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 – September 2022

Cause Collective: $5,925
For educational activities and capacity building programming for Lincoln and Lancaster County nonprofits. 

Centro Hispano Comunitario de Nebraska (Columbus, NE): $7,500
To support bilingual programming centered around immigration, education, and family support. Voz de Esperanza is a BIPOC-led organization and the only bilingual serving organization spanning a 6-county area to include Platte, Boone, Nance, Colfax, Madison, and Butler counties.

I Be Black Girl (Omaha, NE): $5,000
To support statewide advocacy and initiatives centering on Black women, femmes, and girls. I Be Black Girl (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. 


Lincoln/Lancaster County Habitat for Humanity: $7,500
Support for technology.

Lincoln Orchestra Association: $7,500
General operating support for Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra 2022-23 season.

Literacy Council of Grand Island: $5,000
To support adult literacy programming in central Nebraska.

National Audubon, Spring Creek Prairie (Denton, NE): $7,500
General operating support for conservation work and education programming at Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center.

Nebraska Civic Engagement Table: $7,500
Towards programming, tools, resources, and technical assistance to grow civic engagement capacity throughout the state.

Nebraskans for the Arts (Omaha, NE): $5,000
Towards strategic planning and capacity building to support arts advocacy in Nebraska.

OpenSky Policy Institute: $7,500
General operating to support non-partisan fiscal research, analysis, communications, and outreach that advocates for a strong Nebraska through sound tax and budget policy.

United Way of Lincoln/Lancaster County: $21,420
Towards the 2022 campaign.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Center for Digital Research in the Humanities: $10,000
Toward the Nebraska Holocaust survivor & WWII veteran/liberator stories project. 


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
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