Temp Page

Community Innovation Grants – a program of the Consensus Council in Partnership with the Bush Foundation


We’ve heard from organizations throughout North Dakota that today’s changing community needs and complex challenges require new thinking and new approaches. However, the day-to-day pressures of work – operationally and financially – make it hard to step back and engage the community to think bigger and think differently to create new solutions to community problems. These grants are designed for organizations to do just that – to lead the process of creating a community innovation.


Over the past 28 years, the Consensus Council has worked to bring citizens and leaders together to build agreements on difficult issues, through including the right people, assuring a safe place and facilitating thoughtful and strategic conversations. In a unique partnership with the Bush Foundation (www.bushfoundation.org) the Consensus Council has entered a new and exciting phase of operations – bringing opportunity to fund North Dakota organizations – through Community Innovation Grants.

Want to engage your community to solve a problem?


Want to use the current strengths and resources in your community as a starting point in your problem solving?


Want to work collaboratively with other groups and organizations to create solutions that are better than what any one of you could achieve alone?


These grants are definitely for you.


Community Innovation grants support communities to use problem-solving processes that lead to more effective, equitable and sustainable solutions. Think of it as civic research and development (R&D), allowing communities to develop and test new solutions to community challenges.


There’s a lot of work that happens in between identifying a community problem and implementing a new “break-through” solution, especially if you want to engage your community, make the most of existing assets and work collaboratively with other organizations along the way. Our Community Innovation Grants support that process – they fund the work that it takes to create a community innovation.


We know that there are many ways to approach solving a community problem. In this program, we are particularly interested in supporting processes that are inclusive, collaborative and resourceful.

Program Basics

  • You can apply for a Community Innovation Grant of $500 to $10,000 from The Consensus Council. Visit our How to Apply page for more information.
  • For grants over $10,000, Community Innovation Grants are available directly from the Bush Foundation.
  • We look to you to identify and define your community. This could be a geographic community (e.g., a neighborhood, town, state or Native nation) and it could be a community of common interest or racial/cultural identity.
  • We are open to projects that address all sorts of community needs. In addition, projects can be at various stages of the problem-solving process including identifying the need, increasing collective understanding of the issue, generating ideas, or testing and implementing solutions. Proposals can focus on one area or span multiple stages.
  • For a list of the 2014-2018 Community Innovation Grantees in North Dakota click here.
  • The Consensus Council and the Bush Foundation are committed to addressing racial and economic disparities. At least 50% of Community Innovation grants will be given to projects that address these disparities. For the purposes of this grant program, we define 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.
  • We will favor/prioritize proposals with project budget sizes that are of appropriate scale to this $500-$10,000 grant opportunity.
  • Consensus Council staff will work with grantees to agree on the appropriate grant period for their project. Timelines for the grants are flexible – some may take several months while others might take longer. As a general guideline, we prefer that projects be completed in 1 year or less. The project can be a phase of a multi-year initiative.
  • There are three Community Innovation Grant application cycles in 2019: January 2 – February 4, May 28 – July 1, and September 3 – October 1.