New members join Nebraska Community Foundation board

Five Nebraskans from across the state joined Nebraska Community Foundation’s Board of Directors last month, following a unanimous vote by existing board members.

“Our board members are wholly committed to building stronger communities and a Greater Nebraska,” said Jeff Yost, Nebraska Community Foundation president and CEO. “They put in countless hours to make our hometowns more attractive and resilient places and further NCF’s work and mission. We are honored to have them serve and represent Nebraska communities of all sizes across the state.”

Jeffrey Gerhart is chairman of the Bank of Newman Grove and president of Gerhart Insurance Agency. He is a fourth-generation Nebraskan and resides in Newman Grove. Gerhart has served on the Newman Grove Community Foundation Fund, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation, since its beginning and volunteers on its advisory committee.

He has also served in the leadership of the Nebraska Independent Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers of America and the Federal Reserve Board of Kansas City board of directors.

He is a member of the Newman Grove Community Club, United Methodist Church in Newman Grove and the Newman Grove Masonic Lodge #305 Ancient Free & Accepted Masons.

Megan Helberg grew up on a ranch in the Sandhills of Loup County. She has been a member of her local NCF affiliated fund, the Calamus Area Community Fund, for six years and was selected to attend David Brooks’ conference, “Weave the People” held in D.C. in 2019 with the Foundation. Megan thoroughly enjoys learning through experience, which has been the catalyst to take her across the world. She proudly calls rural Loup County her home, where she teaches secondary English at Burwell Public School.

Holocaust and genocide education is a passion for Megan and she feels strongly about providing opportunities for her students that include glimpses into various cultures and ways of live. In 2013, Megan received a Fund for Teachers grant. She used this opportunity to visit Holocaust-related sites throughout Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Helberg also used the grant money to purchase class sets of Holocaust literature resources for her school. Megan was named a Museum Teacher Fellow for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in 2016 and has spent extensive time at the USHMM learning from world-renowned historians, authors and survivors.

Helberg founded a travel club for her school and community members to travel together and bridge the gap between school and community. She brings her travel experiences back to her classroom in Burwell. Helberg received the prestigious honor of being named the 2020 Nebraska Teacher of the Year.

Dr. Chuck Hibberd grew up in Cozad and Lexington before completing degrees in Animal Science at UNL and Oklahoma state University. Although initially interested in beef cattle consulting, his 38-year career focused on teaching, research and extension roles in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Indiana.

Hibberd retired June 30, 2020 following eight years of service as Dean and Director of Nebraska Extension. Prior to this appointment, he was associate dean, director of extension and assistant vice president of engagement at Purdue University. He also served 13 years as director of the UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. Hibberd started his career as a faculty member in the Animal Science Department at Oklahoma State University.

Hibberd has served Cooperative Extension regionally and nationally. He was a nine-year member of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy, the national governing board of the Cooperative Extension Section representing 76 land-grant based Extension programs across the U.S. In October 2018, he completed a term as national board chair for ECOP.

Adam Pavelka of Hastings is a real estate broker and farm manager with Agri Affiliates, Inc. Prior to joining Agri Affiliates, Inc., Pavelka practiced law in south-central Nebraska, serving families and businesses in the areas of estate planning, business law and real estate. Pavelka grew up on a farm near Blue Hill where he remains active in his family’s operation.

Pavelka is a past president of the Prairie Loft Center for Outdoor and Agricultural Education and serves the Adams Central FFA Alumni as treasurer. He also served two recent terms on the Mary Lanning Health Care Foundation and is a current board member of the Great Plains Federal Tax Institute.

Kent Warneke worked 37 years in the newspaper business, including more than 30 as the editor and vice president of the Norfolk Daily News before making a change in 2019. He stepped down from his newspaper role and

now serves as director of grants and contracts at Northeast Community College in Norfolk. Following his departure from the Daily News, he was named editor emeritus.

Warneke’s civic involvement includes serving on the board of directors and chairman of the Nebraska Press Association, the Nebraska District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk and the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce. He founded Norfolk’s Great American Comedy Festival to honor Johnny Carson, and he’s wrapping up six years on the board of the Humanities Nebraska Foundation.


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