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 Education, Human Services, Arts, Humanities, Environment, and Community Improvement. Organizations must provide strong programming and evidence of sound governance and fiscal management.

Application Process

Grants Approved – December 2018

CASA for Lancaster County: $10,000
General operating support.

Civic Nebraska: $10,000
Toward the Civic Health Program Manager staff position.

Doane University, Crete, NE: $10,000
Support for Sustainability Master Plan as part of the vision and mission of the Institute of Human and Planetary Health. This plan will address the need to reduce energy consumption and tackle waste management, which is important to students, faculty and staff and surrounding communities. 

El Centro de las Americas: $15,000
General operating support.

Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries: $5,000
To support the Begin with Books program, a collaborative program with Lincoln health agencies to promote early childhood literacy and reading for young children.

Jewish Federation of Omaha-Anti-Defamation League: $5,000
Support for an anti-bias and anti-bullying workshop for Lincoln Public Schools. 

Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE: $5,000
Support for “30 Americans,” the Museum’s first major exhibition to survey the work of contemporary African American artists, opening in February, 2019.

Legal Aid of Nebraska: $10,000
Support for the UPLIFT program in Lincoln, to provide targeted legal services to low-income families in collaboration with local community centers and support organizations. 

Lincoln Parks and Recreation Foundation: $10,000
Support for Phase III of the Prairie Cooridor on Haines Branch.

Nebraska Appleseed: $10,000
Support for the Intake & Information Community Assistance Program.

Nebraska Conservation Education Fund: $10,000
Support for the Common Ground program, which empowers Nebraskans to protect and enhance their natural environment through locally-led education efforts, service-learning, and community organizing.  

Nebraskans for the Arts: $5,000
General operating support.

Sheldon Art Association: $10,000
Toward a new strategic plan.

South of Downtown Community Development Organization: $5,000
Toward community development activities.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, E.N. Thompson Forum: $20,707
Support for the 2019-2020 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. 

University of Nebraska State Museum: $10,000
To support staffing to enhance the visitor experience of Cherish Nebraska, the Museum’s new fourth-floor exhibition, opening February 2019. 


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, Lied Center for Performing Arts, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

2018-2019 Forum Schedule
Jon Meacham
October 9, 2018 – 7:30 P.M.
“Tumult, Tragedy and Hope: America in 1968 from a Half Century’s Perspective”
The 23rd Annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities presented by Humanities Nebraska
Nadine Strossen
November 7, 2018 – 7:00 P.M.
“HATE: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship”
Jana Eggers
February 26, 2019 – 7:00 P.M.
“Yes, You Have a Critical Role in Raising Artificial Intelligence”
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.