March 8th is a global day to honor the achievements of women. Today, we highlight some of the organizations changing futures for women and girls right in our community. Each of these organizations received a Community Interest Funds grant in 2023 for projects that serve women and girls.

New American Urban Farmers

Most of the New American families in Omaha live in a food desert, and there is a limited choice of culturally familiar vegetables they can buy at grocery stores. This limits the amount of vegetables eaten, which in turn affects their health. Through the New American Urban Farmer project, culturally appropriate vegetables are grown and made available to the community through distribution to international grocery stores where New American communities shop. These vegetables also are accessible at farmer’s markets as well as at the garden where the vegetables are grown.

With a $10,000 grant for staff and supplies for the urban farm, the results were staggering. The farm sold $13,000 of vegetables in 2023, compared to the $3,000 in 2022. More than 500 households in Omaha, Lincoln, and surrounding states were impacted. The Sudanese community in Canada also reached out about starting a similar program.

“In addition to serving our primary audience, it’s noteworthy that our project unintentionally extended its positive impact on the community, fostering not only physical health through organic eating but also emotional well-being by providing a taste of home to those who may be geographically distant from their cultural roots,” said founder Christine Ross.


MOMentum helps moms who are unemployed or underemployed secure and achieve success in new career opportunities. Their board members and staff understand the experiences of moms and the systems keeping women and children in poverty as they all have lived experiences as single moms.

In 2023, they were awarded $12,500 from various community-led committees for career coaching and ongoing support and a career empowerment workshop. In the career coaching, MOMentum’s founder and President Meredith Metcalf meets with women individually to learn about their strengths, employment histories and goals, barriers to employment, and visions for the future. Together, they develop an action plan to address immediate needs, crisis management, and long-term goals.

In addition to career coaching, MOMentum partnered with other groups last year to serve more women. They worked with participants at Financial Hope Collaborative to understand the basics of resume-writing, interview preparation, background checks, and pay negotiations; they also provided important tips for navigating the workplace as a single mom.

Emerging Ladies Academy

The Emerging Ladies Academy is dedicated to providing tech education, mentorship, and a safe space for Black girls to develop a bright future as skilled workers and leaders in science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

The nonprofit received $10,000 from the community-led African American Unity Fund for their Tech Academy, which teaches young Black women about technology and breaking down barriers. The program functions as both an equalizer and an elevator. Tech Academy participants learn about software development while also becoming active in technology through guest speakers, local student volunteers, and field trips that immerse them in tech. Girls are able to learn more about the career field and try different things to better understand their skills and interests.

A Mother’s Love

Fewer babies born in Nebraska and Iowa are low birth weight compared to the average rate for the United States. However, in Douglas County and Nebraska as a whole, babies born to mothers who identify as Black are more than twice as likely to be low birth weight, compared to babies born to mothers who identify as white.

With a dedicated maternal wellness space, A Mother’s Love was able to offer classes and services to women and their children including doula services, massages, belly casts and more. The organization received a $30,000 grant from the African American Unity Fund for the space.

Families in Action/Familias en Acción

While many people have returned to pre-pandemic norms, the effects of COVID isolation and instability continue to affect many women and families today. More than half of Latinx people reported the impacts of the pandemic taking a mental, financial, and physical toll.

Through Mujeres y su Bienestar, Families in Action was able hold an intensive round of the evidence-based “Wellness Recovery Action Plan” (WRAP) courses in Spanish. The course encouraged participants to build their own individualized mental wellness plans to alleviate stressors and identify potential triggers. With a $10,000 grant from the community-led Futuro Latino Fund, the women behind Families in Action were able to accomplish great things last year including:

  • Workshops that reached 92 Latina women
  • Art classes that reached 123 Latina women, teens and youth
  • Mental wellness charlas (chats) reached an average of 25 women weekly

LIVE Leadership Camp

This week-long summer camp brings young Latina women together to grow in their faith, embrace their heritage, and be empowered to be leaders. LIVE Leadership Camp was awarded $20,000 from the community-led Futuro Latino fund to support the program’s 17th year serving middle schoolers.

Now that the camp has been available for almost two decades, the campers’ successess are translating into the adult world. The group’s board president was a camper, became a counselor, and has now served on the leadership team for four years.

Access Period

Research from U by Kotex shows that two in five people who menstruate struggle to afford period products, and four in five students either missed or knew someone who missed class time because they didn’t have access to period products. Data also suggests that this issue disproportionately impacts Black and Latina women.

With a $7,800 grant from the community-led Refugee Community Grant Fund, Access Period was able to team up with Restoring Dignity to provide 875 3-month period supply kits and create educational materials – translated into eight languages – for their Welcome Home Program. With the success of the partnership, Access Period secured funding to continue the program into the future, including other culturally sensitive additions to their period products.

MAC Foundation

Established in 2022, the MAC Foundation empowers, connects, and elevates underserved entrepreneurs and promotes cultural awareness, diversity, equity and inclusion. The Foundation is run by a 5-member board of African Americans, black immigrants and asylum seekers/refugees.

The MAC Foundation received $5,000 grant from the resident-led Refugee Community Grant Fund for the SUIT UP and Rising CEOS programs for refugee, immigrant, and underserved BIPOC youth and young adults.

Nebraska is among the top ten states for the number refugees resettled per capita. SUIT Up provides business attire, resume reviews and coaching. The Rising CEOS program provides 8-10 weeks of education, technology, leadership and business programing.

Refugee Women Rising

Refugee Women Rising provides immigrant and refugee women self-determined opportunities through professional training and holistic wellness. They offer several opportunities to refugee women in Omaha from wellness to culinary skills training.

The organization received a $9,000 grant from the community-led Community Interest Funds at the Omaha Community Foundation for their driver’s education course. Through workshops and hands-on instructions, they give individuals the knowledge and confidence to obtain a driver’s license. Their success goes far beyond the numbers, but includes how many social, emotional, and cultural barriers women overcome to get their licenses.

“Success is when Fatima takes uber to our office for appointments; when Rachel, a single mom, brings her baby to safety workshops and other students take turns holding the infant; success is the outright elation of students during RWR license graduation ceremonies,” said Pamela Font-Gabel, Executive Director of Refugee Women Rising.

Still, the numbers are impressive. The organization hoped to work with 50 women in 2023, however, they were able to enroll 120 women.

  • 94% of participants are mothers
  • 10% are single mothers
  • 98% are first-time drivers
  • 98% of students self-identify English as a second language
  • 40% of instructors are single mothers
  • The instructors (combined) speak ten languages

We encourage you to take time to learn more about these organizations where local women are serving other women.

You can learn more about our Community Interest Funds and how putting the power of grantmaking into the hands of those affected, is a unique initiative. You can donate to the Community Interest Funds here.