For decades, the enormous philanthropic legacy of Archibald Bush was divided between the Bush Foundation in St. Paul and his wife Edyth's foundation in Florida.
This week, the two foundations joined forces to award the first — and perhaps only — Archibald Bush Legacy Grant. Each contributed $100,000 for a grant to recognize a Twin Cities nonprofit whose work exemplified the spirit of Bush, a former 3M executive whose philanthropic assets now total nearly $1 billion.
It also recognized that time can heal old wounds. After Bush died in 1966, there was a legal battle over where his foundation should be based. St. Paul prevailed over Florida, where Bush and his wife had retired.
The Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation was created there, and never the two would meet.
"We've been able to bridge a divide in a way that would make our founders very happy," said Jennifer Ford Reedy, president of the Bush Foundation.
Ford joined David Odahowski, president of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, in presenting a check for $200,000 to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative on Monday.
Odahowski praised Interfaith Housing for its "tremendous work in St. Paul."
The St. Paul nonprofit will use the funds to support its 44-unit housing project for homeless youth slated to open next year.
It will be the largest supportive housing project for youth in Ramsey County, said Lee Blons, executive director of Interfaith Housing. The $200,000 grant is unusual not only because of its Bush foundation partners, but because it comes with no strings attached.
Interfaith Housing will use the funds for such "behind the scenes" projects as services and rental assistance, she said.
Blons said she's honored to receive the grant, which she believed dovetailed with Archibald Bush's interests in risk taking and advocacy.
Ford Reedy contacted the Edyth Bush foundation last year, and hopes for future collaboration. Said Ford Reedy: "We're trying to find a way to honor our joint legacies."