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Domestic Excellence: A Look Back At 2017

As we celebrate 2017, we reflect on some of the top moments from the Bush Institute's Domestic Excellence Impact Center, home to the Military Service Initiative, Economic Growth Initiative, Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, and Education Reform Initiative.

Article by Sarah Gibbons and Ioanna Papas December 20, 2017 //   6 minute read
President Bush delivering remarks at Stand-To, a National Veterans Convening, urging key leaders across public, private and non-profit sectors to work together.

On June 23, the Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative hosted Stand-To – A National Veterans Convening in Washington, D.C. For the first time, key leaders from across the public, private, non‐profit, and philanthropic sector came together to outline key priorities and an action plan to improve outcomes for veterans and their families. At the national convening, President Bush also announced the creation of Stand-To Veteran Leadership Initiative, a first-of-its-kind veteran leadership initiative aimed at individuals serving our nation's veterans who are motivated to broaden their skillsets and influence across the country.

This year, President Bush released Portraits of Courage—a vibrant collection of portraits and murals he painted to honor post-9/11 veterans he has come to personally know.

The 2017 Warrior Open and Warrior 100K Bike Ride reunited past Team 43 members to share their stories and journeys since returning home from war. And, at this year’s W100K Bike Ride, President Bush sat down with Sgt. First Class Kelly Rodriguez (Ret.) and Sgt. First Class Michael Rodriguez (Ret.), husband and wife veterans who have supported one another through their individual transitions. They told him about their personal experiences with the invisible wounds, their life as a military family, and how they continue to lead beyond their service in uniform.

In an effort to get more warriors into quality treatment for the invisible wounds of war, the Military Service Initiative created the Warrior Wellness Alliance. The alliance connects veteran peer-to-peer networks with best-in-class care providers to help more veterans access high-quality care.

Economic Growth Initiative

The Bush Institute’s Economic Growth Director Matthew Rooney introduces the latest North America Competitiveness Scorecard at an event at the Wilson Center on December 12, 2017.

 This summer, Economic Growth Director Matthew Rooney was invited to testify at a public hearing held by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in preparation for the Renegotiation of NAFTA.

On December 12, Rooney presented the latest version of the North America Competitiveness Scorecard, an interactive tool that compares competitiveness between countries and trade groups, at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Canada Institute. Data in the Scorecard shows that, since NAFTA began, the U.S. economy has grown steadily, adding over 30 million jobs and expanding global trade by over $2 trillion per year. The Scorecard also shows that together, Canada, Mexico, and the United States, outperform the world’s other major trading groups.

Bush Institute’s Economic Growth Deputy Director Laura Collins talks to Good Morning Texas about the facts and myths of immigration.

 The Economic Growth Initiative released the third edition of America’s Advantage: A Handbook on Immigration and Economic Growth. To bring statistics in the handbook to life, the Economic Growth Initiative launched an immigration series profiling immigrants from different backgrounds who have come to the U.S. to attain the American Dream.

Later this fall, Economic Growth Deputy Director Laura Collins spoke to Good Morning Texas about setting the facts straight on immigration myths.

Education Reform

Mrs. Laura Bush announced the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries grant recipients for 2017 at Tolbert Elementary School.

This year, the Education Reform Initiative released a series of interviews with education leaders on accountability titled, The “A” Word: Accountability—The Dirty Word of Education Reform. By speaking with recognized education leaders who have embraced accountability as essential to their work to improve outcomes for students and families, The “A” Word brings missing voices to today’s accountability debate.

On December 6, the team announced the launch of its School Leadership District Cohort, a professional learning community of four selected school districts from across the U.S. that will work hand-in-hand with the Bush Institute’s Education Reform team to improve how they find, support, and keep effective principals. This three-year project is based on the Bush Institute’s Principal Talent Management Framework.

In May, Mrs. Laura Bush announced that more than $930,000 would be distributed to 160 school libraries from 38 states through the annual library grants from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries.

After witnessing a devastating season of storms and natural disasters this fall, the Laura Bush Foundation established the 2017 Disaster Relief Initiative to help rebuild school libraries that were damaged or destroyed in recent natural disasters in Texas, along the Gulf Coast, California, and in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Presidential Leadership Scholars

Presidents Bush and Clinton participated in a conversation focused on leadership that financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein moderated at the 2017 class of Presidential Leadership Scholars graduation ceremony.

On July 13, the 60 members of the 2017 class of Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS) graduated in a ceremony at the Bush Center that included a conversation with President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. PLS offers participants the unique opportunity to learn from the experience and leadership of the four affiliated presidents and join a life-long network of nearly 200 Scholars from across varied sectors.