The Omaha Community Foundation is pleased to announce the final round of Community Resilience Fund grant recipients serving communities disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

Twelve local nonprofits received funds totaling $165,974.

Launched in April 2021, the Community Resilience Fund focused on providing grants in five areas: Arts & Culture, Housing, Learning Recovery, Mental Health, and Workforce.

Thanks to generous community support, 37 nonprofits received a total of $527,942.75.

Grants Made in December 2021

ARTS & CULTURE: Alleviating operational uncertainty until organizations can fully reopen and restabilize earned revenue through programs, performances, and exhibits.

> The Union for Contemporary Art: $10,000 for General Operating Support. For 10 years, the Union has worked to strengthen the cultural and social landscape through cultural experiences that reflect the diversity of Omaha’s residents, particularly in North Omaha, a community that has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Each of their programs are designed to increase access to artistic enrichment, foster connection between diverse populations, elevate racial equity and representation, and uplift the community they serve.

> Freedomtainment: $14,175 for General Operating Support. Freedomtainment represents the historical culture of North Omaha while serving its citizens that were disproportionately impacted by COVID. Freedomtainment plans to prepare for next year through strategic planning, marketing, and accounting for Omaha’s Freedom Festival. It also plans to create North Side State of Mind to be a virtual town hall centered around real-time topics, such as mental health, youth violence, business survival and growth, access to political advocacy, and community awareness.

> Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition, Inc.: $15,000 Tired Moccasins Elder Program. Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition (NUIHC) strives to strengthen the Tired Moccasins Program and keep it for the long term, providing cultural programming for the Native elder population.  Before the pandemic shutdown, the NUIHC had a solid program and attendees, and with additional support plans to make it even better. Their programming content is focused on cultural preservation of traditional Native practices (i.e. storytelling, crafts, games, special entertainment, etc.) as a protective factor for youth and families.

HOUSING: Ensuring people can safely stay in their homes through legal assistance or financial support.

> East African Development Association of Nebraska: $15,000 for Covid-19 Community Resilience Housing, Workforce, & Learning Recovery. EADAN helps refugee families connect to available resources, aids with screening for eligibility, and assists with applying services to ensure that families receive what they need. Through these services, EADAN ensures people can stay safely in their homes through legal or financial support, provides food through pantry partnerships and food delivery, mentors students after school to minimize learning losses, and provides employment consultation with resume and application assistance. EADAN also prepares refugees for life in the United States through immigration and naturalization test preparation and English as a Second Language classes.

> Women’s Center for Advancement: $15,000 for Emergency Assistance Housing Program. The WCA saw a staggering increase in demand for housing and emergency shelter amid the pandemic. Quarantine and social isolation forced victims of domestic violence into even more vulnerable situations, living with their abusers with no escape. There was and continues to be a critical need to increase community housing options and resources for individuals experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault. The program gives WCA clients the physical security of a home before beginning the healing process of recovering from their abusive situation.

> Legal Aid of Nebraska: $15,000 for Housing Justice Project. The pandemic has exacerbated the need for civil legal services for community members in relation to eviction, as well as finding and securing safe and affordable housing — all of which are core functions of the Housing Justice Project. Having representation makes a significant difference for tenants facing eviction. Legal Aid has found they are able to prevent evictions in more than 80% of cases where they provide representation.

MENTAL HEALTH: Meeting the increased need for services and working to improve the overall mental health system.

> Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy: HETRA Mental Health Services, $14,124. 32% of Nebraska adults reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression between April and May of 2021. 20% of these adults reported having an unmet need for counseling or therapy. The stigma around mental health and cost of care can be barriers for individuals seeking services. HETRA offers unique mental health services with horses. Their Equine-Assisted Learning/Psychotherapy and Therapy Services programs often serve as alternatives for those who hesitate to seek traditional therapy.

LEARNING RECOVERY: Supporting enrichment programs and activities to reverse disparities that grew due to remote learning and other educational disruptions.

> GOALS Center: $15,000 for Community Navigator. The GOALS Center adopted an outreach program last year to reach students who had stopped logging on to remote learning and who had become unreachable by school staff. The outreach program focused on four areas: supervision needs/planning for children (specifically elementary aged or youth with extraordinary needs), ability for parents to meet the basic needs of their whole family and resource identification, accessibility and assistance with e-Learning systems, and financial stability for caregivers. In addition to this program, GOALS strengthened community partnerships to ensure that the increased need for service could be met with the appropriate options. Through all of this, GOALS learned that it is positioned to offer a community navigator service that will look a lot like this outreach program in addition to being a connector to other community partners.

WORKFORCE: Helping people gain new skills or education to find and secure stable employment.

> Heart Ministry Center: $10,000 for Fresh Start. The Fresh Start program is designed to address the underlying issues that perpetuate the cycle of poverty, specifically the lack of job opportunities and financial stability.  This is an individualized job training and placement program for men and women who: are unemployed, have no opportunities elsewhere, and have exhausted their resources searching for employment.  These men and women struggled to find employment prior to the pandemic and COVID-19 only made their situations more difficult.

> Partnership 4 Hope: $12,500 for General Operating Support. Partnership 4 Hope serves young adult former foster youth (YAFFY) ages 19-26. Young adults aging out of foster care were disproportionately impacted by the COVID pandemic because many were entering the workforce with limited skill sets, greater amounts of instability, and more need for assistance with gaining employment, skills, education, or stabilizing housing. Partnership 4 Hope assists in the areas of workforce, housing, learning recovery, and mental health through mentoring programs, Cole French memorial education fund, emergency assistance, their free shopping center for furniture and material goods (Youth Mart), and employment opportunities at Youth Mart for YAFFYs.

> South Omaha Community Care Council, Inc.: $15,000 for Careers in Tech Bootcamp. The South Omaha Community Care Council (SOCCC) recognizes the rising demand for skills in technology. There is a high demand for employees in the technology field and much of the community they serve in South Omaha does not know about this opportunity. The community members have traditional labor jobs with little knowledge of computers or computer science. Providing education on computers and industry-standard software programs will make people more marketable in the workforce. SOCCC, in partnership with AIM Institute, will provide South Omaha community members access to AIM’s Careers in Tech Bootcamp. The Careers in Tech Boot Camp will provide an overview of the rewarding opportunities presented by technology, as well as an understanding of computers, component parts, and global networks.

> Friends of the Nebraska Association of Service Providers: $15,175 for Direct Service Provider Talent Acquisition Project (DSP TAP). The pandemic has decimated home and community-based services (HCBS) for people with development disabilities in Omaha and across the country due to loss of critical care staff, such as Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). DSPs are entry level positions; employers provide the training and certifications once hired.  It’s a secure job with benefits, opportunities for overtime, and a person can truly see the positive difference they make in someone’s life.  Unfortunately, many people are unaware of these opportunities. This organization requests assistance to recruit talented applicants and connect them with high quality employers to continue providing critical services to our communities’ most vulnerable residents.

Photo: Native Omaha Days 2021 in The Union for Contemporary Art’s Abundance Garden.