Director of Communications

Bush Foundation
November 23, 2021
St. Paul, Minnesota
Job Type


The Foundation

Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Bush Foundation was founded in 1953 by Archibald Granville Bush, an American businessman at 3M, and his wife, Edyth Bassler Bush. The Foundation was established to advance “scientific, educational, and charitable purposes” and supports a range of initiatives, including leadership development, community problem solving, Native nation building, student-centered learning, and the arts. More information about the Bush Foundation can be found at


The Bush Foundation Approach

We inspire and support creative problem solving – within and across sectors – to make our region better for everyone. Everything we do is to advance this purpose. It is what ties all our work together.

We invest in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share this geography. This is both our tagline and our strategy to advance our purpose.

We work through open grantmaking programs to support organizations and people who think bigger and think differently about solutions to problems in their communities to:

  • Develop, test and spread great ideas that will make the region better for everyone
  • Inspire, equip and connect people to more effectively lead change


How We Do Our Work

We believe that change happens through people and that the future of our region depends on what the people in it believe they can do and be. We consider every investment to be an investment in people, to think bigger and think differently about what is possible.

Our operating values guide everything we do. We try to live them in every aspect of our grantmaking and our operations.

  • Spread Optimism. We encourage individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible. We are positive and supportive in our internal and external interactions. 
  • Work Beyond Ourselves. We actively seek opportunities to work in true collaboration with others to have more impact. We are willing to both lead and follow. We candidly share what we learn with others. 
  • Everybody Matters. We are a champion for both excellence and equity inside and out of the Foundation. We have fair, open and inclusive processes. We work to raise overall quality of life while also closing opportunity and achievement gaps. 
  • Steward Well. We demonstrate appreciation for the Foundation’s history and thoughtfully build on its legacy. We hold ourselves to high standards of integrity and accountability and conduct ourselves in a way we hope would make our founders proud. 
  • More Good. Every Year. We are a true learning organization and work to be smarter and more effective every year. We never lose sight of the reason we exist: to do the most possible good with the resources left to the community by Archibald G. Bush.


We have a deep organizational commitment to equity and that commitment is integrated throughout our work. We try to ensure we are accessible and relevant to communities all around the region. And we make sure that we are investing in communities with the greatest needs. We have a long-standing specific commitment to investing in Native Americans and the 23 Native nations in our region. 

The Foundation is in the midst of significant organizational change. We were already making strategy shifts when the global pandemic, the recession that deeply affected communities in the region, and the racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd, pushed us to change even more quickly. We are working to be more open, more responsive and a stronger force for equitable change in the region. This includes doing more to advance racial equity, taking on more risk - making bigger and longer-term commitments to support transformative change - and sharing more power, working with and through community-based organizations. We have shifted structure and redefined jobs and are figuring out the day-to-day implications of some of these decisions. In all this change, we are hoping to increase the impact of the Bush Foundation in making the region better for everyone. 

Communications at the Bush Foundation

Communications is core to the Bush Foundation strategy. For our grantmaking, we need people throughout the region to know about the Bush Foundation. We need them to understand what we do and whether they are a fit for our programs, and because we are issue- inclusive and ready to fund both organizations and individuals, we want to go beyond the usual channels to reach people who may not be familiar with philanthropy, or the Bush Foundation as a partner in advancing their work. 

We also believe that our communications work is core to extending our impact beyond just what we fund. We want to inspire others to act by sharing the stories of grantees and Fellows and the amazing work they are doing. We want to inform the efforts of others by sharing the lessons they, and we, have learned. And we want to help spread great ideas around the region to make communities better for everyone.

We also know that our reputation matters to our effectiveness. Our grants and fellowships have more impact for those who receive them if we are respected as an organization. Our efforts to share lessons and spread ideas around the region will be more effective if we are seen as trustworthy and credible. 

Marketing and branding have a different meaning in our context. We don’t have to sell any products and we don’t have to fundraise. For us, communications is all about having the most impact possible. 

The Communications Team

The Communications Team manages all aspects of our communications. This includes our website, social media, media sponsorships, earned media, publications, multi-media productions and PR strategies. All our communication work should advance our mission and reflect our operating values. And all of our communication work is done in close partnership and collaboration with other Foundation staff. 

The Communications Team’s main priorities are to:

  • Make sure people throughout the region know what the Bush Foundation has to offer that might be useful to them and their communities, in ways that are friendly and easy to understand. 
  • Tell the stories of grantees and Fellows, in ways that helps their work while also inspiring others.
  • Share lessons from grantees, Fellows and the Foundation’s work, in ways that are useful to and can influence others in the region and/or in our field.
  • Ensure the Bush Foundation is accessible to and engaged with our key stakeholders, in ways that are open and transparent. 

The Communications Director Role

The Communications Director advances the goals of the Bush Foundation by providing strategic leadership and guidance on all aspects of communications, supervising the Communications Team, and playing a key organization-wide leadership position, with opportunity to influence Foundation strategy and operations broadly.

Key Responsibilities

  • Lead Foundation communications strategy. This includes setting an overarching strategic communications plan that advances programmatic goals and reflects the Foundation’s values as well as leading operational and tactical work to implement the strategies.  
  • Lead and manage the members of the Communications Team. This includes providing work direction and coaching and development for team members. 
  • Oversee communications operations. This includes annual planning and budgeting and ensuring all work is done well and meets the needs of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Serve as an internal consultant to the President and other Foundation staff to develop and refine key messages, themes, presentations that effectively advance the Foundation’s goals and vision. Explore and identify channels, forums and venues for sharing learning and insights. 
  • Provide organizational leadership. This includes working with staff across the foundation to identify and resolve cross-organizational issues and providing leadership, counsel and support for effective internal and external communications.
  • Demonstrate Bush Foundation operating values in all aspects of the work.  


Reports to: Chief Operating Officer

Direct Reports: Communications Officer
Communications Associate

Other key relationships: President
Vice President, Grantmaking
All Bush Foundation Staff

Grantees and Fellows, past, current and potential 

Position Location: The Foundation’s offices are located in St. Paul, Minnesota although Bush Foundation staff continue to work remotely during the pandemic. Return to office plans include a hybrid work arrangement (office/work from home on specific days) with timing and details still in the works.

Starting salary:           $169,000 annual  

Benefits:                      The Foundation offers excellent benefits, including health, dental, life and disability insurance; generous retirement contributions; professional development and vacation, sick and holiday leave. 

Schedule & Travel:     Occasional travel and driving may be required, with occasional schedule adjustments in order to meet priority deadlines or participate in community events. 

Ideal Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will be a proven communications leader who will take our communications to new levels of clarity, accessibility and impact. 

Leadership Competencies Expected

  • Functional Expertise: We are a small organization with big aspirations. All our leadership roles call for people who can do both big picture strategic thinking and the hands-on work to make it happen.
  • Cultural Competence: We have a strong organizational commitment to equity with a particular focus on advancing racial equity. We need people who will consider the equity implications of every decision so that everything we do works well for people of different backgrounds and abilities. We need leaders who are committed to anti-racism and are comfortable directly addressing issues of race and cultural difference.
  • Builds Talent: We are committed to leadership development in our programming and in our own operations. This means we expect our people to be self-aware and continuously working to developing their own skills to be more effective. We need supervisors who are great leaders of people and are committed to the development of others. 
  • Inclusive Decision-Making: We are an inclusive organization and we need leaders that model intellectual curiosity and collaborative problem solving. We need people who build capacity to evaluate ideas and information analytically, conceptually and critically and effectively shepherd recommendations and solutions.
  • Fosters Collaboration: We are a very collaborative organization and nearly all our work is shared. This means we need people who are really good at intentional planning and decision making, eager and willing to seek out and learn from feedback and input. This means raising and resolving issues in inclusive ways, with good communications with stakeholders all along the way – while still able to move things forward. 
  • Inspires Innovation: We are an innovative organization. This means we need people who will constructively challenge the status quo or accepted ways of doing things and push the Foundation to identify new approaches and uncover unconventional ideas that better enable the mission, supporting well-reasoned risks and new ideas.
  • Emotional Intelligence: We need people who possess a high level of self-awareness, empathy, humility and social awareness. This means having leaders who effectively manage personal emotions and behaviors to foster productive relationships and influence others.
  • Values Driven: We are a values-driven organization. We need people who are enthusiastic about the Foundation’s values and are willing to reflect, learn and act to do what it takes to live up to them. 

Skills and Experience Required


  1. Communications Leadership: Has significant communications leadership experience, with at least seven years of demonstrated success leading and managing complex work projects. This includes experience integrating strategies across communications channels, including web, social media, publications, and media relations.
  2. Communications Practitioner: Is a great written and verbal communicator, able to communicate in ways that are simple and conversational and to help others do so, too. Experience preparing materials that capture voice and tone of other people. 
  3. Regional Strategist: Knows enough about our region to be able to develop effective communications strategies that make sense and are relevant to people throughout the region, including rural communities. 
  4. Social Issue Awareness: Has enough experience in communications related to social issues and social change to develop clear and nuanced messages on subjects that may be difficult or controversial.
  5. Equity Orientation: Has a strong commitment to equity, with experience leading inclusively and equitably, and applying that experience and expertise to all decisions both directly related to communications and not. 
  6. Team Leader: Is a terrific supervisor, with experience supporting and developing talented, creative colleagues to succeed individually and as a team. 
  7. Relational: Is good at building trusting relationships and able to work well with people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds.
  8. Project Manager: Is responsive and able to manage multiple projects with tight deadlines. 


To Apply

The Bush Foundation has prepared a brief recording to provide more background and information on this role. You can view the 30-minute recording at This recording will be available beginning December 3, 2021.

Please send your resume and cover letter to [email protected]. Applications will be accepted until December 31, 2021, but review of candidates will begin right away. If your interest in this role is high, we recommend an early application for immediate attention.