Southwest Initiative Foundation has been chosen by the Bush Foundation to host a $2.7 million dollar fund that will benefit students in the Granite Falls area through scholarships. Named the Archibald Bush Legacy Fund, this endowed resource will provide perpetual support to students graduating from Yellow Medicine East School District, with an emphasis on students from underrepresented communities and first-generation college students.
“This is incredible news for Southwest Initiative Foundation and Granite Falls students,” said Jeff Vetsch, Community Philanthropy Officer. “Further education can help launch our kids on a successful career path, one of the pillars in the Grow Our Own strategy to close the opportunity gap for kids in southwest Minnesota. The Archibald Bush Legacy Fund will put post-secondary options within reach for more kids and families.”
The Archibald Bush Legacy Fund is a related fund of the Granite Falls Area Community Foundation, an affiliate partner of SWIF. Scholarships will be awarded beginning in 2024 from this fund, with the goal of presenting five scholarships each year in partnership with Wallin Education Partners. Wallin is a highly effective college-completion program that combines financial aid with comprehensive, individualized, advising support, and college to career services. Wallin Partners currently serves nearly 1,500 students, the majority are students of color and first in their family to attend college.
The new scholarship fund aims to increase access to higher education for Granite Falls-area students, especially those from underrepresented communities, and to boost retention rates for local first-generation college students.
“Archie Bush was committed to giving back to the community he came from—Granite Falls. We are thankful to Southwest Initiative Foundation and all of the community partners who continue his legacy by supporting amazing students through the Archibald Bush Legacy Fund. Archie believed in the power of individuals to shape positive change, and we know Archie would be proud to invest in these students who have extraordinary potential to make a big impact in this world,” said Anita Patel, vice president of grantmaking at the Bush Foundation.
Born and raised in Granite Falls, Archie Bush dropped out of school in eighth grade to work on the family farm. In 1909, he joined Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) as a bookkeeper for a salary of $11.55 per week. Together with William McKnight, Archie helped transform that little company into one of the largest and most innovative companies in the world: 3M.
Bush rose up to become the company’s executive chairman. With no children of their own to inherit their estate, Archie and Edyth established the Bush Foundation in 1953 with an original investment of 3M stock. The foundation’s programs and tactics have changed and evolved through the years, but the work has always been rooted in supporting the organizations and people in the region – Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations sharing that geography – to think bigger and differently about what is possible in their communities.
Southwest Initiative Foundation hosts more than 120 funds that support local communities, schools and nonprofits, helping keep important resources in our communities. Our partner funds have a combined $33.9 million in assets, which makes up 32 percent of our total assets as a foundation. See a list of our partner funds