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

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.

Grants Approved – September 2019

Brownville Concert Series, Inc.  
(Brownville, NE): $10,000
General operating support for the 2019 concert series season.

Civic Nebraska: $25,000
To support the Nebraska Counts 2020 Census campaign activities in Lincoln and Lancaster County. 

Jewish Federation of Omaha-Institute for Holocaust Education: $10,000
General operating support for the organization’s statewide work providing educational resources, student programs, teacher training, and cultural opportunities.

Lincoln Children’s Museum: $5,400
Towards a new program, Project Celebration, and to support families with a free birthday party experience.

Lincoln Choral Artists: $4,000
Support for the 40th anniversary concert season, marked with special guests, performances, and the premier of a signature piece commissioned by Lincoln Choral Artists.

Lincoln Council for International Visitors: $10,000
For a part-time executive director to expand citizen diplomacy programming. 

Lincoln Literacy: $9,600
To help enable refugee and immigrant students interested in education careers with a path toward teaching certification.

LUX Center for the Arts: $15,000
General operating support for Lux’s comprehensive visual arts education programs, exhibitions, and scholarships.

Metropolitan Opera/Nebraska Auditions: $1,000
Towards the 2019-2020 Nebraska auditions.

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation: $15,000
General operating support for this organization that works with communities to develop programs and strategies that strengthen families, prevent child abuse and neglect, and provide quality early childhood education. 

OutNebraska: $20,000
To support the position of Community Organizer.

Rabble Mill: $20,000
General operating support for this organization that uses the communities of skateboarding, arts and music to connect youth with opportunities to learn new media skills, develop their unique interests, and share their voices with the world. 

Radio Talking Book Service: $5,000
To support the Radio Talking Book Network, Nebraska’s only radio reading service, where volunteers provide daily readings of newspapers, magazines, grocery and department store ads. Community Conversations, and other programming for people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise unable to access printed material. 

Special Olympics Nebraska: $10,000
To support the Unified Champions Schools program in Lincoln schools.

Stuhr Museum Foundation
(Grand Island, NE): $20,000
Toward technology infrastructure upgrades. Stuhr Museum’s 200-acre campus features art, historical exhibits, and education and preservation programs to portray an era of pioneer town builders who created the first communities in Nebraska.

Sunrise Communications Inc./KZUM: $15,000
General operating support for KZUM, Lincoln’s noncommerical, listener-supported community radio station. 

United Way of Lincoln/Lancaster County: $19,543
Support for the 2019 annual campaign.

Willa Cather Foundation
(Red Cloud, NE): $20,000
Support for a full-time Education Coordinator. The Willa Cather Foundation is dedicated to advancing the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Will Cather and preserving the historical setting and archival material associated with her life and writings.


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.

2019 Forum Schedule
Nadia Murad
September 17, 2019 – 6:00 P.M.
Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Yazidi human rights activist, advocate for survivors of genocide and sexual violence.
Leymah Gbowee
October 1, 2019 – 6:00 P.M.
Nobel Peace Prize recipent, Liberian peace activist and women’s rights advocate.
Farah Pandith
October 8, 2019 – 6:00 P.M.
Foreign policy strategist, former diplomat and world-leading expert in countering violent extremism. 
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