The objective of the Economic Growth and Opportunity impact area is to bolster a vital, diverse and growing economy that advances individual and community prosperity. Our priority strategies include:
Goal: Support efforts to improve Nebraska’s economic competitiveness, strengthen regional economies, and revitalize distressed communities.
We have a particular focus on efforts that drive economic activity and improve employment in the Omaha-Council Bluffs urban core, in low-income neighborhoods in the Omaha Metro, and in key regions of economic activity across Nebraska.
Goal: Cultivate a skilled workforce and foster entrepreneurial activity to fuel economic growth.
We have a particular focus on efforts that support key sectors that drive economic growth and promote high wage, high skill, high demand jobs.
Goal: Expand opportunities for low-income individuals and families to achieve greater economic success.
We have a particular focus on efforts that provide education, job training, and support services to people working hard to improve their economic circumstances.
Grant: $450,000 three-year program grant
The Clip: Executive Director, Jim Reiff, on diversity of people served through the program.
“NEF recognized there was a need for more business lending. That direct lending last year was our biggest year. We did 106 loans worth over 3 million dollars.”
From time to time, the foundation develops targeted grant programs and special initiatives to address specific areas of need. The foundation’s current Economic Growth and Opportunity initiatives include:
The foundation initiated this community redevelopment effort in 2008 to stimulate rejuvenation of North Downtown. The goal of the effort is to foster an environment attractive to the “creative class” of entrepreneurs, artisans, techies, and business start-ups, known as a “Makerhood.” The foundation partnered with several other private philanthropists to launch the initiative, which is known by its legal name, Future Forward, LLC. To date, 20 parcels of property containing 175,000 square feet of useable space have been assembled at a cost of approximately $7 million. Public announcement of the project was made on September 22 and planning for leasing and public use is underway. If you need additional information, please contact Jen Olds.