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 an online application process 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 – September & December 2023

Asian Community and Cultural Center: $20,000
General operating support for this cultural center that serves all immigrants and refugees in Lincoln and surrounding areas.

The Bridge Behavioral Health: $20,000
Towards operating support. The Bridge is a nationally accredited treatment center specializing in the provision of individual and group care, recovery services, and residential and outpatient services for those struggling with substance use and mental health disorders.

Coalition for a Strong Nebraska: $7,500
General operating support. Coalition for a Strong Nebraska (CSN) is a statewide, nonpartisan coalition that supports structural and collective policy solutions impacting poverty.

Food Bank of Lincoln: $7,500
Staffing support for the Media and Communications Assistant position.

Foster Care Closet: $20,000
Towards general operating to support emergency services and meet the immediate needs of youth entering foster care.

Friendship Home: $20,000
Staffing support for the position of Program Database Coordinator and the transition to a new program database system.

Lincoln/Lancaster County Habitat for Humanity: $15,000
Support for the Repairs Program and the position of Repairs Program Manager.

Lincoln Music Teachers Association: $7,500
Towards the Music Outreach Program (MOP), which provides advanced music study for students who want to improve their skills but do not have the financial means for private lessons.

Lincoln Orchestra Association: $10,000
General operating support for Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra 2023-2024 season.

Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach: $15,000
Staffing support for the position of Human Resources Manager.

Metropolitan Opera/Nebraska Auditions: $1,000
Towars the 2023-2024 Nebraska auditions of the Metropolitan Opera.

United Way of Lincoln/Lancaster County: $22,000
Towards the 2023 annual campaign.

UNL-Office of Diversity & Inclusion: $10,000
To support the pilot of the Institute for Inclusive Innovation (I-3).

UNL-E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues: $21,862
Toward the 2024-2025 Forum season from the Thompson Family Fund.

Wachiska Audubon Society: $15,000
Staffing support for the Executive Director position. The mission of Wachiska is to bring people together to preserve and restore native tallgrass prairies and natural ecosystems, promote birding, support native wildlife, provide nature education, and advocate for sustainability of the natural community.


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 number of people displaced by conflict, disasters and economic crisis has risen to a new high of over 89 million, including over 30 million refugees and asylum seekers. “Uprooted” shares stories of displaced people in search of hope and home.

2023 – 2024 Forum Season Schedule
“A World on the Move: The Forces Uprooting Us”
9.18.2023 – 7:00-8:00 PM – Lied Center for Performing Arts
Global strategy advisor and bestselling author exploring the future of humanity
“Displacement and Reimangining the American Dream”
11.14.2023 – 6:30-8:00 PM – Wick Alumni Center
Local youth sharing their lived experiences as immigrants and refugees
“Of Love & War: Stories of Tragedy & Resilence” 

3.5.2024 – 7:00-8:00 PM – Lied Center for Performing Arts
Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist covering conflicts, disasters and displacement
“Back Home: Returning Human Rights to Housing”

4.9.2024 – 7:00-8:00 PM – Lied Center for Performing Arts
Global Director of The Shift and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing

Free tickets at the door or in advance: ENTHOMPSON.UNL.EDU

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