For 40 years the Foundation has carried on the trust imparted to it by its namesake, Mrs. Edyth Bush, a woman who dedicated her life to promoting philanthropy throughout the community.
From its inception in 1973, The Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation has had a clear direction from its founder, Edyth Bush. “Make Central Florida a better place for all of its citizens.” From investing in the arts to health and human services programs, the foundation is focused on examining the needs of the community and engaging the right organizations to address those needs to assure successful impact.
Over 40 years ago, a legacy of community activism began. Through the pioneering efforts of Edyth and Archibald Bush, this foundation was created to serve the people of Central Florida and beyond. With humble beginnings, Mr. Bush started his work for a small, unknown company named Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing. After a short time spent in the accounting department, Mr Bush figured out that the sales people made more money than the accountants, so he quickly volunteered to open up a new sales territory for the company in Chicago, Illinois. There he met Edyth Bassler, a prominent local actress and classical dancer. He also discovered that she would become the love of his life and they were soon married.
With a shared interest in community involvement they became active in many local organizations. Through a team effort, they also sought to help build the fledgling company Mr. Bush was working for. Together they held a firm belief in the future of the company which would later become known as 3M. Through hard work and dedication, the Bushes amassed a substantial fortune in company stock enhanced by conservative living.
As they became more affluent they developed a greater capacity to truly make a difference in the communities in which they lived. And so, the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation was born. From the first grant made to the United Way, the Foundation was focused on arts and education but within a few years expanded to health and human services efforts with the firm belief in "helping people help themselves." To date, the foundation has distributed more than $100 million in grants to deserving organizations. In addition to providing funds, a significant portion of the foundation's efforts is dedicated to community leadership and fostering cooperative relationships between the groups it serves.
A colorful and enthusiastic individual, Edyth Bush was born in Chicago. Early in her life, she developed a love for the arts becoming a ballet dancer, actress and then musician and playwright. 1941 found Mrs. Bush building, directing and operating her own theater in St. Paul, where she also married Archibald G. Bush, a director at 3M.
During his career at 3M, Mr. Bush amassed a personal fortune in excess of $300 million, which allowed him to form his own foundation. He also served on the board of trustees at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. After his death, Mrs. Bush decided to make Winter Park her permanent home and created the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation. She had a deep and abiding affection for drama, dance, music and people. Her ultimate legacy to charity and public service was to leave an organization that could continue to touch lives in profound and important ways.
Her ultimate legacy to charity and public service was to leave an organization that could continue to touch lives in profound and important ways.