NEW 2020 Rapid Response Grant Process

Our grant application process has been modified in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. We are now accepting grant requests monthly. Click here for the new application process.

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 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 Approved – June 2020

Bright Lights: $2,500, operating support
Cooper has supported Bright Lights since their inception, and they have had success in summer learning programs for 35 years. In response to the pandemic, they created a new virtual camp experience that is free to all and will expand their reach to students who would otherwise not be able to attend.

Civic Nebraska: $7,500, operating support
Civic Nebraska has continued their work despite the pandemic, by advocating for vulnerable communities, providing connections to resources, promoting the 2020 Census and working on voter engagement, and creating new educational opportunities for young people.

Clyde Malone Community Center: $10,000, operating support
Malone was founded in 1955 through a reorganization of the Lincoln Urban league. Initially founded during a time when civil rights for African Americans were extremely limited, the league founders, both black and white, were determined to improve social and economic conditions and increase understanding between all races. They believed that enhanced understanding between all groups of people would create a better community. For decades, Malone has served neighboring families, youth, seniors and the Lincoln community with inclusive, social, cultural, educational, employment and welfare services. 


Durham Museum (Omaha, NE): $5,000, program support
The Durham Museum offers a fascinating look at the history of our region and offers a broad-range of traveling exhibits covering subjects ranging from history and culture, to science, industry and more. Cooper funding will support the spring 2021 exhibition of, “Beyond the Vote”, exploring the impact of the 19th Amendment, and the women’s suffrage movement.

Food Bank of Lincoln: $10,000, operating support
The Food Bank of Lincoln is a proud member of Feeding America. Since their founding in 1982, they have been focused on alleviating hunger in Southeast Nebraska, serving 16 counties. The Food Bank continues to monitor developments regarding the spread of COVID-19, and are committed to feeding neighbors facing food insecurity. 

Lincoln Medical Education Partnership: $5,000, operating support
The Lincoln Medical Education Partnership (LMEP) provides training and resources through their School Community Intervention and Prevention (SCIP) program to bring together families, schools and the community to support student mental, behavioral, and emotional health. They work with partner agencies and serve 132 schools, including 59 schools in Lancaster County (LPS and Norris).

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, International Quilt Museum:
$5,000, operating support
The International Quilt Museum’s mission is to build a global collection and audience that celebrate the cultural and artistic significance of quilts. Due to the pandemic, IQM has adapted to virtual opportunities hosted on their website and social media that offer video gallery tours, pop-up exhibitions, video series, virtual First Fridays, audience talks, and weekly stories and lessons for elementary students.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lied Center for Performing Arts: $5,000, operating support
The Lied is Lincoln’s largest arts organization. As they adapt to the pandemic and plan for their future season, they have continued to offer virtual programming, including educational programs, camps, and Lied Live! that showcases artists from Nebraska and around the nation.

Vision Maker Media: $2,500, program support
For the first time, Vision Maker Media will be hosting an online, five-week-long celebration of American Indian, Alaska Native and worldwide Indigenous films from August 31 – October 5, 2020. Accompanying the films, the festival will host a collective of inspiring filmmakers and Native celebrities in engaging digital conversations, creating a space for both healing and learning.


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, Lied Center for Performing Arts, and Nebraska Honors.

2020-2021 Forum Schedule
Mary Pipher
9.2.2020 – 7:00 PM
Author, Activist, and Clinical Psychologist
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
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
11.4.2020 – 7:00 PM
Indigenous Climate Activist, Hip Hop Artist

Forum Youth Panel
2.24.2021 – 7:00 PM
Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts
Ann Bancroft
3.31.2021 – 7:00 PM
Polar Explorer, Climate Advocate, Philanthropist
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