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:

Economic Development

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.

Talent Development

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.

Economic Opportunity

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.

Our Work in Action

Grantee Feature: Nebraska Enterprise Fund, Oakland, Nebraska.

Grant: $450,000 three-year program grant
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.”

Center for Rural Affairs

To provide program support for REAP Women’s Business Center.

Lyons, Nebraska

Rural Enterprise Assistance Project

To provide program support for the New American Loan Fund.

Lyons, Nebraska

Urban League of Nebraska

To provide general operating support.

Omaha, Nebraska

Midlands Latino CDC

To support the Micro-Lending Program.

Omaha, Nebraska

Nebraska Enterprise Fund

To provide support for loan capital for microenterprise and small business start-ups.

Oakland, Nebraska

Heartland Workforce Solutions

To provide general operating support.

Omaha, Nebraska


Current & Special Initiatives

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:

Future Forward

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.