Our mission is to support strong, sustainable organizations, innovative ideas and ventures of significant promise. The Foundation makes grants to non-profit 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 – December 2020

Asian Community and Cultural Center: $30,000
Toward general operating support. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters Lincoln: $15,000
General operating support.

Community CROPS: $14,700
To support a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training for staff and board members for Community CROPS, NeighborWorks Lincoln, and South of Downtown Community Development Organization.

Educare Lincoln: $25,000
Toward a new staff position.

Lincoln Orchestra Association: $15,000
Toward general operating support for the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra.

LUX Center for the Arts: $20,000
For general operating support.

Metropolitan Opera/Nebraska Auditions: $1,000
In support of the annual Nebraska auditions of the Metropolitan Opera.

Nebraska Wesleyan University:
$17,500
To support a project-based community collaboration between Nebraska Wesleyan University, Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties, and the Asian Community and Cultural Center.

OutNebraska: $20,000
Toward general operating support.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues: $21,093
Support for the 2021-2022 series from the Thompson Family Fund, established at the Cooper Foundation in 1999 by E.N. “Jack” and Katie Thompson to support the Thompson Forum.

 

en-thompson-forum

Over the past three decades, 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.

2020-2021 Forum Schedule
Mary Pipher
9.2.2020 – 7:00 PM
Author, Activist, and Clinical Psychologist
“TRAUMA AND RECOVERY: A NEW STORY OF INTERCONNECTION AND ACTION…”
Doris Kearns Goodwin
9.22.2020 – 7:30 PM
Presidential Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning Author
The 25th Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities, presented by Humanities Nebraska
“LEADERSHIP IN TURBULENT TIMES”
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
11.4.2020 – 7:00 PM
Indigenous Climate Activist, Hip Hop Artist
“ROOTS OF REVOLUTION”

Forum Youth Panel
2.24.2021 – 7:00 PM
Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts
“NAMING THE BEAST: CLIMATE CHANGE AND OUR YOUTH TAKING ACTION”
Ann Bancroft
3.31.2021 – 7:00 PM
Polar Explorer, Climate Advocate, Philanthropist
“NO HORIZON IS SO FAR”
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