Mandy joined the Bush Foundation in October 2011, where she created and now directs the Foundation's Community Innovation programs. The programs allow communities to develop and test new solutions to community challenges, using approaches that are collaborative and inclusive of people who are most directly affected by the problem. In their four year existence, having invested over $30 million across a wildly inclusive issue portfolio, the programs are transforming the way the region approaches problem-solving.
She is also part of the Foundation’s Social Business Ventures initiative that aims to foster a powerful social business ecosystem in the region. She is particularly passionate about using the resources and position of the Foundation to shift capital structures to increase positive social impact.
Never one to leave her field of practice untested, she looks for opportunities to discuss how to make the field of philanthropy increasingly risk tolerant and more representative of the communities it serves. Mandy also believes in the power of shared leadership models and enjoys the opportunity to share leadership of the Foundation’s Community Innovation programs with her professional soul-mate: Molly Matheson Gruen. She has had the opportunity to speak nationally and locally on many of these topics.
Mandy came to the Bush Foundation from Grassroots Solutions, a national grassroots organizing consulting firm where she worked on legislative advocacy and led some of Minnesota’s early experiments in crowd-sourcing, including the inaugural “Minnesota IdeaOpen” idea contest. She got her start in community change work by working on domestic violence issues with several Twin Cities nonprofits. A first generation college student, Mandy holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota, with a concentration in community organizing, and a B.A. degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. She is also a licensed social worker and a trained nutritional therapist.