Community Innovation Grant Award Winners

Aug 31, 2021 | News


Contact: Ann Crews Melton –, 701.391.3875

Consensus Council Awards $123,000 to Spark Community Innovation

Bismarck, ND – Consensus Council awarded $123,000 in the second round of its 2021 Community Innovation grant program, a partnership with the Bush Foundation. Nine organizations within North Dakota and Native nations sharing the same geography received funding for projects as diverse as developing a Grand Forks transportation-on-request program to workforce reentry support for New American women, to laser tattoo removal for people who are incarcerated.

“Community Innovation grants encourage local residents to think bigger about how to solve community problems, and provide critical financial support to turn thought into action,” said Ann Crews Melton, Consensus Council Executive Director. “All of these projects enable community members to envision and create the change they want to see, strengthening North Dakota communities from the ground up.” Community Innovation (CI) grants fund community-based problem-solving, enabling people to determine and develop solutions unique to issues impacting them, leading to more effective, equitable, and sustainable change.

Consensus Council awards up to $400,000 annually in its CI grant program in partnership with the Bush Foundation. Nonprofit organizations and government entities of all sizes are eligible for CI grants up to $15,000. At least 50% of the grants are awarded to projects seeking to actively reduce structural and/or systemic gaps in access, outcomes, opportunities or treatment based on race/ethnicity or economic standing.

The final 2021 grant round is September 2 – October 4. For more information about Consensus Council’s Community Innovation grant program, including how to apply, visit The 2021 Round 2 Community Innovation grant recipients are:

31:8 Project: $13,500
Bismarck, ND
Empowering Human Trafficking Survivors: A pilot project to provide victims of human trafficking across North Dakota with culturally relevant, trauma-informed, evidence-based services to enable them to successfully achieve self-identified life-skill goals.

Charles Hall Institute: $15,000
Bismarck, ND
Charles Hall Institute Pilot Program: Partner with United Tribes Technical College’s Theodore Jamerson Elementary School staff to develop educational programs and technology applications that promote healthy development, character, and self-valuing in children and adolescents.

New American Consortium for Wellness and Empowerment: $10,000
Fargo, ND
Refugee and Immigrant Women’s Network: Remove barriers to workforce reentry for immigrant women following the COVID-19 pandemic including access to childcare, budgeting skills, health education, and yoga and tai chi.

New Americans Integration Center: $15,000
Grand Forks, ND
New American Job Skills Development: Support recently arrived New Americans in the Grand Forks area with access to and training for jobs, including ESL communication support, computer skills, resume  development, work culture training, using public transportation, and financial literacy.

North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: $13,500
Bismarck, ND
First Impressions Program: Initiate a laser tattoo removal project to treat DOCR residents at all facilities who wish to remove exposed face/neck/hand tattoos, complementing existing re-entry programs to increase success in gaining employment, obtaining housing, and reconnecting with family, and to bolster community acceptance.

North Dakota Local Food Development Alliance: $11,500
Minot, ND
Local Food Systems for ND Communities: Mobilize alliance working groups to address producer support; aggregation, processing, and distribution; food charter; and Native American food sovereignty. Organize three local food planning summits to catalog the current needs, actors, and projects related to local foods.

Northlands Rescue Mission: $14,500
Grand Forks, ND
Filling the Transportation Gap: A collaborative project to survey the transportation needs of low-income families and individuals to ensure access to jobs and social service providers, and to develop a new transportation-on-request program for low- to moderate-income community members.

South Sudan READ: $15,000
Fargo, ND
Immigration Services Discussion: Contract with Board of Immigration Appeals–certified professionals to facilitate stakeholder discussions to assess needs and reestablish affordable and accessible immigration services following the closure of Lutheran Social Services of ND.

Southwest Area Career & Technical Education Task Force: $15,000
Fiscal Sponsor: Dickinson Public Schools
Dickinson, ND
Career & Technical Education (CTE): Engage industry, business, and community leaders in facilitated conversations to help determine strategy and provide input on educational programs to be offered at the CTE Center opening in 2023.

About Consensus Council
For three decades Consensus Council has brought a diversity of voices to the table, teaching citizens and leaders to listen, converse, and collaborate across differences. As a mission-driven organization we help nonprofits, advocacy coalitions, and public sector entities make a lasting impact. Through public policy work, grantmaking, and public programs, Consensus Council facilitates conversations and builds agreements to empower people, transform communities, and advance the public good. Learn more at

About the Bush Foundation
The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Established in 1953 by 3M Executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, the Foundation supports organizations and people to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in their communities. We work to inspire and support creative problem solving — within and across sectors — to make our region better for everyone. For more information, visit

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