Peter Kiewit Foundation is here for our grantees and communities to help navigate these uncertain times. See our list of COVID-19 resources.

November 2018 Issue

From the Executive Director:
Top Ten Things I Learned Over Two Crazy, Crazy Months of Travel


UNO Student Success Academy


Prairie Loft Center


Urban League of Nebraska

Sign Up for Our Quarterly Newsletter

Grant Support Helps Urban League of Nebraska Build a Diverse Workforce in Omaha

Raising the Bar | Economic Growth & Opportunity | November 2018

In December of 2017, the foundation awarded the Urban League of Nebraska a two-year $150,000 operating support grant..

Since 1927, the Urban League has been working in Omaha to advocate for economic self-reliance, parity, power, civil rights and equal opportunity for all. Today, the organization puts focus on three key areas: education and youth development, employment and career services, and civil rights advocacy.

“The operational grant from the foundation allows us to provide a source of matching funds as we pursue other grant applications.”

– Urban League of Nebraska CEO and President, Thomas H. Warren Sr. The funds also supplement support for programs that serve the community on a daily basis

The array of services and programs provided by the Urban League is extensive, from youth after school programs to voter registration efforts. The unifying goal of these offerings is to chip away at the socio-economic gap in the African American community and other emerging ethnic communities in Nebraska.

One way to close the socio-economic gap is to reduce poverty. “Poverty is a complex phenomena so we address it in a comprehensive manner,” says Warren. “We do feel you have to address poverty at its root cause versus treating its symptoms.”

“We meet our clients where they are, treat them with dignity and respect,” says Warren. The ultimate objective is to provide the assistance needed to help their clients become educated, employed, and productive citizens.

Jerry Byrd, a graduate of the Urban League’s Career Boot Camp, is one such example of the assistance the Urban League provides. After working in the manufacturing sector for 21 years Mr. Byrd was changing career paths. Through the Career Boot Camp, Byrd received an introduction to online applications, assistance on using computer technology, help with his resume, and the opportunity to take part in mock interview sessions. In fact, it was at a career development event with Urban League’s partner OPPD, that Byrd was offered a job on the spot

“We’ve seen dramatic improvement in closing achievement gaps regarding graduation rates and our unemployment rate as result of our efforts,” says Warren. “African Americans living in Omaha have one of lowest unemployment rates in the United States for an urban community at 6.9%. As recent as 2011 it was 17.2%.”

The next challenge for the Urban League is continuing to close the achievement gaps in education and employment. The city of Omaha is at a level of near full employment and has begun recruiting job-seekers. The Urban League knows there is still a segment of Omaha’s population that is under or unemployed so they continue to be aggressive in their recruitment efforts. The hope is to identify those un- or underemployed individuals in order to meet their needs and help them reach their full potential.

“We appreciate the Kiewit Foundation’s support of the Urban League of Nebraska. We’ve been involved in a number of different initiatives with them in the area of diversity and inclusion,” says Warren, “and so it’s certainly a partnership that’s mutually beneficial.”

The Urban League is looking forward to hosting their annual Equal Opportunity Day Luncheon on December 7th. The luncheon is an opportunity to celebrate local leaders and organizations for their contributions to diversity and inclusion practices in the workplace and community. For more information go to