A corrections officer in Stillwater, an assistant Hennepin County attorney and an associate professor at the University of Minnesota are among 16 Minnesotans with bold plans to boost justice and equity within broader systems.

They are among 24 Midwesterners named to the prestigious Bush Foundation fellowships, the St. Paul foundation announced Tuesday.

"In this time where our region faces the reckoning around racial justice sparked by the murder of George Floyd, inequities exposed by COVID-19 and challenges to Native sovereignty, we need leaders who can reimagine and transform systems," Anita Patel, the foundation's vice president of grantmaking, said in a statement.

The foundation honors 24 community leaders each year from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and 23 Native American nations in the three states. This year's winners were selected from 538 applications and will receive up to $100,000 for education or opportunities such as networking or training to boost leadership skills.

The Bush fellows are Patricia Acevedo Fuentes of Rapid City, S.D.; Kahin Adam of St. Cloud; E.G. Bailey of Minneapolis; John Lee Clark of St. Paul; Antonio Espinosa of Maplewood; Sandra Gabriela Filardo of Eden Prairie; Rachel Renee Hardeman of Golden Valley; Peter Hill of Pine Ridge, S.D.; Salma Hussein of Brooklyn Park; Guled Ibrahim of St. Louis Park; Nathan Caleb Johnson of Minneapolis; Naomi Ko of Savage; Wizipan Little Elk of Mission, S.D.; Kimimila Locke of Wakpala, S.D.; Brian Lozenski of Mounds View; Michelle Tran Maryns of Minneapolis; Natalie Nicholson of Bemidji; Dr. Dziwe Willard Ntaba of Minneapolis; Funlola Otukoya of Minneapolis; Courtney Schaff of Fargo; Jodi Rave Spotted Bear of Twin Buttes, N.D.; Justin Terrell of Richfield; Mai Thor of Oak Park Heights; and Dr. Michael Jon Westerhaus of Minneapolis.

The winners are selected by a group of community leaders. More than 2,400 people — including former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson, Minneapolis City Council Member Andrea Jenkins, epidemiologist Michael Osterholm and author and storyteller Kevin Kling — have gone through the program. Applications for the 2022 program open Aug. 10.

The fellowship program started when the Bush Foundation was launched in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth.

The foundation, which recently announced spending an unprecedented $100 million on addressing wealth gaps among Native Americans and African Americans, ranks No. 3 as of 2018 among Minnesota private foundations for the amount of money it gives — $51 million a year — after Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies and the McKnight Foundation.

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141