Bush Prize: South Dakota | South Dakota Community Foundation

Bush Prize: South Dakota

In partnership with the South Dakota Community Foundation and the Bush Foundation

Announcing the 2023 Bush Prize: South Dakota winners: Black Hills Special Services Cooperative and Lost&Found! Click this link for the full announcement.

The Bush Prize award celebrates organizations that are highly valued within their communities and have a track record of successful community problem solving.

Bush Prize: South Dakota grants are flexible and can be used to build up reserves or test that next big idea or whatever else would best support the organization's ongoing good work. Winners receive a package of recognition, including a flexible grant of 25 percent of the organization’s last fiscal year expenses, up to $500,000.

The Bush Prize: South Dakota is done in partnership between the Bush Foundation and the South Dakota Community Foundation.

The South Dakota Community Foundation will select and announce the Bush Prize winners, as well as provide any support along the way.

2024 Bush Prize Timeline

  • Bush Prize awards must be used for a charitable purpose.
  • Organizations that are 501(c)(3) public charities or government entities (including schools) are eligible for the Bush Prize.
  • SDCF will accept Bush Prize applications from fiscal sponsors. The fiscal sponsor organization must submit the award application and, if the award is approved, becomes the awardee and receives the funds.
  • Prize winners must be located in South Dakota or one of the 9 Native nations that share the same geography. The specific community innovations highlighted in the Bush Prize application must also have occurred within that geography.
  • Organizations that have received a Bush Prize in the last 10 years are not eligible to apply.

1. Does the organization have a pattern of innovative solutions?

  • Are these breakthroughs in addressing community needs more effective, equitable or sustainable than existing approaches?
  • Did these innovative solutions make a significant difference?
  • Could the organization inspire or inform others?

2. Does the organization have a pattern of using inclusive, collaborative and resourceful processes?

  • Inclusive: meaningfully engaging key stakeholders, thoughtfully identifying those needed to create the intended change and, whenever possible, including those directly affected by the problem.
  • Collaborative: a true joint effort, with partners willing to share ownership and decision-making as they pursue an innovation together.
  • Resourceful: using existing resources and assets creatively to make the most of what a community already has.

3. Does the organizational leadership foster a culture of innovation?

  • Is the organization stable and strong in terms of governance and finance?

Additional Considerations

Over time we seek a portfolio of Bush Prize winners that represents the full diversity of South Dakota, and includes a variety of:

  • Applicant organization sizes
  • Communities served (both in terms of size and demographics)
  • Types of issues addressed

We also seek representation of community-led organizations—organizations that are led by people who come from the communities they serve.

Applications for the 2024 Bush Prize: South Dakota will open on April 1st. The deadline for Bush Prize: South Dakota applications is Friday, May 31st at 12 p.m. Central Time/11 a.m. Mountain Time. Due to the competitive nature of the program, SDCF will not accept late applications.

Ready to apply for the Bush Prize: South Dakota?

Follow these steps to complete your application.

1. If you have not already done so, please click here to view our 2024 information packet to learn more about the Bush Prize: South Dakota application questions and to view frequently asked questions. It will show you what information you will need to apply.

2. Use our online grant portal eGrant to start and complete your application. If you have not used eGrant before, you'll need to register for an account. The URL for eGrant is: https://sdcommunityfoundation.egrant.net/

3. Within eGrant, navigate to Applicant>Opportunities and select the "Bush Prize: South Dakota" opportunity and complete the application. Note: The option to complete the Bush Prize: South Dakota application will not appear until applications open on April 1st.

4. Save often. Once you've started an application, the draft will save under Applicant>Drafts on the homepage of your account.

5. Submit your application before the deadline. SDCF will only consider applications submitted before the deadline.


Applications for the 2024 Bush Prize: South Dakota will open on April 1st. The deadline for Bush Prize: South Dakota applications is Friday, May 31st at 12 p.m. Central Time/11 a.m. Mountain Time. Due to the competitive nature of the program, SDCF will not accept late applications.

Initial Review. SDCF will conduct an initial review of applications and select finalists. We will let you know in July whether your application is moving forward.

Finalist Review. SDCF will conduct site visits and review references in July and August.

A panel of community leaders will review and recommend Bush Prize winners from the South Dakota applicant pool.

It is important to us that our processes are fair. If any of our selection committee members have a conflict of interest with an organization being considered for the Bush Prize, they will not be a part of any selection discussion or decisions for that year. The Foundation defines “conflict of interest” as being a staff or board member of or having a contractual relationship with an organization.

We will let finalists know in September whether they have been selected as a 2024 Bush Prize: South Dakota winner.

SDCF will make a public announcement of the selection panel's decision in October.

All selections are based on program eligibility requirements and criteria.

2023 Bush Prize: South Dakota Winners

Bush Prize: South Dakota is a new iteration of what was previously known as the Bush Prize For Community Innovation. Below are previous winners of the Bush Prize for Community Innovation for the South Dakota region. A full list of past Bush Prize winners is available on the Bush Foundation website.

If the embedded video doesn't load, click here to view the Bush Prize: South Dakota Information Session that was held on May 15, 2023, on YouTube.

Click here to view the presentation from the meeting held on February 21, 2024. - which includes highlights of Bush Prize: South Dakota 2023 winners and considerations.

SDCF was unable to retain an audio/video recording of this meeting. Please reach out with any questions.

Have questions?

Contact our Grants Team Below

Ginger Niemann

Senior Program Officer

Since 1998, Ginger has been a member of the South Dakota Community Foundation team. Nearly a decade of her time at the foundation has been spent overseeing the administration of grant programs. Currently, Ginger works closely with the Grant Making Committee to make distributions from the South Dakota Fund and Community Innovation Grants program, which is a partnership with the Bush Foundation. In addition to managing the grant application process from application to selection, she also oversees the Fairy Godmother Fund, which meets urgent needs of women in the state.

Ginger is committed to connecting non-profit organizations with the funds they need to help South Dakotans. Traveling across the state, she meets with grant applicants, conducts site visits of grant recipients and awards grant checks.

Crystal Ortbahn

Grant Program Coordinator

Crystal joined the South Dakota Community Foundation in September 2021. She brings experience in public service in South Dakota and overseas, having completed assignments with the United States Peace Corps in Uganda and Burkina Faso.


Crystal grew up in Pierre and is a graduate of Augustana University. She is eager to support good work being done across the state as a member of the grant team.