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 – December 2022

Angels Theatre Company: $5,000
Toward the production of Predictor, a new play written by Jennifer Blackmer to premiere at the Johnny Carson Theatre February 10-18, 2023. The play is based on the real-world experience of protagonist Margaret Crane, the graphic artist who designed and invented the first home pregnancy test, increasing women’s autonomy and access to informed healthcare.  

Lincoln Community Foundation: $10,000
In support of the 2024 Lincoln Vital Signs report and to pilot a Special Issue on Race and Equity in 2023. Lincoln Vital Signs is a biennial report which aims to draw awareness of the socio-economic conditions and overall health of Lincoln compiling data gathered from different local and national sources. 


Metropolitan Opera/Nebraska Auditions: $1,000
Support for the annual Nebraska District Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera. The Nebraska District has taken part in annual auditions for 60 years since 1962, where as many as 1,500 auditions take place nationwide across 36 districts and 11 regions. Cooper first funded the auditions in 1982.

Mourning Hope Grief Center: $18,800
To support the position of a contracted grief counselor to provide bilingual counseling and bereavement support services to Hispanic and Latino families in Lincoln. Access to grief support services is a barrier for many populations, language being one of the largest deterrents of seeking support, especially in Lincoln where fewer Spanish-speaking professionals reside. 

University of Nebraska Foundation, Big Red Satellite: $20,000
In support of the Nebraska Big Red Satellite team to study perovskite cells, an emerging solar energy source meant to be more effective, uses less materials to create, and for its potential to generate energy on the dark side of the Earth. The team was selected by NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative, a highly competitive nationwide program to provide experiential learning for middle and high school students to engage in STEM and aerospace to build a working satellite and analyze and study data collected from space. 

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues: $22,699
Toward the Thompson Family Fund, established at the Cooper Foundation in 1999 by E.N. “Jack” and Katie Thompson to support the University of Nebraska programs with an emphasis on the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues.


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
Contact Us

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