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Nelson Family Foundation

About the Foundation

The Nelson Family Foundation was founded in 1997 as a supporting organization of the Omaha Community Foundation. Since that time, over $2.8 million in charitable support has been granted to over 80 educational, environmental, human services, arts, and health organizations. Additionally, more than a quarter of a million dollars has been awarded since 2008 to outstanding teachers and counselors from the Council Bluffs and Lewis Central School Districts through the Excellence in Teaching Award.

H. H. “Red” and Ruth H. Nelson

History of the Foundation

The Nelson family’s commitment to giving back can be traced to H. H. “Red” and Ruth H. Nelson. They played a considerable role in their family’s and community’s life. In 1945, Red and Ruth started an insurance agency, which is now SilverStone Group, a HUB International Company. They spent a lifetime helping those in need, especially children. Red and Ruth were always very humble and never wanted or sought recognition for their many charitable works. They were loving, generous parents and grandparents and had the welfare, nurturing, and education of young people always in their hearts. Today, the Nelson Family Foundation’s efforts are led by Anne and John P. Nelson. The Foundation continues to support numerous organizations and projects in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, as well as causes outside the region in which the Nelson family has personal involvement.

Excellence in Teaching Award

In 2008, the Nelson Family Foundation established the Excellence in Teaching Award. This award honors outstanding teachers or counselors from the Council Bluffs and Lewis Central School Districts. Award recipients are chosen based on their knowledge, skills, and abilities both inside and outside the classroom, benefiting young people, as well as the community.

Award Nominations

The Omaha Community Foundation is currently taking nominations for the 2023 Nelson Family Foundation Excellence in Teaching Awards. Please take a few moments to nominate your favorite educator or counselor—past or present, someone who is making a difference in the life of your child or a child about whom you care, or someone you have observed who is making a difference in education. Nominees must have a minimum of two years of experience as a certified teacher or counselor in the Council Bluffs Community School District or the Lewis Central School District (pre-K through 12th grade). Nominations will be accepted from students (current and former), parents, fellow teachers, school administrators, and the general public. All nominations must be submitted electronically using the form below. The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, February 10, 2023.


Past Award Recipients (PDF)

Excellence in Teaching Award Nomination Form

  • Please add the information of who is submitting the nomination.

  • The Nominee

  • The Nelson Family Foundation receives many nominations each year for its Excellence in Teaching Award program. The more you can provide by way of support, the better the chance the person you are nominating will move forward in the process. The judges are from outside the districts and are not familiar with the educators. They only know what they read via the nominations. Personal stories about how the person you are nominating has affected you or someone you love are especially helpful to the judges.
Questions? We’re here to help.
Sydney Calcagno

Southwest Iowa Foundations Associate


Join the Giving

You can help us strengthen our community, and we can help you make your giving more effective. Be a part of the good we’re growing by contributing to one of our funds or opening your own philanthropic fund.