Representatives from 50 different community foundation funds were on hand for this year’s Nebraska Community Foundation Annual Celebration and Training. The event put a focus on making connections.
“I came here today to learn best practices, about what we can learn from all people across the state, and how we can translate that back to our hometowns,” Sarah Sinnett of Sidney said. Sinnett says she chose to attend the celebration with the hope of learning more about entrepreneurship. She came away energized. “You get so excited and inspired by coming to these events, and it’s something you can’t contain in bottle,” Sinnett said. “You leave, and you have the momentum to go and do something impactful for your community.”
Tyler Pribbeno is with the Imperial Community Foundation Fund. He enjoys coming to the annual event. “It’s always a chance to get my cup filled back up from my peers across the state,” Pribbeno said. Thanks to direction from the celebration and training, he plans to continue working toward building a place that’s welcoming. “I’ve learned today that we’ve got to make connections through invitations to everybody in our community, to make sure we don’t miss anybody,” Pribbeno said. “That way, we can capture their time, their talent, and those ideas, and create a welcoming and belonging place for everybody.”
For many at the event, just the chance to be together was a good feeling. “You know, we really haven’t been back together since COVID,” NCF Affiliated Fund Development Coordinator Jana Jensen said. “I think people are just connecting at a different level this year, and it’s just exciting to see the energy.”
“250 different communities have funds with the Nebraska Community Foundation. and we are here today to learn and celebrate,” McCook Community Foundation’s Gavin Harsh said. “We get to tell stories of what worked, and what didn’t work. We can help each other out, and build a connected community.” One of the popular topics at the 2022 celebration was people attraction. Other topics were a priority as well. “I think something that dove tails (from people attraction) is entrepreneurship,” Diller Community Foundation’s Kayla Schnuelle said. “Having young students that are graduating from our high schools and college systems know they can start their businesses locally, and we will help support them, is important. Growing your own is important.”
Another highlight of the annual celebration and training was a chance to take part in peer-to-peer learning. “It’s very intergenerational,” NCF Director of Peer Learning Anders Olson said. “There are people here that have been doing this work for 40 years, and there are people here who’ve been doing it for 4 months. So, there’s a lot of wisdom being shared in the room. This year, we had about 260 people from 50 different affiliated funds come to our celebration in La Vista, so it’s pretty close to record numbers for us.” Organizers hope those record numbers of people will go home inspired. “This is my 20th annual celebration,” Jensen said. “I just hope people connect here, and take away new nuggets of goodness they can put back into their communities.”