Bush Foundation Selects 24 Committed Leaders For 2024 Bush Fellowship

By Kathryn Gallo







The Bush Foundation announced the 2024 Bush Fellows, a group of 24 individuals whose bold vision and leadership are shaping communities in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.

The 2024 Fellows are:

Rod Adams
Minneapolis, MN

Mari Avaloz
Saint Paul, MN

Autumn Cavender
Granite Falls, MN

Adrean Clark
Saint Paul, MN

Trahern Crews
Saint Paul, MN

Lachelle Cunningham
Minneapolis, MN

Roberto de la Riva
Minneapolis, MN

​​Frederick Edwards, Jr.

Fargo, ND

Michelle Goose
Duluth, MN

Monica Hurtado
Minneapolis, MN

Arlene Krulish
Saint Michael, ND

Jouapag Lee
Roseville, MN

Jamil Stamschror-Lott
Minneapolis, MN

Lily Mendoza
Rapid City, SD

Manka Nkimbeng

Columbia Heights, MN

David O’Hara
Sioux Falls, SD

Aysha Price
Minneapolis, MN

Kasim Abdur Razzaq
Saint Paul, MN

Leslie Ellen Redmond
Minneapolis, MN

Antony Stately
Prior Lake, MN

Irma Márquez Trapero
Saint James, MN

Moira Villiard
Duluth, MN
May Lee Xiong
Cottage Grove, MN

Amber Zora
Rapid City, SD

“This year’s Fellows represent transformational leaders with deep love for their communities,” said Bush Foundation grantmaking director, Adora Land. “We are excited to be a part of their leadership journey as they continue to have greater influence and change within our region.”

JOUAPAG LEE | Roseville, MN
Jouapag Lee wants to help Hmong people heal from intergenerational trauma and foster healthy family and community connections. Inspired by her upbringing as the oldest child of Hmong refugee parents, her work is focused on freeing her community from unjust systems of oppression and creating spaces that elevate collective wellbeing. After losing her own mother and grandmother, while becoming a mother herself, Jouapag took time to consider what true healing means. She became a founding member of the Hmong Healers Collective to share practices for healing within her community. Now, her vision for change is growing. She hopes to create a culturally grounded space for Hmong American millennials to learn the histories of oppression and trauma and explore what collective healing could look like in their community. She believes reaching millennials is key to bridge the gap between ancestral and modern healing. Through the Bush Fellowship, she will seek a trauma-informed coaching certificate, strengthen her written Hmong language skills, work with a coach to develop sustainable business practices and travel to Laos and Thailand to further connect with her Hmong roots.

MAY LEE XIONG | Cottage Grove, MN
May Lee Xiong is reimagining education to support Black, Indigenous and people of color to thrive in schools that celebrate their diverse identities. She grew up in Minnesota feeling disconnected from her own Hmong culture. After hearing the stories of her resilient immigrant parents, she began to truly embrace her heritage. As an educator leading Hmong language revitalization efforts, she helped co-create the Hmong Studies and Hmong Dual Language programs at Phalen Elementary School in Saint Paul. With her Bush Fellowship, she will seek ways to deepen her understanding of language revitalization and build her skills to advocate for transformative changes in public education.

About the Bush Fellowship
The Bush Fellowship supports accomplished leaders to take their leadership to the next level, to have more and bigger impact in and across communities. The Fellowship is distinctive in its flexibility, allowing Fellows to define what they need to become more effective and equitable leaders. More than 2,000 people have received support from the Fellowship over more than 60 years.

This year, 582 people applied for the Bush Fellowship. Fellows were selected through an in-depth process that included interviews and mentoring sessions with community leaders, Bush Fellow alumni, and Bush Foundation staff. Applicants shared their vision for the impact they want to have, identified what they need to develop their leadership capacity to have that impact, and created a plan for how they would use the Bush Fellowship opportunity to make their vision a reality. At each stage of the process, selection committees included individuals who reflect the diversity of the region, including different sectors, geography, genders, and racial and ethnic identities. Bush Fellow alumni provided the initial review of all applications, and community leaders made the final selection decisions.

“The Bush Foundation believes in investing in people who power great ideas and big change,” said Anita Patel, vice president, grantmaking for the Bush Foundation. “We are excited to be with these Fellows on their leadership journey and eagerly look forward to what they will do next.”

The Bush Foundation will accept applications for the 2025 Bush Fellowship later this year. The Bush Fellowship is open to anyone aged 24 years and older who has a track record of leading change and seeks to build the ability to have even greater impact. Applicants must live in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or one of the 23 Native nations that shares the same geography.

About the Bush Foundation
The Bush Foundation works to inspire and support creative problem solving – within and across sectors – to make the region better for everyone. They do this by investing in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share this geography.

The Foundation works through open grantmaking programs to develop, test and spread great ideas to make our region better, and to inspire, equip and connect people to lead change effectively.

The lives of Archie and Edyth Bush, who created the Bush Foundation in 1953, continue to inspire the Foundation’s work today.

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