Our mission is to support strong, sustainable organizations, innovative ideas and ventures of significant promise. The Foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations located in and working in Nebraska, primarily Lincoln and Lancaster County.

Grant Eligibility

We provide grants to nonprofit organizations located and working in Nebraska, primarily in our geographic priority area of Lincoln and Lancaster County. We fund programs and operations in the areas of the Arts, Civic and Community Engagement, Education, Environment, Human Services, and Humanities. Organizations must provide strong programming and evidence of sound governance and fiscal management.

Application Process

Organizations interested in applying should review our Eligibility & Funding Priorities. If you think our funding is a good fit for your organization or project, contact us at info@cooperfoundation.org. Include information about your organization, project or program, and budget. 

If our funding is a fit, we wil provide instructions to apply. We have a two-stage application in our online system and make grant decisions quarterly. Learn more about our forms, process, and funding considerations here.

Rapid Response Grants Recap

Learn about the Rapid Response grants awarded in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. Click here for the Recap.

Grants Approved – June 2022

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lincoln: $7,500
General operating support. 

Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties: $15,000
Funding to support furnishings, equipment, and technology for new rooms at Community Action Partnerships’ renovated early childhood education center at 18th and K Street.

Educare Lincoln: $10,000
To support the pilot of an early childhood workforce development program.

Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska: $10,500
Support toward the Lincoln Outreach Summer Series Day Camp program.

Junior Achievement of Lincoln: $10,000
General operating support. 

Lincoln Calling: $15,000
Staffing and organizational support for the Lincoln Calling Music and Arts Festival.

Lincoln Crossroads Music Festival: $10,000
Support for the 3rd Crossroads Music Festival in Lincoln, July 23-31, bringing internationally recognized artists to Lincoln to share the stage with local musicians and artists representing diverse cultural groups.

LUX Center for the Arts: $15,000
General operating support as LUX grows its three core programs: art education & outreach, artists-in-residence, and exhibitions.

Mid-America Arts Alliance (Kansas City, MO): $10,000
Second year funding for the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Initiative.

Nebraska Appleseed: $10,000
To support the Community Assistance Line to provide support and referral services for low-income Nebraskans.

Nebraska Cultural Endowment (Omaha, NE): $10,000
Operational funding for this private endowment that matches a public fund managed by the state of Nebraska to provide sustainability for the arts and humanities in Nebraska.

Nebraska Journalism Trust-Flatwater Free Press (Omaha, NE): $10,000
Funding for the Flatwater Free Press’ Lincoln Initiative to provide Lincoln residents with accessible, nonpartisan journalism. Flatwater is Nebraska’s first independent, nonprofit newsroom.

Nebraska Land Trust: $15,000
Staffing support for this organization that is a nationally recognized and accredited land trust that uses conservation easements to protect more than 32,000 acres of land across Nebraska.

United Way of Lincoln/Lancaster County: $15,000
To support the Lincoln Resettlement Fund, a one-time community fundraising effort for ongoing wrap around supports to enhance services for newly arrived Afghan and Ukrainian refugee families.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, School of Natural Resources: $5,000
Funding for Community Climate Awareness Week (October 2022), to address climate change and its implications for Nebraska with the goal of educating people of all ages and promoting action.

Vision Maker Media: $5,000
Support for the 9th biennial Vision Maker Media Film Festival that showcases a variety of American Indian, Alaska Native, and worldwide Indigenous films, and brings filmmakers in for public presentations and discussions.

Visionary Youth: $15,000
General operating support. Visionary youth provides basic needs items, formal mentorship opportunities, and a safe space for youth and families in Lincoln through back-to-school and holiday events and programming at their Community Hub. 

YWCA Lincoln: $20,000
General operating support for programming, partnerships, and capacity building for training and education programs.


The E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues has established itself as one of the preeminent speakers series in higher education. The series brings to Nebraska thought provoking lectures by speakers whose work and ideas impact our changing world. The Forum is a cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lied Center for Performing Arts, and University Honors Program.

2022 – 2023 Forum Season Schedule
“A Clear and Steady Eye: Storytelling and Our Shared History”
9.28.2022 – 7:30 PM – Lied Center for Performing Arts
Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities, Humanties Nebraska
“Putting the Public Back in Public Health: A Global Perspective”
10.11.2022 – 7:00 PM – Lied Center for Performing Arts
With Community Climate Awareness Week
“The Craziest Thing We Can Do is Nothing” 

11.7.2022 – 7:00 PM – Lied Center for Performing Arts
With College of Journalism and Mass Communications
“The Urban Landscape and The Future of Cities”

1.23.2023 – 7:00 PM – Lied Center for Performing Arts
Hyde Lecture Series, College of Architecture
“How Design Thinking Saves Lives”
3.28.2023 – 7:00 PM – Lied Center for Performing Arts
With College of Business
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