2020 Rapid Response Grants Recap

Photo courtesy of Lux Center for the Arts

In March of 2020 the Cooper Foundation adapted its grantmaking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to focus on the critical needs of nonprofit organizations and those they serve. A new Rapid Response Application was developed, and grants were awarded monthly for unrestricted general operating support for nonprofits in Lincoln and throughout Nebraska. Between March and September 2020, the Foundation awarded 63 grants totaling $477,934.

To help our nonprofit partners meet their most urgent needs, and to reduce the administrative work related to our grants, the application form and process were streamlined. We changed our form to focus on two main questions, asking how the pandemic had affected organizations in their operations and programs, as well as the financial impact due to increased costs, lost revenue, and changes in programs and services. Cooper Foundation staff took on parts of the process that would typically be performed by our applicants and grantees by replacing our LOI form and grant report forms with in-person video meetings and phone calls and recording those notes in our grant records.

This new way of working was as beneficial to the Cooper Foundation as it was to our grantees. We were able to learn more about the evolving situation in our community, deepen our relationships with nonprofit leaders and staff, and help create more meaningful connections. We are grateful for the extraordinary work of the nonprofit community in our state, and humbled by their dedication, flexibility, and creativity in responding to this unprecedented challenge.


  • ACLU of Nebraska
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Lincoln
  • Boys and Girls Club Lincoln / Lancaster County
  • Bridges to Hope
  • Bright Lights
  • CEDARS Youth Services
  • Center for Legal Immigration Assistance
  • CenterPointe
  • Child Advocacy Center
  • Civic Nebraska
  • Clyde Malone Community Center
  • Community Services Fund of Nebraska
  • Durham Museum, Omaha
  • El Centro de las Americas
  • Flatwater Shakespeare Company
  • Food Bank of Lincoln
  • Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools
  • Fresh Start, Inc.
  • Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska
  • HopeSpoke
  • Jewish Federation of Omaha – Institute for Holocaust Education, Omaha
  • Junior Achievement of Lincoln, Inc.
  • Legal Aid of Nebraska, Omaha
  • Lincoln Arts Council
  • Lincoln Children’s Museum
  • Lincoln Children’s Zoo
  • Lincoln Community Foundation
  • Lincoln Community Playhouse
  • Lincoln Medical Education Partnership
  • Lincoln Music Teachers Association
  • Lincoln/Lancaster CountyHabitat for Humanity
  • Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach
  • Meadowlark Music Festival
  • Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO
  • Mourning Hope Grief Center
  • Multicultural Coalition, Grand Island
  • National Audubon Society, Denton
  • Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest
  • Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
  • Nebraska Civic Engagement Table
  • Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
  • Nebraska Land Trust, Inc.
  • Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, Inc.
  • Nebraska Writers Collective, Omaha
  • Nebraskans for the Arts, Omaha
  • Northeast Family Center
  • Prairie Loft Center for Outdoor and Agricultural Learning, Hastings
  • Rabble Mill
  • South of Downtown Community Development Organization
  • Southeast Community College Educational Foundation
  • St. Monica’s
  • TADA Productions,Inc.
  • The HUB Central Access Point for Young Adults
  • United Way of Lincoln/Lancaster County
  • University of Nebraska State Museum
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, International Quilt Museum
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lied Center for Performing Arts
  • Vision Maker Media
  • Voices of Hope
  • Willa Cather Foundation, Red Cloud
  • Willard Community Center
  • YWCA Lincoln
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