Cooper Foundation does not accept unsolicited applications.

To be invited to submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), please contact us at with information about your organization, your project and its budget.

Our online grant process consists of two phases: (1) Invited applicants must submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) by the deadlines noted below. (2) Cooper Foundation staff will review the LOI and determine to advance it to the application stage. Applicants will be notified to submit a full application.

The Cooper Foundation board meets quarterly, in March, May, September and December. The Letter of Inquiry (LOI) deadlines for those meetings are:

  •  LOI due January 1
  •  LOI due March 15
  •  LOI due July 15
  •  LOI due September 15


Cooper Foundation considers proposals in five program areas: Arts, Education, the Environment, Human Services and the Humanities.


Highest priority is for organizations based in and serving Lincoln and Lancaster County. Requests from outside this area must serve a regional or statewide area and meet the Foundation’s highest funding priorities.


We accept applications only from non-profit organizations that have contacted us, been asked to submit, are located in Nebraska and classified as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) and public charities under section 509(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code.

  • Program or Operating Support:
    We accept applications for program and operating support. Requests in support of technology must have the promise of significant improvement in organizational effectiveness.
  • Challenge and Contingent Grants: 
    The challenge or contingency must be met within one year from the approval date.
  • Collaborative Requests: 
    The objective must have substantially greater impact than if undertaken by a single organization. Organizations receiving a collaborative grant may apply separately for other purposes.
  • Re-application: 
    Re-application cannot be made sooner than twelve months after grant approval or decline, or while the organization has an active grant with the Foundation. 

We rarely...

  • Are the sole funder of a proposal
  • Make multi-year grants

We do not fund: individuals; businesses; building construction or renovation; health organizations or issues; churches; religious organizations or issues; travel; memberships; endowments; non-501(c)(3) organizations; 509(a)(3) supporting organizations; fiscal agents; private foundations.