applicants, we stress investing in their own personal growth as leaders over simply completing a particular project. And, for Community Innovation applicants (Bush Prize applicants), we stress the value of engaging in processes that are truly inclusive, collaborative and resourceful. We want our grantees to be intentional about which voices shape their work.

Is it applicable to your personal life?
Yes. We’re all a work in progress. I strive to be a good, and increasingly better, husband, father, son, brother, friend and community member. I strive to be what the people around me deserve from me.

As an executive with Bush Foundation, husband, and father, how do you balance work and life?
I don’t know that I’d call it balance, but I try to be truly present wherever I am. When I’m at the office, I’m taking care of business. And when at I’m home, I’m taking care of my family. Whether I’m throwing a baseball with my son, going for a bike ride with my daughter or a walk with my wife, I try to make the most of that time. There’s never enough of it.

Finish the sentence:
Teamwork is important because…it’s how we arrive at the best ideas and outcomes.

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and people because…great ideas don’t come to fruition without great people to drive them.

Name three business leaders and political leaders who inspire you.
Barack Obama
Oprah Winfrey
Jeff Bezos

Name five things people should know about The Bush Foundation.
We were founded by Archibald G. Bush, a longtime 3M executive, and his wife Edyth.
We were founded in 1953 and will celebrate our 65th anniversary this year.
We don’t raise money because our grantmaking is entirely funded by our endowment, which is more than $900 million.
Our 2018 payout will be more than $47 million.

Roughly half of our grantmaking goes to support people’s ideas for themselves or their communities and about half goes to support one of four strategic initiatives, which are focused on:

COMMUNITY CREATIVITY – Making art central to problem-solving;

EDUCATION – Making education more relevant for all students;

NATION BUILDING AND GOVERNMENT REDESIGN – Strengthening tribal governance and helping state and local governments be more responsive; and

SOCIAL BUSINESS VENTURES – Helping people do good through business.

Name five things people should know about Duchesne Drew
I’m a Brooklyn native.
I moved to the Twin Cities in 1993 to report for the Star Tribune.
I’m married to Angela Davis, a reporter and anchor at WCCO-TV.
I love biking, especially along our many rivers and lakes.
My mother pronounces my first name “DuShawn.”

Rolling Out
Rolling Out

I aim a razor sharp, panoramic lens on popular culture and dissect it for our network of curious, aspirational, savvy and eccentric enthusiasts. I have the strength of an eagle and soul of a phoenix. #IAmRollingOut.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Join Our Newsletter

Get the latest news from Rolling Out.