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Capacity Building:

Top Ten Ways Peter Kiewit Foundation Can Help YOU!

Raising the Bar | From the Executive Director | February 2018


By: Jeff Kutash, Executive Director

At Peter Kiewit Foundation, we have long supported capacity building as an important part of our work. Our signature program, The Fundraising School, has been presented every other year since 1998 by The Lily School of Philanthropy. You can’t throw a duck at the Nonprofit Association of the Midland’s annual summit without hitting an executive director or development director that has taken part in that program. Over the past five years, we’ve also presented over ten full-day workshops on topics such as governance, storytelling, financial literacy, evaluation, and strategic planning. And in the fall of 2016, we extended our offerings beyond Omaha to present workshops in Grand Island and Norfolk. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We aspire to help our grantees and our partners in a variety of ways. Please find below my top ten list of how we might be able to help YOUR organization.

10 | Ask our program officers for help.

We seek to add value to our grantees and partners. Our team can connect you with partners, point you to additional resources, and share observations of what we see in our work across multiple organizations, issues, and geographies. And be honest with us about your challenges, because when you are, we can structure our grants to best support your work.

9 | Attend one of our workshops or seminars.

In April 2018, we’ll be hosting Building Innovation Capacity presented in Omaha, Grand Island, and Norfolk by Gilbert and Chittenden. In October 2018, we’ll be hosting The Fundraising School’s Principles & Techniques of Fundraising presented in Omaha by The Lily School of Philanthropy (cost subsidized for those traveling to attend.) Contact Paul Ternes to learn more.

8 | Include “technical assistance” as part of your grant application.

We have made grants that include support for strategic planning, executive coaching, professional development, board training and development, fundraising, performance management, evaluation, communications, branding, website design, merger planning, fiscal planning, organizational development, and quality program design.

7 | Include “infrastructure expenses” as part of your grant application.

We have made grants that include support to purchase software, computers and hardware, furniture and equipment, client management and relationship systems, and other items that improve efficiency and productivity.

6 | Include “collaboration funding” as part of your grant application.

We have made grants to support collective impact, multi-organization partnerships, and other activities that promote cooperative work.

5 | Include “go on the road” opportunities as part of your grant application.

We have made grants that include visits to other communities to observe best practices, learn from like organizations, and attend conferences as a delegation.

4 | Include “community empowerment” as part of your grant application.

We have made grants to support municipalities’ and neighborhoods’ efforts to build leadership capacity, engage the community in visioning and planning, and set local priorities.

3 | Apply for an ArtStock grant.

This annual program awards capacity building grants to arts organizations in Douglas County, and convenes those organizations to work together to build the capacity of the arts sector more broadly. (2018 application is closed.)

2 | Call on us to champion your work.

We are committed to your success. Don’t hesitate to call on us if you need an advocate, a letter of support, or a funder to attend a meeting with you.

1 | Engage us in building the capacity of your sector.

While most of our capacity building work focuses on individual organizations, we can also be an ally in helping to improve the policy, funding, or regulatory environment in which you do your work.

I hope the list above prompts you to think about all the ways we can be your partner and best support your impact. But I also want you to know that we fully believe in building philanthropic capacity as well. So we send our staff to conferences, we hold trainings in our office, and we focus on feedback and professional development in our culture. And in March, we are hosting “Effective Philanthropy”, a two-day workshop presented in Omaha by the Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University. We are sending six members of our team, and we have over 20 other registrants from foundations in Omaha, Lincoln, and Greater Nebraska. After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander!