Sara Coffee Radil, Casey Garrigan and Judy Parks: Let’s empower communities

Radil and Garrigan, of Omaha, and Parks, of Papillion, serve on the Nebraska Community Foundation board.

On Nov. 2, hundreds of Nebraskans hailing from hometowns of all sizes and geographic proximity will convene at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in La Vista for Nebraska Community Foundation’s annual celebration, a gathering of ambitious citizens committed to building stronger, more prosperous communities across the state.

We invite you to join us, a growing network of dreamers and change-makers, to celebrate and be inspired by the remarkable achievements of your fellow Nebraskans.

The three of us are among 18 individuals serving on the statewide board of directors for Nebraska Community Foundation, an organization that is empowering communities, particularly those located in rural Nebraska, to reach their highest potentials.

Nebraska Community Foundation isn’t your typical community foundation. It isn’t a charity; it doesn’t make grants.

Instead, Nebraska Community Foundation is putting power in the hands of the people most qualified to make decisions about the future of our Greater Nebraska communities — those who live and work there.

Together, we’re envisioning a brighter future, leveraging every local asset and acting on community needs and opportunities. Together we’re building a Greater Nebraska.

This partnership model works, and it’s yielding extraordinary results on the local level. Working through Nebraska Community Foundation, a network of 1,500 volunteers is bucking the narrative we’ve grown accustomed to hearing about rural places.

They are making bold investments in early childhood development and expanded learning opportunities.

They are enhancing the quality of life through recreational and cultural opportunities in their places.

They are supporting local entrepreneurs and businesses in ways that benefit not only their communities, but also the entire state.

And importantly, these communities are attracting young families to or back to Nebraska to live, work and raise their families. In fact, in 52 of our most rural counties, the population of 30- and 40-year-olds is on the rise.

This year’s celebration, appropriately themed “Together a Greater Nebraska,” will center on the notion that as Nebraskans, our successes are intertwined and interrelated, and when it comes to community development work, we’re all in this together.

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