The Nebraska Community Foundation works with community, organizational and donor-advised affiliated funds serving 250 communities located in 80 counties. NCF and its affiliated funds have reinvested $269 million in Nebraska since 1994.
For several decades belief in the future of rural America and our hometowns has been in short supply. The continuing out-migration of our young people is the single greatest threat to the economic viability of many of our rural communities. Today, however, information technology is making it increasingly possible to live and work wherever we want to live and work. This new-found freedom has the potential to make rural America more economically relevant than it has been in some time. And it makes “place,” and the quality of life in that place, paramount.
The NCF system is designed to help local leaders involve everyone in contributing to the quality of life and economic vitality of their own community. It is an inclusive system for building community endowments where every gift, no matter how small, is celebrated. By building permanent community assets, our system reaches out to help everyone to deepen or rekindle their belief in the future of their hometown.
NCF encourages community leaders to build on Nebraska’s strong ethic of giving back, but to also develop goals based on community and economic development outcomes. We educate and empower leaders to be more intentional with their grantmaking, stronger advocates of their agenda, and less afraid of asking prospective donors to give. By these means, NCF is helping to develop an ethic of giving to support a spectrum of needs and opportunities that make rural communities better places to live and work.
Several NCF signature initiatives are underway to achieve our mission:
Due to reduced state aid, the Norfolk school district was unable to fund its High Achievers summer classes in 2011. Thanks to the Connie Endowment Fund, children were able to participate through an alternative Summer Arts Challenge at the Norfolk Arts Center. Teacher Mary Haas helps Isaiah Roemhildt during the third and fourth-grade “Mobiles” class at the Norfolk Arts Center.
Photo courtesy Norfolk Daily News.