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 – March 2022

Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln/Lancaster County: $15,000
General operating support for program growth at clubs in Park Middle School and North Star High School. 

Center for People in Need: $20,000
General operating support.

Coalition for a Strong Nebraska: $10,000
General operating support for nonprofits to increase their engagement with elected representatives in policy discussions.

ECHO Collective: $12,000
To support expansion and capacity growth in staffing and programs.

Food Bank of Lincoln: $7,500
Support toward the position of Communications Assistant. 

Fresh Start: $20,000
For general operating support.

Give Nebraska: $8,500
Support for the 2022 campaign and general operating.

Lincoln Arts Council: $15,000
General operating support to provide arts programming and engagement to the Lincoln community.

Lincoln Medical Education Partnership: $15,000
For the School Community Intervention and Prevention program (SCIP).

Nebraska Writers Collective (Omaha, NE): $15,000
For the 12th season of Louder Than a Bomb: Great Plains Youth Poetry Festival.

OutNebraska: $20,000
For general operating support to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ+ people through programs and advocacy.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland: $20,000
Toward comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education programs in Lincoln and Lancaster County.

Rabble Mill: $20,000
For program and operational growth support.

Share A Fare (Omaha, NE): $7,500
To support accessible and affordable transportation for the blind and visually impaired in Lincoln and Lancaster County.

Solidago Conservancy: $25,000
General operating support.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Jazz in June: $3,000
Support for the 2022 summer concert series and educational outreach programs. 

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lied Center for the Performing Arts: $20,000
Towards general operating support.


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.

moments of reckoning

After a painful year of protest and a global pandemic, the world is reemerging with a clearer understanding of the broad and complex picture of systemic racism and the need for action. The 2021-2022 season events highlight historical and contemporary cases of discrimination and recognize efforts to dismantle oppression in the quest for justice.

2021 – 2022 Forum Season Schedule
UNL Faculty Discussion “GLOBAL AND HISTORICAL MOMENTS OF RECKONING” 9.1.2021 – 7:00 PM – Kimball Hall Featuring Diedre Cooper Owens, Margaret Jacobs, Will Thomas and Ng’ang’a Wahu-Mũchiri
Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia “FACING IMMIGRANT EXCLUSION: THEN AND NOW” 11.2.2021 – 7:00 PM – Lied Center for Performing Arts Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Penn State Law
Anna Deavere Smith “A CONVERSATION ON RACE AND THE ARTS” – Moderated by Sandra Washington 2.9.2022 – 4:00 PM – Lied Center for Performing Arts World-renowned playwright, actress, author, journalist, and educator
Forum Youth Panel “PERFORMATIVE ACTIVISM: YOUTHS RECKONING WITH RACIAL JUSTICE 3.22.2022 – 7:00 PM – The Bay – 2005 Y Street Activists within the UNL and Lincoln communities come together to discuss racial justice
Walter Echo-Hawk “RECKONING AND RECONCILIATION ON THE GREAT PLAINS” 4.6.2022 – 7:00 PM – Lied Center for Performing Arts Native American attorney, Tribal judge, author, activist, and law professor
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