In October, the Fund for Omaha, the Omaha Community Foundation’s largest grant program, awarded $450,435 to 23 local nonprofits.

This year, in response to recent events in our country and world, the Foundation decided to shift the Fund to explicitly support nonprofit organizations working to increase opportunity and equity for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

The following nonprofits received funding:

  • 100 Black Men of Omaha, $25,000, Mentoring services
  • ACLU Nebraska Foundation, $23,030, Rapid response in the wake of George Floyd and James Scurlock deaths and Nebraska-specific anti-racism inventory and action plan
  • African Culture Connection, $25,000, Implementation of curriculum into in-school and after-school programs
  • Benson Area Refugee Task Force, $13,623, HomeDish culinary program
  • Black and Pink, $25,000, Foundational needs, personal development, and leadership development for Black trans community members
  • Bluebird Cultural Initiative, $14,115, Capacity building and program extension
  • Canopy South (formerly Southside Redevelopment Corporation), $14,174, Leadership development for neighborhood residents of Southside Terrace and Indian Hill
  • Center for Holistic Development, $25,000, New hire for outreach and marketing
  • Centro Latino of Iowa, $25,000, Cultural Competency and Racial Equity Initiative
  • Community Justice Center, $8,119, Restorative Justice Intervention
  • Education Rights Counsel, $13,267, Capacity building to include more counsel of color
  • El Museo Latino, $25,000, Educational programs and community events
  • Emerging Ladies Academy, $9,000, Mentorship and education programming
  • Great Plains Black History Museum, $14,932, Increase capacity for virtual operations
  • Heartland Workers Center, $25,000, Leadership development and civic engagement programming for immigrants and underrepresented communities
  • I Be Black Girl, $25,000, Strengths-based environmental scan of the needs of Black women and girls
  • Immigrant Legal Center, $25,000, Embedded legal service providers in hospitals and health clinics
  • Intercultural Senior Center, $25,000, Expanded interpretation services for seniors.
  • NOISE (North Omaha Information Support Everyone), $25,000, In-depth reporting about civic and social issues that relate to local residents.
  • Simple Foundation, $14,874, Organized athletics for underserved minority youth
  • Survivors Rising, $24,535, Support for Black women survivors of sexual violence and exploitation
  • The Black College & Cultural Enrichment Experience, $12,861, Virtual workshops to support minority college applicants
  • Whispering Roots, $12,905, Direct emergency food services for impoverished, immune-compromised, quarantined, elderly, and at-risk community members

“We’re pleased with this year’s move to exclusively support organizations that are working to impact equity and opportunity for BIPOC members of our community. It’s an important and timely focus for the Metro and a part of the Foundation’s focus on improving equity in Omaha-Council Bluffs.”

– Anne Meysenburg, Omaha Community Foundation Director of Community Investment

Requests most often came from Arts & Culture organizations that are working to promote racial justice and celebrate different racial and cultural identities. It’s important to note that the coronavirus pandemic has deeply affected Arts & Culture funding in our community, which is likely another reason for the high number of requests from that sector. Education and Health related organizations were then the second most frequently requested. These organizations often spoke to the health and education disparities due to institutional racism and how their work focused on addressing those needs. Organizations also asked for support in examining their own practices and policies with a goal of shifting toward greater racial justice. Some of the requests focused on examining organizations’ internal operations and raising the consciousness and competence of their staff in addressing issues of white supremacy.

“It’s important to note that the coronavirus pandemic has deeply affected Arts & Culture funding in our community, which is likely another reason for the high number of requests from that sector.”

– Emily Nguyen, Omaha Community Foundation Director of Research and Evaluation

Additional learnings and insights from this grant cycle included:

  • 32 new applicants in 2020. Half of all applicants had not applied for FFO funding in the last ten years.
  • Half of the organizations who applied were small organizations with budgets under $500,000.
  • Requests Ranged From $5,000-$25,000. More than half of the applicants asked for $25,000.

To learn more about the Fund for Omaha grant program and funding criteria, click here.