In May, the Omaha community came together to raise $6.8 million for nonprofits across Douglas, Sarpy, and Pottawattamie Counties.
In the few weeks since then, we’ve heard stories from nonprofits and donors alike about the fun they had giving back on May 22.
And the spirit of generosity has no age requirements—from kids volunteering at nonprofit events, to using the power of social media to fundraise, some of the stories we continue to be inspired by most are the people using the day to introduce the next generation of philanthropists to the power of collective giving.
We’re excited to share how two members of the next generation celebrated Omaha Gives! with their favorite nonprofits.
Barn Raising: Using Omaha Gives! to Give Back
Caroline Covi comes by her philanthropic spirit honestly.
While her parents are active community volunteers, among all the family connections to the nonprofit community, there is one that Caroline loves above the rest: Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy (HETRA).
Caroline has been attending programs at HETRA since she was three years old. She’s now an active 16-year-old high school student and rides a horse at HETRA every week. She also volunteers in the barn and has worked there as part of its Life Skills program.
Her favorite horse at HETRA is Diamond.
“She’s challenging, which is good for me,” Caroline said. Even after 13 years of riding, she said she still gets sore after her sessions.
Caroline’s mom, Jessica, is certain horses and HETRA will be in Caroline’s life indefinitely, so when opportunities arise to raise money for HETRA, the family is all in.
“It’s such an important organization to our family. Caroline loves every minute of being there,” Jessica said.
Caroline recently starred in a video for HETRA’s annual Blue Jeans and Dreams fundraising event – and Jessica used that video on her Facebook page to solicit donations for Omaha Gives! (one commenter said “Two pretty awesome ladies talking about HETRA in that video! Love it. I will send something today in honor of my favorite horse lover!”). HETRA collected nearly $10,000 on Omaha Gives! day from 96 donors.
Caroline also raised $5,453 in last year’s Drive 2 Ride campaign organized by HETRA, coming in third of all of HETRA’s riders.
She’s grateful for the role HETRA has had in her life; “It’s built my confidence,” Caroline said.
Long-Time Volunteer, But Omaha Gives! First-timer
Lizzie Waddell’s mom was a long-time volunteer for Grief’s Journey, a place where people find help, understanding, comfort and hope after suffering a loss. And now Lizzie is continuing the family tradition.
“I used to help my mom with the auction items for their annual fundraising event even before I was old enough to attend,” Lizzie said.
Now as a psychology major at Wayne State, she helped organize a service project for her sorority based on the ideas she learned through volunteering at Grief’s Journey throughout her childhood.
So even though Lizzie was unfamiliar with Omaha Gives! until this year, it was an easy “yes” when she was asked to volunteer on May 22 at the Grief’s Journey event.
“It was fun and different, and really there’s no better way to spend my time,” she said.
Being there for others is a big motivation for Lizzie. Which as she found out, is the essence of Omaha Gives!
“Having a day where people can donate and volunteer and get nonprofits’ names out there more is exciting,” she said. “It’s important to take time and think about people other than ourselves.”