On October 8, 2018, Emerging Prairie was officially awarded the Ecosystem Grant from the Bush Foundation for the second time. The Ecosystem Grant is focused on providing general operating support for an ecosystem organization that, “…advance[s] the goal[s] of a [Bush] Foundation program or strategic initiative” (bushfoundation.org). The programs and initiatives included are; community innovation, leadership, community creativity, education, nation building, and social business ventures. Emerging Prairie’s proposal was funded under the Social Business Ventures initiative in the amount of $205,000 for a period of two-years or $100,000 per year with an additional $5,000 in year one for “capacity-building” activities. The Social Business Ventures Initiative focuses on, “social purpose business…[which highlights]…those with a commitment to both financial returns and social problem solving.”

Emerging Prairie’s work demonstrates great strength and impact towards building the capacity of the Fargo-Moorhead area and beyond in creating social business opportunities. One example of this work is the annual event held called the Possibility Symposium on Social Business. This event, held since 2016, focuses on nonprofit and for-profit entities alike that are making a difference in social issues through business practices. Some past speakers include Folkways, Unglued, Others, the F5 Project, Recovree, and more. Each speaker is given the opportunity to share with the audience about their work and the impact it is creating on the community as well as the challenge of focus.

In the 2019 year, Emerging Prairie plans to continue our work as well as discover new ways in which we can create meaningful, long-lasting impact for the social businesses in the FM area as well as beyond. The entire team at Emerging Prairie is thrilled to have been selected for this granting opportunity and is looking forward to continuing our work and partnership with the Bush Foundation.

Lindsay Breuler