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 – March 2024

BikeLNK: $9,000
Support for increased access to Lincoln’s bike share program through subsidized bike passes and educational programming.

Clyde Malone Community Center: $30,000
Toward the position of Youth Programs Director.

Educare Lincoln: $10,000
To support the position of Mentor Teacher of Social-Emotional Learning. The mission of Educare is to promote school readiness of children ages 0 to 5 through high-quality early education at zero cost to families.

Give Nebraska: $7,000
Toward the 2024 campaign.

I Be Black Girl (Omaha, NE): $15,000
For general operating support. IBBG is a reproductive justice-focused organization working to support an environment where Black women, femmes, and girls can live wholly and participate in policy and advocacy. 

Immigrant Legal Center & Refuge Empowerment (Omaha, NE): $15,000
General operating support. Immigrant Legal Center & Refugee Empowerment is one of the largest immigration legal service providers in the Midwest and one of three federally recognized resettlement agencies in Nebraska.

Lincoln Community Playhouse: $10,000
General operating to support the Lincoln Community Playhouse’s 78th Season.

City of Lincoln, Lincoln Police Department: $16,000
To support the Lincoln Police Department Victim Assistance Unit (VAU) which supports victims and witnesses with direct outreach, advocacy and court assistance, safety, protection planning, and help to acquire needed services.

LUX Center for the Arts: $20,000
Support for visual arts and education programs to enhance LUX Center’s three core programs: artists-in-residence, education and outreach, and exhibitions and public arts.

Nebraska Tribes Addressing Violence Coalition: $20,000
For general operating to support coalition work in addressing intimate partner violence against Native Americans and tribal communities in Nebraska.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harris Center for Judaic Studies: $10,000
To support the capacity and digital expansion of the Nebraska Stories of Humanity website.

YWCA of Lincoln: $20,000
General operating support. The YWCA works to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.


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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