2018 Bush Fellowships given to three Northside leaders

 From left: Me'Lea Connelly, Neda Kellogg, and Larry McKenzie are three of this year's 24 Bush Foundation fellows.  Photos courtesy of the Bush Foundation

From left: Me'Lea Connelly, Neda Kellogg, and Larry McKenzie are three of this year's 24 Bush Foundation fellows. Photos courtesy of the Bush Foundation

This piece is compiled by Kenzie O'Keefe from a March 20 Bush Foundation press release.

Three North Minneapolis community members - Me'Lea Connelly, Neda Kellogg, and Larry McKenzie - have been awarded fellowships by the Bush Foundation this year.

They are among 24 people across Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and the 23 Native nations who share the same geography that have received this prestigious fellowship, which offers individuals up to $100,000 over 1-2 years to seek out development experiences that will help them grow as leaders in their communities.

Connelly is the director of the Association for Black Economic Power and is currently leading an initiative to open a community-owned credit union, Village Trust Financial Cooperative, in North Minneapolis. She will use her fellowship to pursue an MBA in cooperative and credit union management, seek black financial mentors around the country, and build a network of allies, investors and partners to advance her leadership and vision.

Kellogg recognizes her young self in the Black female teens she works with in Minneapolis through her nonprofit Project Diva. To increase her leadership in this arena, she seeks greater understanding of the systemic and personal barriers she and the young women she serves face. With her Bush Fellowship, she will take time to reflect, study and develop successful strategies with the assistance of strategic coaches.

McKenzie is a renowned high school basketball coach who has most recently led the North High Polars to two consecutive state titles in 2016 and 2017. With his fellowship, he plans to pursue a master’s in athletic leadership and development and seek executive leadership training. He is also an employee of Pillsbury United Communities, which owns and independently operates North News.

“The 2018 Bush Fellows are exceptional leaders who have made the most of the opportunities in their lives,” said Bush Foundation Leadership Programs Director Anita Patel. “We believe the well-being of our region is directly impacted by investing in individuals who will shape the future. We are betting on the potential of these 24 Fellows to make a significant impact in their communities.”

751 people applied for the fellowship this year.

Kenzie O'Keefe