Caring for our communities

Community-based affiliated funds might be the most abundant fund-type in the NCF network, but they certainly aren’t the only ones improving their places. Among the over 256 funds across the state are donor-advised funds, field of interest funds, organizational funds, and more. Boone, Brown, Chase, Fillmore, Thayer, Kearney, Valley, and Holt counties have each established organizational funds to support a critically important community amenity – their local hospitals.

Shawn Jaeger, Foundation and Marketing Coordinator at Chase County Community Hospital & Clinics, hasn’t been on the job long but immediately recognized the benefit of building an endowment. Prior to working at the hospital, he was a financial adviser, an experience that provided him with a deep understanding of NCF’s financial management practices and investment strategy.

The Chase County Hospital Foundation Board and Fund Advisory Committee, with which Jaeger works closely in his role, has shifted priorities in recent years. CARES Act money has helped put the hospital in much improved financial standing which freed up the fund to get serious about planning for the future.

“Now is the time—we have this window of opportunity,” said Jaeger.

Luckily, the Chase County community sees the benefits of building an endowment too. The fund recently received a $100,000 pledge from an anonymous donor. The donor recommended that the fund maximize their contribution with a challenge, something they had seen Imperial’s community-based NCF affiliated fund do successfully in recent years. Jaeger said he’s certain that NCF’s vast experience with both endowment-building and challenge grants were among the things that moved the donor to make such a generous investment in the organization’s future.

About two hundred and forty miles east in Thayer County, they’re focused on endowment building, too. The Foundation for Thayer County Health Fund established its unrestricted endowment in 2019 with a generous planned gift from longtime Thayer County resident, Johannes Dittbrenner. Since then, it has grown significantly thanks in part to a commitment that 5% of all contributions to the hospital’s foundation go directly into the unrestricted endowment account.

Foundation for Thayer County Health Services Fund is also taking advantage of numerous opportunities available exclusively to members of the NCF network. It hosted three students through the Hometown Internships program which links young people to work opportunities in their hometown and plans to host again this summer.

During the pandemic, the fund made use of both the Bridging the Learning Gap and Connecting Elders with Family funding opportunities through NCF. Bridging the Learning Gap was instrumental in getting Thayer County’s behavioral health services up and running. Since then, they’ve had to bring a second mental health professional on board and are looking for more space to accommodate growing demand.

Rita Luongo, Marketing and Development Director at Thayer County Health Services, says her biggest dream for the fund is more collaboration with the eight NCF affiliated funds serving Thayer County.


“Anytime we can keep funds in the county we all benefit.”

– Rita Luongo, Thayer County

More from Community Success

All News

Nurturing the next generation of Nebraska entrepreneurs

Daycos Bike Build gives Norfolk residents wheels of their own

Communal spirit fuels McCook challenge grant victories