Due to limited funding, the Cooper Foundation has suspended its fourth quarter 2023 grant cycle. The next open application cycle is the first quarter of 2024. Organizations are encouraged to contact Cooper Foundation staff with questions or to discuss future grant applications.

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 – March 2023

BraveBe Advocacy Center: $12,500
Support toward expansion of nursing staff.  

Bridges to Hope: $15,000
To support staffing and capacity building efforts towards the development of Hope Village, a tiny home project to serve formerly incarcerated and homeless populations. 

Clyde Malone Community Center: $20,000
Toward the Youth Program Director position.  

GiveNebraska: $6,500
Towards the 2023 campaign.

HopeSpoke: $15,000
General operating support toward mental health and behaviorial health programs for children and families.   

Legal Aid of Nebraska (Omaha, NE): $10,000
To support the UPLIFT Project to empower Lincoln’s low-income communities through legal education, advocacy, and representation.  

Lincoln Literacy: $10,000
Operational support for Bridgeway to a Better Life continuum of services through English language learning and workforce development.

Midland University (Fremont, NE): $10,000
Support for campus-wide mental health initiative for students and employees at Midland University. 

Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Coalition (Bloomfield, NE): $15,000
General operating support for this Native American-led organization that provides education, advocacy, and culturally informed services and trainings focused on the protection of Indian children’s rights and preserving cultural connections.

RISE Academy (Omaha, NE): $10,000
Toward the Lincoln Reentry Specialist position.

Solidago Conservancy: $12,500
General operating to support land conservation efforts targeting the Salt Valley Greenway in Lincoln and Lancaster County.

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, College of Law: $25,000
Toward the position of Resource Navigator for the Tenant Assistance Program to provide support to tenants at eviction court in Lancaster County. 

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, International Quilt Museum: $9,500
Support for the New Deal exhibit, catalog, and online learning programming.

Wellbeing Initiative: $10,000
General operating support for trainings, services, and mental health programs build around peer support.

Willard Community Center: $15,000
General operating support.

YWCA of Lincoln: $10,000
General operating support.


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.

The world faces complex challenges related to health, water, climate, and more. Creativity to Solve Global Challenges elevates people and ideas addressing these concerns with vision and innovation.

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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