The Nebraska Community Foundation network wouldn’t be much of a network without its volunteers. Every day, NCF’s 1,500 volunteers set their sights on improving their communities—whether they’re lifelong residents or newcomers building a life in Greater Nebraska. Many work behind the scenes while others are the face of their affiliated fund in the community. Regardless of their roles, our volunteers all put in the hours to make their hometowns shine.
Volunteering comes naturally to those of us living the Good Life. Nebraska ranks 6th nationally according to an AmeriCorps volunteer survey, with more than 40% of Nebraska respondents reporting they volunteered. Studies show volunteering has significant impact on individual and community health. According to research, volunteering results in increased levels of community connectedness and overall trust in neighbors, potentially creating an environment of reciprocity, with higher engagement and more residents involved in volunteering.
On this Volunteer Recognition Day, we want to celebrate our volunteers, and we couldn’t think of a better way to do so than to let them explain in their own words why they continue to work with their local affiliated funds.
“Our communities are only as good as we make them! I believe investing time and talent in the place you live is always worth it. When I first found out about the Nemaha County Future Fund, I immediately felt everyone else in the 44 needed to hear about it too. The unrestricted endowment is an incredible gift for the people and causes that exist here. I’m grateful to help grow it and continue leveraging its impact for good in Nemaha County.”
Julia Lambert, Nemaha County Future Fund
“I do it because I believe in it. I believe that if you are not involved in a community, you don’t own a community.”
Judy Brockmeier, Eustis Area Community Foundation Fund
“I live in Leigh, the town I grew up in, and for me, it has always been a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t I want to do this work? I always go back to the question “If not me, who? If not now, when?” I believe passionately in the importance of helping our small towns thrive. I feel very connected to my own hometown and school where my parents and grandparents all graduated from, so of course I want to see them prosper. But it goes beyond that. I felt growing up that people just automatically assumed that the best and brightest kids in each year’s graduating class would leave and never look back because the real opportunities were elsewhere. I never understood why that was, and I think my generation is really challenging that narrative all across Nebraska as we go out of our way to move back to our hometowns or make our lives in other small towns across the state. Watching the town I grew up in grow and change and thrive is so exciting! It is pure joy to work with people on my FAC who are as committed to the future of our town as I am. I want to make it the very best it can be for the students I teach, as well as my own children. NCF supports this vision that we all share, and they challenge us to dream big and believe in the potential of what we can accomplish!”
Justine Fischer, Leigh Legacy Fund
“I want to make the world a better place
for my children to enjoy.”
Dee Hanson, Columbus Area Future Fund
“Ravenna is my hometown and I feel it’s our responsibility to do what we can to ensure that Ravenna and our community grow and prosper for many years to come. Volunteering to better your community is so important, and it’s a pretty good feeling too.”
Sue Zeller, Ravenna Area Vision Fund
“I enjoy working with the Nebraska City Community Foundation Fund because our mission is ‘investing in people.’ This particular emphasis leads to all sorts of opportunities for great discussions, and even grant requests. We are blessed with family foundations in Nebraska City that invest in ‘things,’ so investing in people is a different slant. We have helped with workshops, programs of all kinds, planning and research studies, and scholarships. The work is very challenging and rewarding.
I have also enjoyed working with the members of our FAC. Some of these folks I have known for a long time, and some are new friendships. All have gifts and ideas to contribute.”
Sharon Hersemann, Nebraska City Community Foundation Fund
“I work with Bertrand Area Community Fund because somebody asked me to do it. I think that’s the most important thing. People aren’t going to work with you if you don’t ask them to.”
Karen Nelson, Bertrand Area Community Fund
“I am a member of the Nemaha County Future Fund Advisory Committee simply because the future of our community matters greatly to me and my family. The value we add for local nonprofits is huge. NCFF supports local nonprofits with grants that allow them to empower our community and by doing so we are bettering the community we call home. Investing in our future makes our lives richer and provides for generations to come!”
Rebecca Johnson, Nemaha County Future Fund
“I have been with the FAC from the beginning. It has been awesome seeing all the progress that has been made. The Fund Advisory Committee would love to see our group grow to include more members from the community. Together we can make a stronger community.”
Denise Bolling, Ravenna Area Vision Fund
“I do this work with the Fund because Palisade has so much potential, and this is an opportunity for us to use the Fund as a tool in order to help our community. When people are helped then they also become their best, and best people are great people to have around.”
Elle McMurray, Palisade Community Foundation Fund
“I do this work because I believe in our community and I want to see the community come together and build a place for people to come home.”
Troy Ruda, Eustis Area Community Foundation Fund
Thank you to every single one of our volunteers who work every day to make Greater Nebraska the perfect place to call home!