The Consensus Council, Inc.  
How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in applying to the Community Innovation Grants program! We want to make this application process as easy as possible for you to navigate - please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can support you along the way.

Grant rounds for 2018 are: January 2 - February 5,  May 1 - June 4 and September 4 - October 1.

Our team is also here to help. If you have specific questions about eligibility or selection criteria, contact the Consensus Council Community Innovation Team at 701.224.0588 or at


Community Innovation Grant Eligibility

There are a few minimum requirements that organizations must meet in order to be eligible for a Community Innovation Grant:

  • Grants must be used for a charitable purpose.

  • Only organizations, not individuals, are eligible for the Community Innovation Grants. These organizations must be 501(c)(3) public charities or government entities (including schools). Groups of organizations (such as coalitions or collaborative groups) are eligible to apply, but only one organization may receive the grant.

  • The Consensus Council accepts Community Innovation Grant applications from fiscal sponsors.  The fiscal sponsor organization must be the applicant organization and submit the grant application. Upon approval, the fiscal sponsor organization would become the grantee and receive the requested grant funds.

  • Grants must be used for projects located in North Dakota or the Native nations that share the same geography.


Community Innovation Grant Selection Criteria

There are countless promising projects happening throughout the state. We will use the following criteria and considerations to determine what proposals best fit our strategy as we make funding decisions:


Fit with Community Innovation Grant Program

  • Does the project use inclusive, collaborative and resourceful processes to pursue an innovative solution to a community challenge?
    • 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.

Is the process likely to lead to a community innovation - a breakthrough in addressing a community need that is more effective, equitable or sustainable than existing approaches?


  • Is the project plan thoughtful, realistic and does it address the identified community need?

  • Does the applicant have the capacity to execute the work effectively or have a plan to meet the needed capacity?



  • Is the project likely to make a significant, sustainable difference, now or in the future?

  • Will the project inspire or inform others?


Additional Considerations

We will seek a portfolio of Community Innovation grantees with balance across:

  • Size of community

  • Size of applicant organization

  • Size of grant request

  • Demographics of communities served

  • Type of issue addressed

The Consensus Council and the Bush Foundation is committed to addressing racial and economic disparities. At least 50% of Community Innovation grants will be to projects that address these disparities. For the purposes of this grant program, the Bush Foundation defines this as proposals that seek to actively reduce structural and/or systemic gaps in access, outcomes, opportunities or treatment based on race/ethnicity or economic standing.


Seeking a Community Innovation Grant of less than $10,000?

The Bush Foundation is partnering with the Consensus Council to support community innovation projects with budgets of $500 to $10,000. See below for additional information about how to apply!


Seeking a Community Innovation Grant of more than $10,000?

The Bush Foundation provides Community Innovation Grants for projects with budgets of $10,000 - $200,000. To apply, visit


Application Materials and Directions

For a preview of the Community Innovation Grant application questions click here.


Next Opportunity to Apply

Grant rounds for 2018 are: January 2 - February 5, May 1 - June 4 and September 4 - October 1.

Please note that because this is still a new program, we may revise the application and criteria prior to the next round so we can incorporate what we are learning along the way.


Need More Information?

Click here (3MB) to view an informational PowerPoint show about the Bush Foundation, the Consensus Council, our partnership, and the Community Innovation Grants program.


BISMARCK, ND 58503-0500

PHONE: 701-224-0588
FAX: 701-224-0787